Earthquake and future plans
Well, like the rest of the world, I heard about the Chilean earthquake. I’m probably partially to blame- a few weeks ago, when I was considering heading to Chile soon, I thought to myself, “You know, I can’t recall the last major natural disaster to happen in Chile. One will probably happen any day now.” I was out of town at a rehab psych conference in Tuscon, AZ, for the past few days and told my parents of my prophecy when I got back. They were dying…said I should go to AZ to learn Spanish lest I jinx another country.
Anyway, part of the reason I brought up the conference is because it may affect my future plans, with regards to time spent abroad.
Like I mentioned before, learning Spanish is my top priority, with regards to my time abroad, then meeting people, travelling, and teaching children English. Learning Spanish has basically become part of my life’s mission lol.
Anyway, I was unsure as to what I should with my life, career-wise. I had some ideas- I could get an MSW, but really, social workers don’t make what I would consider to be a satisfactory salary. I’d need to have a private practice were I to do that, so I nixed that idea. I took a semester’s worth of prerequisites in speech-language pathology, but I then realized that only stuttering appealed to me (my own speech has varied from a severe stutter as a child, to a moderate one from adolescence to early 20s, to a mild stutter now). I could work with just stutterers, in a fluency clinic, but I needed something else to fall back on if that didn’t work, so I moved on. I thought about getting a Master’s in Early Childhood Ed, but if I did that, I’d want to open a Spanish immersion [Montessori] preschool. If I couldn’t do that, I wouldn’t want to be a preschool teacher, so that was out.
The only field of study that has a variety of realistic careers that appeal to me is Clinical/Counseling Psych (my BA was in Psychology). However, I’d need a Ph.D. to do that, which intimidated me prior to this conference. Not that I couldn’t hack a Ph.D., but I’d be in school for so long, 7 years on average. And I’d have to do a post-doc for 2 years. Then I’d need to get licensed. Plus I *need* to learn Spanish first because, like I mentioned, it’s part of my life’s mission, and get full-time research experience. A study I’ve done is in the works to hopefully get published, but I’ve still have yet to work in research full-time.
Clinical psych programs, on average, accept about 2 – 5% of their applicants (less “selective” ones accept maybe 10%), and from talking to a variety of people, it seems like full-time research experience is key, particularly if you’re like myself and don’t want to get a Master’s first. Honestly, getting a Master’s in Psychology is a waste of money, in my opinion, unless, 1) you’re not sure about getting a Ph.D. and you just want to get your feet wet, as far as grad school is concerned, or 2) your grades and GREs are such where you absolutely cannot get into a Ph.D. program, even with solid research experience, strong POI matches, and you applied to a variety (meaning selectivity) of 15 – 20 programs (most Clinical Psych applicants apply to at least 10 schools). Master’s degrees, even in Clinical Psychology, DON’T shorten the time of your Ph.D. program, and tend to be unfunded.
Anyway, long story short, I had a great time at this conference, and my research was very well-received, so I’m going to try for the Ph.D.
So here are the new plans.
-Go abroad to learn Spanish.
-While abroad, apply for language assistant positions in Spain AND for research assistant positions in the US. That way, if I don’t land a research assistant job (a paid one if it’s not in Chicago), I can still teach English
-If I get a research assistant job that I’m happy with, I’ll do that
-If not, I’ll go teach English and try to get a research assistant job when I get back