I’m pretty ready for winter quarter to be over… I really like the social psychology class, but the group project is getting old quickly (done on Friday!). Work eases up a little bit because we don’t have tons to prepare for summer courses, just fall, which still feels distant. The days just get longer. And the weather turns completely bipolar, which I kind of love. Saturday we had 75-degree sunshine, followed by wet, heavy, blowy snow on Sunday. It keeps you on your toes, and you can use much more of your wardrobe when that happens.
I have a confession to make: I never graduated with Honors. It says I did on my transcript, and I’ve never corrected the Registrar, but I didn’t actually finish my undergraduate thesis. In fact, I barely started on my undergraduate thesis, despite the hours of turmoil that I poured into thinking about it. I had a lot of fun collecting resources that could have been related to it, but I never really narrowed down my topic into something manageable, and it was totally overwhelming and made me miserable for several months. I took a quarter off to work on it, even, and I hardly did. I hated the topic and don’t know why I chose it (though I do have some ideas). I wanted to fake it, but I couldn’t.
On Monday morning as I was crossing the street on my way to work, I was thankful for that. If I’d been able to motivate myself or discipline myself enough to actually write a good paper (in spite of my disinterest), I probably would have been encouraged (and motivated and disciplined enough) to go straight into an art history or English graduate program. That wouldn’t have been so bad, but I don’t think that in my heart of heart that’s what I wanted to do. I just didn’t know it then (but I knew enough about English lit to know that “heart of heart” (and not “heart of hearts”) comes from Hamlet). If I’d gone for a master’s in English or art history, I think I’d be farther down a path that wasn’t quite right for me. So for once I’m glad to have such a lack of motivation to do things I don’t want to do. My lack of diligence has paid off, slowly but surely.
Embedded in this failure to write my thesis are the seeds of what I actually think I want to do. (Note: this is divulging more information than I would normally write here because I don’t really know who reads this, but I’ve thought a lot about it, and I’m okay with it.) The spring I was working on the thesis, a few people died, I had no direction, and I got pretty depressed. I had a tearful meeting with my thesis advisor, and she recommended seeing a psychologist. I maybe took a little offense at first, but followed her advice (though I didn’t see her husband, the particular psychologist she’d recommended, because that would have been totally weird), and I think my life is much, much better for it…
Here’s the thing: I think I want to study psychology. In fact, I more than “think” it, I think it would be a really good career for me. I’m testing the waters by taking a couple of classes (next up: Cognitive Neuropsychology!). I just know how much I’ve learned about myself and my interactions with people, and I think it would be really satisfying to help others in a similar way. It seems like a more direct contribution to both individuals and society than what I’m doing now, not that I don’t like what I’m doing now, it’s just not the best fit for me…
And really, this seemingly big jump makes a lot of sense. I studied art and literature because I love the humanity displayed in both, the portrayal of complex characters in complex situations, portrayed by complex characters (the authors and artists themselves) in complex situations. I got the library degree for practical matters, and it’s worked out, and it’s interesting, and I do love researching and helping people do their research. But I miss the people part. Cataloging art isn’t the same as studying it. Studying art and artists’ driving forces isn’t the same as getting to know people’s driving forces on a personal level, and helping them understand their own minds.
So… that’s where I am right now, and where I think I’m going.