Chasing dreams

I know what I want to do with my life. I know how to get there, but it’s going to be hard. And I don’t know if I can do it.

I want to be a clinical psychologist, which means once I graduate I need to get 1 – 2 years of relevant work experience, and then apply to do a doctorate in clinical psychology which takes 3 years. There are only about 500 places a year in the UK, one university alone (which has 24 places) had 650+ applications last year… And then if I make it onto the course, I’ve got to get through the course, which normally has 5 or 6 placements, plus a research project, and then obviously you have to pass everything.

But what if I can’t do it? What if I’m not good enough? Or what if I’m not strong enough? What if my own issues (depression, anxiety etc) get in the way? How many attempts do you give it before you give up and do something else?

I’ve been thinking recently maybe I should take an easier option. I’ve always thought about being a primary school teacher. It’s not really what I want to do, but I know I could do it – I guess I’ve seen it as a backup plan. I like working with kids and in a primary school there’s nothing too hard to teach, I can be creative, and primary school involves a lot of art/creative stuff. I’d quite like to be a primary school teacher I think, long holidays, working with kids, getting to make a difference to people’s lives. But it’s not the thing that I really want, it’s not where my passion really lies. But it would be easier. Because we always need more teachers, there’s always places going – especially as I’ll have a language, and psychology which involves a lot of knowledge about development of learning etc.

What would you do?

Strive for something you want but might never achieve, and might struggle with due to personal issues? Or go for something that would be ok, but easier?

I’m normally full of fight but lately I’m wondering if it’s really worth it. Only the best can make it into clinical psychology, and I’ve spent my whole life trying to be the best, but I’m not. Maybe it’s just setting me up for failure. Damn perfectionism. Of course I want the most competitive thing.

It’s strange. I’d like to go down both paths and see how they are, but of course I can’t. I’ll have to decide.

Just as a side note, I am in no way saying that a teacher’s job is easy or shouldn’t be valued. I think teachers are amazing, I’ve seen the work that goes into that job (my mum was a teacher) and I know that it wouldn’t be easy. But the entry route to teaching is easier, that’s all I mean by this post. I think maybe one day I’d like to be a teacher, but the thing I’m actually really really interested in is psychology, and especially mental health.

And another thing I’ve noticed… Although the careers of teachers and psychologists have a lot of differences, I have realised that there is a big thing in common – both aim to make a difference, to change people’s lives. And also, both would have the opportunity to work with children. I think I need a job where I’m helping people, I’m definitely the sort of person that will be in the job for the people rather than the money!

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10 thoughts on “Chasing dreams

  1. katgalaxy8606 says:

    Having a dream is very important. I have learned that I have to be realistic with my dreams. I wanted to be a counselor, but the stigma in FL is too great. If I wanted to get licensed, just bc of a diagnosis, I would have to get randomly drug tested, attend mandatory weekly meetings, and be treated unequally. I didn’t want to risk the chance of all eyes on me, and the risk of if I “misbehaved”, getting a $60,000+ career taken away. So, I chose something with less attention to my bipolar, and I’m loving it so far. Not trying to discourage you at all, bc you more than anyone know your capabilities and the “rules” of your area, but talk to as many people as you can about your plans and continue pondering the pros and cons. Don’t look at a dream blindly w/out being honest with yourself. I look forward to hearing more about your plans soon. -KAT

    • anxiouselephant says:

      Hi Kat, thanks for your comment 🙂 I’m sorry things didn’t work out with what you wanted to do, but it’s great that you’re enjoying what you are doing instead! I think I’ll just have to see what happens after I graduate. I’ve heard that lots of people who work in mental health have had their own mental health issues in the past, so maybe if I manage to completely “recover” it might actually be a useful thing, but only time will tell! I just hate not knowing what’s going to happen xx

  2. Juliet says:

    I’d say try it out and if you fail you will have at least tried – and then can still do something else. I know it’s easier said than done though… just my two cents xx

  3. Jenny says:

    Hi! I understand the situation that you are in. I have the same sentiments until now if it was really worth it that I became a registered nurse. I have the “what ifs” on pursuing easier career paths but the thing is I felt that there is a purpose why I am here. I still have questions and self-doubts as I go on with my career though. Good thing I am stubborn. So, I pushed through with this career even if it is difficult. Anyway, I think you should pursue your dreams too no matter what it takes. At least, you will not have regrets and lots of what ifs. 🙂

    • anxiouselephant says:

      Thanks for your comment, I think you’re right, it’s best to try so I don’t end up regretting not doing it… that’s why I decided to do my year abroad too, and that’s going well so far! Glad you are pursuing what you want to do, if it was easy there wouldn’t be any point in doing it! xx

  4. Jasmine says:

    Strive for your dream, but don’t be ashamed to have other options available too. You might not get a place on the postgrad straightaway, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go down a different route and try again in another year 🙂

    • anxiouselephant says:

      You’re right. I think in the months that I’ve been here, I’ve already changed my view of the future – if I can’t get to where I want to be straight away it doesn’t matter, and there’s always other options xx

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