March Forward

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.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “March Forward

  1. I love this post! And I love that you don’t care anymore how many people read it. Although you should care (in a good way) that people care about you enough to read your writing and that you are worthwhile. Although actually you’re right. You shouldn’t care and should write because you want to.

    Congrats on getting some clarity about wanting to get into psychology. That’s great. I have a great deal of respect for therapy. Heck, I’ve been to enough therapists for a few people’s lifetimes…

    I still think that when things ‘are right’ things fall into place and when they aren’t right something interferes–your own mechanisms or another. I don’t know, but I think that the path that you followed to get to this understanding makes sense.

    Good luck!

    HaNNaH

  2. Wow a big step! Admission of your desires is always a great way to get the ball rolling.

    I agree that psychology and the humanities are very linked, obviously, and it is sometimes difficult to sort out the best fit. I actually started out as a psychology major and found the same in reverse.

    I am happy for you!

  3. Just a little clarification: I don’t write on resumes or CVs that I graduated with Honors — it’s on my transcript, but I know I didn’t, and I wouldn’t feel good about saying that I did… I suppose the truly moral thing to do would be to talk to the registrar about it and have it changed, and I haven’t done that. Anyway.

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