Monday, September 10, 2012

What do I want to be when I grow up?

I've written in the past about how I am currently in an online program to get my associates degree. (I'm more than halfway through my very last class, by the way, yay!) Either next spring or next fall I plan on starting a program to finish up and get my bachelors degree in either human services or psychology. My intention was to become a licensed therapist eventually, after completing the necessary postgraduate work, or working at some sort of human services agency.

I was recently looking at an article about the best and worst jobs in America. Clinical psychologist was in the top 25 and right next to it was psychiatrist. I'll be honest, the first thing that popped into my head was "wow a psychiatrist makes twice as much as a psychologist." Then I started thinking back to when I was in college in Lincoln and switched my major to psychology. Back then I had originally wanted to be a psychiatrist, then upon realizing I would have to go to medical school, I changed my mind and decided to go the therapist/psychologist route instead. At the time I was pretty convinced that I was not interested in science, I didn't enjoy it and didn't think I could handle taking so many science classes. Now things are a little different. Last year I became an atheist and since then I have had a new found interest in science. I also took a sociology class about minority groups and in the gender section it talked about how girls are often made to feel as though they are not good at science, and eventually lose interest in the subject because of gender biases in our society. This has also made me rethink my feelings toward science.

So now I am seriously contemplating medical school. I still have to finish my bachelors, and still intend to major in psychology. I figure that if I have a change of heart I will be able to go forward with my original plan, but psychology knowledge will definitely benefit me as a psychiatrist as well. I will also likely have to take a year of pre-med classes, but at this point I'm thinking I will take them outside of a degree program. The online program I am planning on doing doesn't offer much in the way of math and science classes, so it has me thinking that maybe I should look into other programs, but I'm nervous that other programs won't accept my associates degree in full. I will need to take my pre-med classes in an actual classroom setting anyways, so it makes sense to me to just go forward with my bachelors online, and then find a nearby school where I can do my pre-reqs when Matilda is slightly older.

I don't want to go to medical school until Matilda begins kindergarten or at least preschool, because I want to be able to be a stay at home mom with all three girls until they are school-aged. In 2016 Adelaide will be starting kindergarten, Matilda will be starting preschool, and Michael will be able to get out of the Army. So it would make sense for me to apply to medical schools and try to start that year. I know it could be a struggle, but I can't imagine getting through medical school without being able to totally count on Michael, and there's just no way that's possible as long as he's in the Army. Also, being a non-traditional student I'm likely going to have to go to whatever school I can get into, which means we'll have to relocate. The Army won't care that I want to go to medical school, so that would mean that Michael and I would have to live separately for possibly eight years and there's no way that's happening.

Oh yeah, did I mention? After medical school is a four year residency, so going this route is a huge commitment. I will be in my mid to late thirties by the time I can begin practicing as a board certified psychiatrist, which will be around the time McKaleigh starts high school. I will essentially be spending a majority of their school aged years in medical school and residency. Part of me feels like I shouldn't do this, just because I want to be there for them more. But at the same time, what kind of example would I be setting for them by not going after my dreams? I know that I can do this and still make time for the girls, it's just a matter of using my time efficiently.

This is getting super long, but it's really just one of those posts where I have to write out everything that's going through my head in regards to this idea. The more I think about it, the more I want to do this and the more confident I become. And to get into medical school you really have to prepare, so it's definitely something I need to be thinking about now. Hopefully this will give me the motivation I need to finish this last class of my associates!

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