Tag Archives: psychology major

IM GOING TO POLAND! 

I’m so excited for the next month. I’m going to Warsaw, Poland to study abroad for a few months… Oh and the cool thing? I’m going for free! 

I applied for a grant that was given to my schools psychology department by the university I’ll be studying at. I didn’t have anything to lose so I filled out the application, submitted it, and a few days after it was due I found out I was the student who was selected for it. I may or may not have jumped up and down & screamed when I received the email from the department chair saying I won it. 

So come October I will be living in Warsaw, studying psychology and having opportunities to travel Europe! 

I do have to admit I’m terrified. I have never been out of the country, and the fact I will be over there all by myself is giving me anxiety. That, and the food part.

I’m scared that I won’t find any foods over there that I can eat comfortably. It’s going to be a huge test of my recovery and I’m absolutely terrified. But I can’t let that get in the way. Life is too good to fuck up. 

I haven’t updated this in a bit so I just wanted to give my followers an update on my life! 

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Livin’ The Dream

It started out as a joke that whenever someone would ask how I was, I’d respond with “livin’ the dream!” Only now if you know me, you know that when I get down time and get into my head, I wonder some really deep almost philosophical shit. I’m not sure what brought this on tonight, but I’m sitting here wondering how do you know when you’re actually living the dream?
It’s easy to say it when you’re joking and you’re actually working towards your dream, but do we ever wake up one day or look around our world and realize we are actually living it?
Here’s what my dream looks like:
Have my degree in clinical psychology/mental health counseling
Have a job as a psychologist
Own my own place
Have a gentleman caller in my life (yeah, I called a boyfriend a gentleman caller so deal with it).
I’d say my dream is pretty black and white. Right now I’m starting my senior year of undergraduate (eegats! so exciting!), working two jobs to get by and all the while keeping my eye on the prize. I know what my dream is, what the end game is but like with a lot of things in my life, I wonder if I’ll even realize it when the time comes.
Do we ever really live the dream? I mean, time moves so incredibly fast that I feel like half the time I don’t realize the significance of things until they’re just a memory. What if instead of living the dream, I’m missing out on parts of my life right now that were once a dream to me? Bare with me here guys, I know this is all getting to be some Twilight Zone thinking shit in here.
The fact that I’m even in college (and doing well might I add) is a dream come true, but it took me sitting down to write this to realize it and have it hit me. Shit, the fact that I’m alive is a dream. If you know my story you know the meaning behind that last sentence, but my past dream was to live a life of being happy, confident and motivated. To 20 year old Jess, this time of my life is a dream.
I’ve muttered the phrase “livin’ the dream” countless times over the past few years, but I never really meant it. We live in a constant state of future chasing. In different times of our life the end game can change drastically, and as we get older we see it alter greatly. So I guess to answer my own question here (sorry, us psychology majors who love research do this all the freakin’ time!), it takes reflection of your past self to realize if you are living the dream or not. Only it’s not living the dream, as much as it is living a dream; because let’s be real, you’re dream life a few years ago is more than likely not the dream life you wish for now.

Why I Love Research

Being a psychology major, one of the requirements for my school is taking 2 courses surrounding the topic of research methods/statistics. I started out that journey hearing horror stories of how difficult it was, how much work and time and energy went into it, how I’d have to conduct my own study and write a paper about my research, not to mention the fact that being a junior and knowing I wanted to work with eating disorders and addictions I had absolutely no interest in doing any sort of research. Here’s why:

For the past few years being in a few treatment programs I’ve heard a lot about research. “according to research…”, “the research does say that…”, was an infamous line that came out of therapists mouth almost on a daily basis and frankly, I was sick of it. Research, as far as I could tell, wasn’t accurate. At least not for me. I’d smirk whenever the psychologists would start a sentence out using those phrases. How would research benefit me? Nobody ever included me in one of the many studies done, so how the hell do they know?

So when I had to take a research methods and statistics course, I thought “oh boy, here we go. This class is going to suck”. Sure I’d try my hardest to get a good mark, but once that year was over with I would have nothing to do with research for the rest of my life and career in clinical psychology. But something happened the more I learned of the methods, research is so much more than just one individual.

Anecdotally speaking, research pertains to the vast majority of a population you’re studying and what I love about it is you can gain further perspective into human behaviors and cognitions by studying a sample of the population. So to bring it back to myself, as much as I hate to admit it, I was in part contained into the population of those with eating disorders. The research behind the disorders make sense and the more I look into areas of research I can see now that what researchers found in their results and analysis make total sense.

I love coming up with research questions about topics in the field I am passionate about. There’s something intriguing to me about having all of these questions, reading what other researchers have found and trying out methods to test my hypothesis. If you told me a year ago that research would be an area of psychology that I would end up being passionate about I would have laughed at you, but now I am actually in the beginning stages of my 2nd research project. This time I have higher goals than just to get a passing grade. I’m working with my professor who was also my research methods and statistics professor, and this round I’m working with her instead of doing everything on my own. I’m genuinely excited and to be honest I would probably do the project even without the incentive of earning Independent Research credit.

Thanatology became a high interest area of mine last semester when I took the class. It was relevant because of everything I was experiencing with my Grandma, and knowing this professor had research interests in that area I knew it was a good match. We met a few weeks ago and decided to do a study on social media/networks and coping with death. I am so excited about this and get more so as I read more and more articles pertaining to the topics.

For this research I want to present it at a conference psychology majors from my college go to every year, and there was even talk at our meeting of publishing the research. All of these things are what I was wanting to accomplish the minute I fell in love with research. It’s so much more than numbers, it’s a way to observe human cognition and behaviors in a hands on way. Wanting to be a clinical psychologist my whole undergraduate career I can see now the more I get into research why it is so helpful to the field.

Needing to be the Best

School is seriously weird. I never feel more in my element than when I’m doing my homework, sitting on campus or in the classroom. But I’ve noticed that since I’ve gotten to know some of my classmates I find myself internally competing with them. I’m not sure whether it’s my insecurity or that sick need to be the best at something but I become competitive when I hear their grades if they scored higher on a test or in a class than I did.

I know it’s not healthy, but I can’t help but feel like I should give up some of the down time I have worked hard to have over the past few months just so I can be my best academically. Usually I throw my life away in those 3-4 months school is in session. I hide away in libraries or in my room and bury myself under books and assignments just so I know I am doing everything in my ability to receive the grades I know I am capable of getting at the end of a semester. As I’ve learned to relax I have seen my GPA drop a couple points and it’s terrifying. I am no longer “Jess, the girl with the 4.0”, I am just “Jess, the  undergrad student”.

That 4.0 gave me a huge confidence boost; it made me feel like I was finally the best at something and that feeling was phenomenal. Now, I don’t have that GPA and I feel like everyone else. It’s funny because the entire time I was in treatment being normal and like everyone else was all I wanted. But this semester, with this new life of no treatment and full time school and part time work I feel like there’s a void I need to fill.

I was alright last semester because I still had a part of my eating disorder and that made me stand out. No I wasn’t parading around announcing it to everyone I talked to or made eye contact with, but I knew I had it and it somehow made me feel alright. Now I am working on a new life of recovery and that means I am just like everyone else. I don’t have something that makes me different or stand out since i am trying not to give in to my eating disorder thoughts as much and I no longer have the 4.0 on my record that tells the world “I am the best in my class because nobody can get higher than a perfect 4.0”. It’s a mind fuck simply because when I was still sick, in treatment 3 times a week and individual therapy 1 time a week AND working a job part time I managed to get that 4.0. I’ve been wondering if there was a link between my anorexia and my academic achievement of a perfect GPA, which I know I should probably CBT sheet that shit or something (treatment friends know what I’m talking about haha).

So I’ve been feeling a little lost since school started last week. I feel pressure to once again give up my social life for school work and assignments just so I can get a letter on my final grade report that reinforces the “I am the best” mindset. Life is getting complicated again, so I’m sorry if these posts seem all over the place lately. I’m just trying to figure all this shit out while not knowing what the fuck I’m doing.

Undergrad: On the Home Stretch

Hey guys happy Monday!

I’m pretty excited for next Monday as it’s the day classes start up again. I love college and the whole experience I’m having so far as an undergrad student. Last semester was one of my favorites and I’m so excited for this semester. I realized that I’m not the odd one at my school and there’s more older students than I once thought. It was so relieving talking to some of my classmates and finding out they’re either the same age as me or a little bit older. I felt normal, and less like I was behind where I should be in life.

Things in my life are finally looking up and I haven’t been this happy in so long. It’s refreshing to say the least. Here’s how this semester is going to be great for me:

  1. I’ll be conducting my own research project; something I’ve been looking forward to since last semester.
  2. I’m taking a ton of psychology classes instead of mostly lib eds.
  3. I no longer have to go to IOP, but I still have individual therapy and a step down group.
  4. I’ll be preparing to take the GRE and looking seriously into graduate programs. I’m hoping to get into a PhD program but to be safe, I’m really looking into a Masters program as I know doctorate degrees can be quite competitive to get into.
  5. In May I will be a senior! I can’t believe I’m nearly almost on the homestretch of my bachelors degree

I say it at the start of every semester but I’m really anticipating what the Spring of 2015 semester is going to bring my way. It’s funny to think how I didn’t think I would change by going to a four year school but I have, a lot, and I am finally feeling happy with myself and life. Confidence has been a huge thing I worked on, and I’m really starting to love myself in a way I didn’t think possible. It’s no longer a fake it ’til ya make it type of happy; it’s a genuine “I know what I want and I’m good enough to get it” type of happy.

To Those Who Told Me I Should Settle

So after receiving my grades for this semester and looking over my transcripts thus far, I have to say I’m pretty thrilled. I know it’s contradictory to the post I wrote a few days ago but the more I thought about it and talked about it with people (yes I even spent some of my time in therapy discussing it as well as my future plans) I’ve come to realize that although I didn’t get grades I know I am capable of, I’m still kicking ass as a clinical/counseling psychology major.

I have known for a while now where this feeling of inadequacy towards school came from: my high school guidance counselor. When I was a junior in high school I met with her to discuss my future. Yes I wasn’t the best student at the time, I could care less about academics in high school, but I still wanted to go to college and get a degree. I would be the first grandchild on my moms side to even graduate high school, let alone go on to college. It motivated me to want to go, even though being 17 I had no idea what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing. So, I walked into her office that afternoon with the expectation of being encouraged to apply to the few undergraduate colleges I was looking at at the time. Well, needless to say, after she finished reviewing my grades on my transcript she turned to me and flat out told me I wasn’t good enough to get into the schools I was hoping to apply to and that I should settle for a community college. I don’t think I ever felt more like shit about my future as I did when I walked out of her office when that meeting finished.

Needless to say, I let those words from someone whose job was to guide me to bettering my future and point me towards college, guide my life into a place where for the next 3 years I would work several almost minimum wage jobs. One day my mind changed and I ended up enrolling into the one place I was trying to avoid: community college.

Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to do well at all, still grappling with the thoughts that she was right and I would never be good enough for college. But she was wrong. I was getting rather good marks in classes and was getting motivation to transfer to a 4 year college. I think that’s what changed the course of my life, that motivation to excel in school & prove her wrong.

I wish I could go back to my high school and show her how well I’m doing. I would show her my grades from the university I am attending now, those all A’s from my 1st semester there, and the A’s & B’s from this semester. I want her to know how she hurt me and discouraged me. I want her to know that her shitty job at counseling me in that meeting led me to gaining motivation to prove her wrong. I want her to know that because of her I stress myself out every semester to attain the grades I have earned and that I am fully planning on one day getting my PhD in clinical psychology.

Mrs. D told me to settle, and those words that reinforced the belief I have that I am not good enough in turn made me motivated to be the best student I can and gave me motivation to go for a PhD.

The Problem With Perfectionism

Hey guys, so I got my grades for this semester today and I know I’m going to sound like one of those kids who are over achievers but I gotta say I’m not too thrilled with my grades; and here’s how my fucking perfectionist attitude gets in the way.

My overall GPA is now a 3.639, not quite the 4.0 I had last semester. I received 2 A-‘s and 2 B’s which should thrill me, but I can’t get the excitement inside me that I know I should have. This semester was hard (with taking an Anatomy/Physio course I shouldn’t have even been in, all thanks to my dipshit of an ex-advisor) so I should be stoked on the fact that bio and A&P I was fortunate to receive a B. But I’m sitting here thinking that I could have done more to receive higher grades.

I guess my problem is that I’m comparing this semester to last, without taking into consideration that last semester I had a much easier course load and only had one part time job at the time. This semester I had more science focused courses, a lot more homework (especially since I started working on my own research), two part time jobs, individual therapy as well as one night of outpatient treatment. Does that sound as exhausting as it did when I typed it all out?

All of these things logically make sense to me but that voice of perfectionism in my head is nagging at me that I should have been able to make the Deans list once more. It’s a problem, this perfectionist attitude/mindset I have but I haven’t figured out yet how to make that voice shut up in my head. There’s this unhealthy need inside of my head to be perfect, and if I don’t reach that then I’m left with this unbearable feeling that I am not good enough and all of those words spoken to me about said “not good enough-ness” are reinforced inside my head.

Now, in January, I’ll be starting the 2nd half of my Junior year in Undergrad and will have to start seriously looking into Grad schools and taking my GRE, but tonight I’m “ruminating” (to use a nice big clinical word) about the grades I received and if they’ll impact my chances of getting accepted into a PhD program for clinical psych.

Not being able to celebrate these grades is unfortunate; and that my readers, is the problem with perfectionism.

Why I’m Choosing Grad Schools Out of State

As the first semester of my junior year comes to an end and I’m faced with the reality I need to start looking into Grad schools and taking my GRE I have come to the decision to go to school outside of New York. I always had this dream that I would one day move out and far away from home. Some may call it running away, but I don’t look at it like that. I guess it’s all about perspective.

Right now, I have it narrowed down to three schools I plan on applying to (all for psychology; two are PhD or PsyD programs while the other is an LMHC program). One school is where I’m attending now only the graduate program; I guess I chose that because I love this school and it’s safe to apply to at least one college I have a high chance of getting into. The other two schools? Florida State University and Arizona State University.

Like I said, I didn’t choose these other 2 schools because I want to “run away” per say. I chose them because for the past 10 or 11 years I have been wanting to move and start fresh. I want a new start. Live in a place where nobody knows my history, my struggles and I can reinvent myself to be the adult I want to be. Sometimes living at home (in the same place I was born and raised) I feel like people who have known me for years see me as my old self. I mean let’s be real here folks, I am not the same person I was when I was 17 or even the same person I was last year at this time.

So I want a fresh start, get my head on my shoulders and leave behind the demons that surround me here. I know that sounds morbid but I don’t know what the world holds for me, but I know I’m not meant to stay in this small town for the rest of my life.

Striving For 4.0

I am pretty amazed there’s only 2 more weeks left of school. This semester I entered into my junior year, declared a concentration in my major and started off with a 4.0 GPA. No pressure right?

But something happened as the semester went on. The classes aren’t exactly the easiest and I don’t think I’m going to be seeing that beautiful 4.0 on my DegreeWorks when the grades are finalized and entered in. This doesn’t mean I’m not working hard or am not determined to do the best that I can, I just really struggle when it comes to science and unfortunately it’s the one class that is probably going to make my GPA go down by who knows how much.

So now that I’m entering into the last week of classes and lectures, I’m feeling that pressure. I have so much to do, and I’m back at spending countless hours doing work just to boost my grades. I don’t know why I care so much about this but I do. My whole life I wanted to be great at something. I remember when I was looking into college when I was in high school my guidance counselor flat out told me I wouldn’t be accepted into any 4 year school with my grades; and I believed her because shit isn’t it their job to be honest and “guide” us? So I went from high school into the work field. Then of course when I hit 20 or 21 and realized working without a degree in anything wasn’t going to get me anywhere I decided to go back to school, not expecting to amount to anything. But I did. I found out that I was good at it, and it gave me a boost in the self-esteem department.

3 years later, I am at my dream school, pursuing a degree in clinical/counseling psychology and guess what? I’m fucking good at it. But I still face the need to prove myself. Not only to myself but to the school and my old guidance counselor who basically told me I wouldn’t amount to shit academically.

Most days I feel like I’m back to driving myself crazy, all for a number. Isn’t it weird how numbers define us? It may be pessimism but I’m not expecting a kick ass GPA this semester. But it doesn’t mean I’m not striving for it. I want to be the best at something, and in my own world, I know I’m the best at school. I love it, I’m passionate about what I’m studying and it honestly keeps me going on those days where I want to lay in bed all day and be depressed.

I’m still striving for that 4.0, but I’m learning that it doesn’t have to be consecutive semesters. It would be nice, but I still have 3 more semesters to go before I graduate and go to Grad school.