The Masters Dilemma

Sometimes, the truth is ugly. I know we all wish it could be as beautiful as Sofia Vergara or Heidi Klum (or whomever you particularly favor); and honestly, this sounds even worse coming from a dreamer like me. But here it is:

I can’t follow my dreams. Gods, how I wish I could, but every time I try, something throws itself in my way.

I wanted to go into the Navy or the Air Force, but my IBS stops me from doing that. (Even if there was a chance in hell it could be waivered, all chances went out the door when I was diagnosed with panic disorder. Of that, I’m sure.) I wanted to be a Naturopathic physician, but I couldn’t crack chemistry. I wanted to be a performance psychologist, but I didn’t realize that clinical psychology programs are extremely competitive. Now I’ve given up on nursing, because pharmacology is all or nothing–90% in all math portions or you fail the class. And that makes the stakes way too high for me.

I don’t know. Maybe I run away too easily. But I don’t want to spend the rest of my life trying and failing chemistry and nursing is obviously not the best place for someone who does not have math for a strong point. (It’s not just pharma–the information they gave us at the start of the class said that if you got into the nursing program, every class would have a math portion before the end of the semester. And eventually, they stop offering workshops for the struggling students, because they figure you know your stuff by then.) Maybe I should’ve kept trying to get into psychology grad programs and not gotten scared off after Pepperdine rejected me and after seeing the acceptance statistics for Central Michigan University. Yet I feel kind of guilty for wasting the time of the people I’m asking for recommendations if I constantly get rejected.

So I’ve decided to go into a field that I constantly see on the “high demand” lists Yahoo Careers periodically puts out. (Although now that I’ve started mentioning it to people, I haven’t seen any.) I’ve decided to become a paralegal, kind of specializing in family law, as I imagine that’s probably the next biggest need after criminal law. I figure if Yahoo keeps mentioning paralegals on list after list, they must really be in demand. Besides, my therapist says her cousin is a paralegal who lives in Arizona and has no problem getting work–and she’s paid relatively well, too.

But I have another idea bobbling around in my mind. Still trying to get a masters degree–in any psychological subject–so I can teach. At first, I wasn’t really keen on the idea of teaching, but my mom reminded me that if I teach at the college level, the kids are paying to be there, so they’ll (generally) behave. Mom thinks I’d be a good teacher and my counselor agrees with her. I still don’t know if I want to teach (despite the fact that it might be interesting to teach a subject that I enjoyed, like abnormal psych), but I do want a masters. Partially to feel special, I think. I’ve outdone my father by simply getting a bachelors degree, and I have to admit that it’s very likely that I want to outdo my mother by getting a masters.

If I do decide to try for a graduate program again–and it’s very likely I will, by 2015 or so–I’m going to try a smaller, less well-known school. Nova Southeastern has an M.S. general psychology–completely online and based in Florida, just like my undergrad program. (In fact, unless I’m greatly mistaken, I think some of my Everglades professors graduated from Nova.) And if I fail to get in there? There’s always the University of Phoenix. (*tiny raspberry*)

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