I'm graduating in May with a degree in psychology. I can't decide what to do for my future... I'm torn between areas of psychology that have to do with research, and those that have to do with practical application.
The research path is lined with money and prestige... I would be helping people indirectly, by discovering new methods of treatment, or figuring out why certain populations hurt as much as they do, etc. It would be up to others to use my research findings in a practical way. I'd be making a big impact in the theoretical world of psychology, but a small impact in a larger number of people's lives.
The practical application path often requires less schooling, but your salary is smaller, and it's a lot more stressful. I would be working one-on-one with people in poverty, people with disabilities, and people with mental illness. I'd be making a big impact in a small amount of people's lives.
My college entrance essay was titled "I want to go to college because I want to change the world." I originally thought I wanted to do school counseling, then discovered I hate children (haha... glad I figured THAT out). My mission is still the same though... I want to have a career that is about making the world better.
So I ask you... which is better? (better as in: more beneficial to humanity) Helping people indirectly, through research and scientific discovery? or helping people directly, one-on-one, in the stressful grit of everyday life?
Hard question... what do you think?
This was spawned because of the one graduate-level class I'm taking this semester, which is a class about neuropsychology (aka "my brain class"). I'm seriously considering being a neuropsychologist. I LOVE that class, and I've only been in one class (haha). I love the brain, and the weird things it does, and it's just so fascinating! I was talking about it all week. I also enjoy research, and thought that being a neuropsychological researcher would be so cool! :D But at the same time, I'm taking a class in Case Management, and I'm toying with the idea of being a social worker. I'm excellent at managing things. I've always said that if there was a job where I could just have ideas and tell people what to do, then everything would be perfect. I'm a ridiculously good problem solver, and there's nothing I can't do, given enough time to think it through (ew... that RHYMED). I think I would be great at both, and would enjoy both... and both are beneficial and useful fields. But... which one? One takes getting a doctorate and doing medical garbage that will take like 7 years, but will result in a salary of up to $290,000 a year. Case management I can do with a bachelor's degree and will probably make looooooooots less, hahahahaha.
I suppose I could do both... do case management for 7-ish years while paying for my doctorate. But I dunno. I really don't like hopping from career to career. I'm the kind of person who finds one thing and sticks with it. (Thus, I "stuck with" a college that after 1/2 of a semester I knew wasn't for me and is probably killing my spiritual life... ugh. I should've left a long time ago. -.-' And now it's too late. Angst angst angst. Moving on!) And somewhere in the next 60 years of my life, I hope to incorporate becoming a writer and being the assistant director and script writer to some of Chris' films. And having 8 children and homeschooling them. And teaching English in Korea and Japan. And traveling all over the world. And inventing a time machine so I can actually do all of these things.