I began this semester planning for how I was going to move on to graduate school. My original plans were pretty simple, apply for program X (clinical psyc), if denied, move on to program y (academic psyc). As with all of my plans, there are backup plans for the backup plans. The essence of my desires have changed somewhat.
I still have my absolute last-resort backup plan in case no grad schools want me, the Bachelor of Arts in Sociology program. It would give me a chance to expand my academic record to further prove my academic abilities. I’m not too worried about admission for this last-resort plan, since according to the admissions office at Fayetteville all I have to do is “come over to the office after graduation and tell us you are ready to come back”. Apparently its as simple as that.
The restructuring comes with me taking a look at my goals and my abilities and creating a realistic, workable plan for graduate education for myself. First of all, I may have the pre-requisite knowledge for a master’s in clinical psychology program, but in some ways I would like to be a little better prepared when I go in. It’s a competitive program and I’m going to have to kick ass to get into it. As it stands, I’m not a good competitor for those 5 seats in the program for this year. The Academic Psyc program at ECU sounds good as an alternative on paper, but it’s not where I want to be, its not the program that I truly want to be in. The Academic Psyc program would be admitting that I am defeated and would result in academic stagnation for me. As for the original 3rd option, the graduate program in Liberal Studies, I think I would enjoy it, but I would prefer to hold off and take that degree when I’m 80 and can truly put life experience behind it and enjoy it. My new restructured plan does not have 10 layers of redundancy like the original plan, but requires a bit of faith in myself and my abilities, as well as a belief in luck and the wisdom of the academic process.
My new restructured program is fairly straight forward. The first part of the program is a graduate certificate in Cognitive Science. The program is focused on cognition and thought processes, both human and computer. It’s a melding of curriculums for me. My absolute dream curriculum. The program is just a certificate, so it will likely only last a year for me, just long enough for me to gain some more experience and learn to interact well with other students and faculty. After completing the Cognitive Science program I intend to apply to the doctoral degree in health psychology (community focus). While in that program I would very much like to pursue another certificate program, this time in the computer science field of game design and development. I think that combining the two programs would give me a good handle on the areas I would need to be familiar with to design games and other computerized tools for psychological assessment or research.
Perhaps my goals are a bit too lofty, and perhaps some things are still a little too unrealistic. I don’t know for sure, but I do know that this is what I want and its what I’m going to go for. I am not going to build my education based on my second choice, and I am certainly not going to be told that I am not good enough for something that I am passionate about.