In a couple of months, my first year as a counseling student will officially end. I know that I do have 2 more years before I technically graduate with an MA in Counseling yet I already feel like I’m somehow at a career crossroad. Let me explain.
My career path has not been as smooth as most people. It was plagued with uncertainties, indecisiveness, immaturities, and trials and errors. Don’t get me wrong…if I have to live my life all over again I would definitely do everything all over again. It made me who I am today. Nevertheless, this rough career path created certain crossroads during unconventional points in the journey so what I am going through now is not something new. Anyhooo…
Before I decided to enter my current program, I initially was in limbo with a different program all together. I had a supervisor, the willingness to relocate to work with said supervisor, a specific research topic I couldn’t wait to delve into, and, most of all, the eagerness to start this new chapter in my life. Sadly, my undergrad uni grading system was completely different from grad uni so after some of their mathematical conversions my gpa fell under the uni’s cutoff. I was seeing the compounding effects of my partying from my earlier undergrad years and my rebellious nonchalance to the culture of determining self-worth through grades and gpas. Yes, it wasn’t the smartest thing to do, but that is a post for another day. Well, the combination of my gpa being 0.2 less than the cutoff and a supervisor who wasn’t willing to fight for a student he already accepted resulted in me being in what they termed pre-masters. So….off I relocated, retook some courses I disliked to begin with, and worked at supervisor’s lab. At this point, I was disheartened and discouraged. I also was disappointed with the supervisor especially since I expected him to be like my mentor, who would’ve fought for me. Let me clarify at this point that I never expect people to fight battles for me. I would, however, would actually fight for a student that I know has potential and skills that I accepted her before the uni officially did. But then again, he’s not me nor is he my mentor so I moved on. I worked at his lab for a year and was still willing to continue my graduate studies with him the following year. This lasted until I learned his reason for not fighting for me. It had nothing to do with me. It was because one of his current graduate students was not performing as expected (aka slacking off to the point that the lab tech is doing majority of her research) and he was getting heat for her from the department head. This to me showed poor judgement and poor leadership on his part. Of course, there are other things, but I will not list every single one here. Suffice to say, after a year, I decided that I did not want to join his lab anymore.
The following year I worked full-time and took classes part-time while deciding the next step in my career. This was when I decided to pursue psychology as my career path. In addition, I opted for a terminal master’s degree since considering my age, I wanted to have that option. I enrolled in my current counseling program.
Now, almost a year into it and practicum being just around the corner I started thinking about the next step again. Should I apply to a phd program or should I just work after graduation? It may seem premature to many since I still have two years left; however, I want to be prepared for certain requirements such as GRE subject if I decide to apply next year. Professional schools for a Psyd are not really an option for me since I would need funding. My parents have decided that they will stop funding me after my masters. I already have taken out student loans so I do not want to be in huge debt when I get my doctorate. A part of me feels that I should just work and begin thinking about starting a family. Work would also be necessary to save for a wedding. However, another part of me is telling me to go do a phd while I still do not have a family and that family can wait. Many students have kids while doing their phd. This part poses a good argument especially in terms of internships. One must be able to have relocation flexibility to increase matching possibilities. Both sides have such solid arguments that for the first time in my life, I can actually say that I do not know what to do.