In the past two years, I’ve applied to graduate school twice, and was rejected by all of the Ph.D. programs, and accepted by one of the Masters programs. I ended up turning down the acceptances due to, financing, location, and having a son with a birth defect that so far has required to surgeries to correct. I was laid off from my job this past January shortly after we found out that my wife was pregnant with a little girl, who, thankfully, was born in excellent health. And was fortunate enough to have found a great new job less than two weeks after getting laid off. I really love this job, and can see myself staying here for a while and really growing here.
One of the benefits of working for a large university is that they will waive tuition if I take classes on campus, or they will cover tuition for classes that I take at another school. I have to be employed with the university for a year, a full year before this benefit kicks in, but January is one year, so I really need to start planning now, if I’m going to take advantage of this. The problem, and it seems to be the same problem I always have trouble with, is having too many good choices. At the moment, I’m really not sure which one is right for me.
As noted in the post on the graduate schools, I haven’t given up on my dream of becoming a clinical psychologist. The idea of getting back into a lab and doing psychology research that could ultimately improve people’s lives is very exciting to me. To that end, the most viable options would be taking post-bach courses in psychology on campus during my lunch hour, and/or finding a professor on campus who needs research assistants. The next option, in terms of feasibility, would be to find an online graduate program in psychology. These are generally not well regarded, but if I mixed that in with some research with a professor at Emory, that might go a long way on an eventual Ph.D. application. The third option that I am considering is a masters program at Georgia Tech in Human Computer Interaction. The program is an interdisciplinary program in computer science, psychology, literature, communication, and culture. While not a traditional feeder program into Clinical Ph.D, it actually ties rather strongly with one of the areas of psychology ressearch that I would like to pursue.
So those are my psychology options. The other option that really appeals to me would be to study photography. I’ve really fallen in love with this art, and could see myself leading a very happy life working as a professional photographer. I don’t necessarily need a degree to do this, but with Emory paying for it, there doesn’t seem to be any reason not to get some formal training before going pro. (It also lets me work towards a BFA or MFA to add to my collection). I’ve found several online programs in photography, and I shoot all the time for fun anyway, so this option would be quite convenient. With the prevalence of digital cameras, though, photography as a profession is on the decline, so this could be one of the least beneficial options financially.
Something else that I’ve considered is getting some course work in web development. These classes are usually run through business schools, and there are plenty of programs around Atlanta and online for degrees at both the Bachelors and Masters levels. This is the least exciting option, but certainly the most practical and most profittable.
When I ask myself these days, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” those are the things that I’m considering. So, does anyone see anything that I might have missed, or anything that just looks so completely obvious, but I’m clearly overlooking. Don’t be shy, tell me what you think.