My First Attempt at My Memoirs: 8th Grade

When first asked what I wanted to do, I was in the third grade.  By that time I had already gone through two ideas.  The first idea happened during the first grade.  At the time I was enrolled at Glen Oaks Elementary and everyone at the school it seemed to know me.  When I was in Kindergarden, I was the limbo queen and from that time on was asked to come back to my teacher’s class to show her new students what I could do.  It somehow got around that I could dance in the first grade and a third grade teacher invited me to her class to teach them what I knew.  I excelled in everything I was doing and got into a special program for other children like me.  Among all these other talents, my most honored was having the short stories I made in class during free time published for the school library.  They would be on a rake at the librarians desk and people could read them there in the library.  This was in the first grade.  I knew I wanted to be a writer.  The next year, our class put on the play Hansel and Gretel.  Though I tried out for Gretel, I got the part of the step mother.  After a few rehearsals I began to really have fun with what I was doing and I liked the laughs that I got from those who heard me perform my lines for them.  Soon I began to have lots of fun with the role and my death at the end of the play was the highlight of the play.  I loved the attention that I was getting so I decided to become an actress.  Unfortunately, during the Christmas break I moved away from that school into a house in Sunrise where I currently reside.  I first got into Candlewood elementary.  I was put into an anger management class which helped me get into the gifted and talented program at Elolf Elementary the following year.  In that fourth grade year, I adjusted to life and wanted once again to be an actress.  Like Candlewood, I, along with several other classmates, had to be transferred to another elementary school due to over crowdedness.  That year at Woodlake Elementary I began writing a short story in my journal spiral for my English class.  By the end of the year it formed into a book a little over 70 pages long so I stuck with the writing idea.  My first year at junior high changed my desire into someone who helped people with their problems.  Since I had a lot of friends all around, a lot of couples came to me for help.  That is where I wanted to be a relationship psychiatrist.  In the 8th grade, I had a lot of problems and did not feel like I could talk to anyone so I wanted to grow up to help other children and teenagers who felt like me so I changed my idea to a child and adolescent psychiatrist.  Just this summer, Mr. Gildermeiser told me that if I wanted to interact with my patients then I would have to be a psychologist.  So that is where I currently stand.

While researching, I found that not all psychologists strictly did research or counseling.  I now realize that there are many job opportunities ranging from many different places and that I would really have to get specific in order to know what I needed to go for in college.  One of the most interesting things I found about my field is that there are jobs in the government that are seriously competitive and that do not require more advanced training than other jobs require.

Here at PREP, we are provided with a guidance counselor.  Summer Hurst is a student in the master’s program for counseling psychology.  Her master’s degree will be a master’s of science.  Summer’s job responsibilities are to basically help the students participating in PREP help themselves.  She can ask guiding questions or try to help the student understand their thoughts.  Because she is a student she does not receive a salary but a counseling psychologist could make 17000 a year before they get their license.  In an institution, the salary goes up to 30 to 65000 a year for a licensed professional.  Those who chose to go into their own private practice usually charge around $125 an hour per patient.  In this profession, there is always room for promotion.

According to Summer, some advantages at working in an institution are benefits such as insurance and paid vacations.  Advantages in a private practice there are the control of your schedule.  However, in private practice there are no benefits to receive.  In both, there is a high stress rate and most importantly there may not be any way to help the patient you have.  The thing that Summer likes the most about her job is seeing someone completely recuperate and overcome their problem.  In contrast, she dislikes having to worry about patients who have not made any progress or did not connect before they left her.  She was inspired by friends who came to her in the 7th grade.  They went to her with their problems and she liked helping them.  One of her worst patients was a guy who had a problem with male chauvinism.  It was a co-therapy session and she was working with another guy.  The patient only talked to the male psychologist and he did not change through his whole ordeal.  Her best patient was the one who made the connection with her and changed the problem she had for the better.  Her advice to anyone who wants to enter the counseling psychology field is to be open.  They should increase their creativity and know themselves completely and know how to take care of themselves.  Finally, she says to decide whether you want to get a doctrine or a master’s to make choosing your college program easier.

Because there are so many types of psychologists, there is always some job waiting for anybody wanting to enter the field.  However, none of these jobs can be obtained simply by having the talent of listening.  To get into the field without a clear mind of specifically knowing what you want to do and how you want to help people will set you back significantly.  Let’s say you want to become a social worker.  Where do you start?  What do you have to do?  What kind of education do you have to have?  For an entry-level job, a bachelor’s degree is needed.  For clinical practices, a master’s degree is required.  The employment rate for a social worker is projected to grow much faster than average expected.  There is keen competition in cities because of the many great masses of people and the stress that it causes, but there are still good opportunities in rural areas because no where is stress free.

Statistics show that 50% of the current psychologist are self-employed.  That is 5 times the average amount for other professional workers.  In 1998, out of 166,000 jobs, 4 out of 10 were in educational institutes.  3 out of 10 were in some sort of health service, which were primarily hospitals, mental health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, and health facilities.  17% of the jobs in 1998 were employed by the government in hospitals, clinics, and correctional facilities.  Statistics also show that employment in health care will grow fastest in out-patient mental health and substances abuse treatment clinics.

The education you receive can decide exactly where you will work.  With only a bachelor’s degree, there are a limited amount of jobs available.  A psychologist with a bachelor’s degree can assist psychologists and other professionals in community health centers, vocational rehabilitation offices, correctional programs, research or administrative assistants, and sales or management trainees in business.  They themselves can specialize as a counselor in counseling centers, independent or group practices, hospitals, or clinics.  A doctoral degree is needed for licensed clinical or counseling psychologists.  Those with doctoral degrees usually enter the private practice or set up their own private research after several years.  Persons with a master’s degree in psychology work as industrial-organizational psychologist, and psychological assistants under supervision of doctor-level psychologists.  They may also perform research or psychological evaluation.  If  a doctrine is desired, there are even more opportunities.  A Ph.D. (Philosophy Doctor) in psychology can provide clinical and counseling positions in universities, elementary schools, secondary schools, private industries, and in government facilities.  It also gives the option of teaching or carrying out research.  A Psy.D. (Doctor of Psychology) in psychology can allow you to work in clinical positions.  Lastly, a school psychologist must have an Ed.S (Educational Specialist) in psychology.  Without additional academic training opportunities are severely limited.  Summer’s advice of knowing what you want to do is really helpful.  At least then, you know what you have to do in order to reach the job you want.

Now that it is clear what degrees and doctrines provide what opportunities, you must know what each one requires you to have.  Some universities require their undergraduates to major in psychology.  Other universities require their undergraduates to have course work in basic psychology with courses in biological, physical and social sciences, statistics, and mathematics.  For a master’s degree in  psychology, you must have had at least 2 years of full-time graduate study.  Practical experience in an applied setting and a master’s thesis based on an original research project are also needed.  A doctoral degree prerequisites that you have 5 to 7 years of graduate study.  To get a Ph.D., you must write a dissertation based on your own original research.  In order to write a dissertation, you must have a course in quantitative research methods (including the use of computer-based analysis) and part of graduate study.  Although a Ph.D. is mostly based on the dissertation, a Psy.D. may be based more on practical work and examinations.  Finally, when you have your doctoral or degree, you must try to match what you have to what a specific job needs you to offer.  A federal government job for a psychologist states that the applicant must have 24 semester hours in psychology and one course in statistics for entry-level position.  Because you do not have to have an advanced degree in order to get one of these jobs, there is very high competition.  A clinical psychologist needs to acquire a Ph.D. or a Psy.D. and have served an internship.  Vocational and guidance counselors need 2 years of graduate study in counseling and 1 year of counseling experience.  School psychologists occupy a master’s degree in psychology and 1 year of  counseling.  There are programs and societies such as the American Psychological Association (APA) that accredit doctoral training programs in clinical, counseling, and school psychology.  The APA also provides accreditation to institutions that provide internships for doctoral students in school, clinical, and counseling psychology.  The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education with the assistance from the National Association of School Psychologists provides accreditation for the advancement degree programs in school psychology.

Now I have a more broadened and specific idea of what psychology is and what it requires.  My original plans of being a relationship psychiatrist have now been positively altered to a child and adolescent psychologist.  Although I have realized my long-term goal will take a long time to achieve, I have not given up completely on it.  The mind itself has always fascinated me.  I like to try to get into people’s mind and find out why they think what they think and how that affects them socially.  Children and adolescents have not gone through the stresses of being an adult so when they have problems it is for different reasons and rooted from different places.  It is easier to say that an adult had depression because of their job and their family, but when you come across a teenager or child, it is a lot harder to pin point the root of the problem and I find that interesting.  The only aversion of trying to mentally help a teenager or adolescent is not being able to help them.  If there is no way to help them, then all you can do is sit back and watch their problem eat away at them.  The same would go to any good doctor.  I think the biggest challenge also to any doctor is having to help someone who does not want to be helped.  As a psychologist, you cannot force anything on a patient and if you do not find a way to connect with them, then you cannot help them to your fullest ability.  If they do not offer information or lead you anywhere near a problem, then you are stuck.  I would want to be able to help every person I come across but if I know that I only helped one out of the tens that I saw, then I will be satisfied.

Besides the things that were needed for this Career Exploration Paper, I learned that there are so many different kinds of professions and each profession has so many different kinds of opportunities in it.  Basically there is no excuse for not going after exactly what you want to do in your life.  I also learned that you could make the journey to your goals so much more smoothly if you know yourself and who you are.  If you want to help people, you must first know how to help yourself and continue to help yourself.  With this paper, I learned that even thought this career may not come easy, there is always someone like APA who is willing to help me to succeed.  The reason I wanted to be a relationship psychiatrist was all wrong.  I knew that I would have to  get a Ph.D. and then I could make more money.  Now, thanks to this paper, I realize that if I get my Ph.D. and become a psychiatrist and make money, then I will be doing something I didn’t originally want to do.  Every day  I would be doing something I didn’t like which would affect my performance to my patients.  In the end, I will be doing the opposite of what I originally wanted.  Even though as a psychologist I will not be making the same amount of money as I would have been, I will be interacting with my patients and helping them by talking and not by prescribing medicine.  At least as a psychologist  I will be going to work everyday loving what I do and doing what I love.


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