As a freshman in high school, I really wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do. Honestly, at the time I was still slightly convinced that I would be a pop star or musical theatre sensation. Quickly, though, I realized I needed to choose something slightly more reasonable than that.
After a few online tests and some research, I determined that psychology might be a really good fit for me. I figured a school counselor sounded great. I wanted to work with kids who were going through rough things, just like I was at the time. A psychologist, that sounded like the plan for me.
Then my sophomore year I took biology and chemistry. Unlike most, who realize how much they hate science once they take these classes, I realized how much I loved it. I used to be super into math, but as I got to algebra II, I realized it wasn't really my strong suit anymore. It wasn't as fun as it had used to be. Now, my real passion was science.
By the end of that year, I had stopped telling people I wanted to be a psychologist and began telling them I wanted to be a doctor. I loved science, and my junior year, I decided to take AP Biology. By the time I graduated from high school, I had taken three more science classes than I was required to.
Still, throughout high school, I continued to be interested in psychology. I just wasn't sure how that would factor in. Maybe I'll be a psychiatrist, I always thought, but I really didn't want to double major to have the knowledge I would need for that. Still, I chose to take intro to psych and developmental psych through a nearby community college. I loved it and began to buy psychology books to read for fun.
For all four years of high school, I knew where my dream school was: Miami University. My parents were less than thrilled with the high tuition and long distance from home. I didn't care what they thought, though, because I knew it was the college for me. As I approached senior year, it seemed less and less attainable. Not because I thought I wouldn't get in, but because I knew I needed them to offer a LOT of scholarship money for it to be financially feasible.
As I was gearing up to apply during my senior year, despite the fear of not being offered enough aid, I discovered something that changed the game for me. Miami University offers a co-major in pre-medicine. What that means is that I needed a first major and that the pre-medical part would be a series of classes I was required to take, but it wouldn't affect my primary major. When I applied to Miami, I applied for their psychology major and pre-medical co-major.
And if you don't know me, I DID get in, I DID get plenty of aid and I WAS accepted into my dream programs, a psychology major with a pre-medical co-major.
So, my path was set to become a psychiatrist. I was more excited than I can explain.
Once I began on this path I had so many people warning me about what I was about to begin. They warned me that I should keep my eyes open and consider something like a surgeon. They warned me that medical school would be incredibly hard. But the most concerning warning was that as a psychiatrist I might not get to do the type of interacting with patients that I wanted to.
I had done so much research going into this, and I did expect this warning. Still, I had read that many psychiatrists are working toward having the opportunity to interact more and prescribe less. Despite knowing this, I was still concerned. What if my research wasn't as accurate as I had hoped?
Every time I had those thoughts I would push them to the side and continue on.
And then came college science.
My first semester was generally easy, as I only took psychology classes. In my second semester, though, the big leagues began. At first, I was staying up too late, procrastinating too much and just not putting enough effort in. I still loved these classes though. Learning about biology (especially my favorite, phospholipids) was so exciting for me. Every time chemistry got hard, I thought, "But what would my life be without it?" I had gained a love of the math I needed to perform within chemistry and knew that life would just be weird without it.
So, I kept on keeping on but decided that I couldn't let pre-med ruin my mental health. I had worked so hard first semester to get it back on track, and I wasn't going to pay my college $28,000 a year just to ruin it.
Then sophomore year began. My bio class was generally easy and organic chemistry lab wasn't the worst, but around halfway through the semester I realized that my lecture class was getting much more difficult than I could understand.
We moved away from calculations and moved towards reactions.
SO MANY REACTIONS.
My third exam of the semester told me what I had already feared. I was going to get my first C ever. I panicked and cried and really had no idea what to do with myself.
Luckily, I have a new mentor. It's my abnormal psychology professor, who had given me some guidance about what their career has been like.
Honestly, it sounded like exactly what I had been hoping to do. I want to interact with patients, diagnose them and help them through the whole process. I realized that as a psychiatrist, my time with patients would be quick enough to diagnose and prescribe. Turns out, that's just not what I wanted.
So now here I am, kind of clueless about what to do. I know I won't make it through med school. I don't even think I would make it there.
But… I don't quite know what I want to do with my life.
I've had it planned out for most of my high school career, and now that plan's down the toilet, just like that.
It's scary for me, but at least I know how I want to impact the world. I want to help people. I want to be around them and be a support for them. I want to understand people when they feel like no one in the world ever could. I want to be the reason people choose to stay on this earth.I want to be a clinical psychologist. How I'll get there, I have no idea, but I do know that I will. Because it's my passion, and it's the only passion I've ever truly known.