Be Flexible With Future Endeavors

View all tags
Jennifer Brown
blog image alt text

After I graduated from Lake-Sumter State College in 2016, I transferred to the University of Central Florida to get my Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. In May 2018 I graduated Magna Cum Laude. Interestingly though, even when taking into consideration the varied future goals of psychology students, my journey after my bachelor’s degree is more uncommon than most. While most students are entering the workforce via the civilian or military route, taking a gap year, or going to graduate school, I am combining all three. That is, I am enlisting in the Navy, taking some time off from school, and am looking to apply to a graduate program to be a psychologist in the civilian or military profession.

From Nursing to Psychology

Despite my present goals, as a senior in high school, my plan was to become a nurse. I was involved in Health Occupation Students of America, a club that future health professional students joined to experience competing, learning, and participating in health-related events. To encourage this dream, after I graduated high school I decided to pursue nursing by working as a certified nursing assistant and taking nursing prerequisites at a community college. After earning my associate degree, however, I decided that I would pursue psychology for my next two years of college.

I have always been fascinated by the vast and unending psychological research and theories that accompany a psychology degree. When I chose my enlisted contract for the Navy, I had two goals. The first was to fulfill my desire to serve my country. The second was to attend a graduate program for clinical mental health counseling, specializing in Rapid Resolution Therapy post-licensure. Over the past few months my goals have slightly changed. Now I am choosing to pursue a doctoral degree in psychology.

Finding Research Experience

Before I do so, I am going to follow the advice of many professors and Ph.D. students: get research experience! While working for the Navy, I look forward to assisting in research either at a Naval hospital or a university near my base. Research has been highly stressed upon during my undergraduate career in almost all my psychology courses as a prerequisite for most doctoral programs in psychology. One benefit I’ve enjoyed in participating with the Pearson Student Insiders has been to actively participate with Pearson researchers. Although I have not inputted data like most research assistants do, being a Student Insider has allowed me to give my input for the generation of present and future products that Pearson is creating. Being given this opportunity as a Student Insider has been a valuable stepping stone for my professional and academic goals. I am looking forward to working with researchers in the future and doing my own research in a graduate-level program.

I still have one decision to make before applying for a doctoral degree and that is what master’s degree to pursue. Since I had originally decided to study mental health counseling, this is still of interest to me. Although the decision cannot be made now, I am grateful that as an active duty military personnel I will receive the GI Bill and tuition assistance.

So here’s a reminder for current students or those just graduated: even if you have your next few years planned out, things can change. Although it may be disappointing and discouraging, being open to alternative options via your own mindfulness of the present may give you more freedom to pursue your values. Thus, being flexible in the present may lead you to new experiences you had never imagined. Even if your projected timeline does not come together as you thought, if you are able to be flexible in the situation you may be more likely to end up on top.