Monday, August 12, 2013

Let's Talk About College

It's very difficult to explain my profession. My best friend asked me the other week if I realized how important my job was. I do, but I certainly think the job I have is under appreciated. Every time some one asks me about what I do, I have to take a deep breath before trying to explain what I do. So, I've decided to talk about it. In order to get to that, I want to give y'all a little background. So...let's talk about college!

For undergrad, I went to the best school in the nation...the great University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where I majored in Psychology. I went into college thinking I wanted to be a pharmacist. UNC has one of the best pharmacy schools out there, so I thought perfect; I get to go to the college of my dreams and major in what I want!! Thing is, I had a jaded perspective of what college would be like. I expected it to be just like high school...which was a breeze. I was sadly mistaken. The first semester of my freshman year, I was taking four classes. Two of those classes were Chemistry and Calculus...both of which were at 8:00 AM! SMH...I know!! I'm a first generation college kid, so I had nobody to prepare me for what I was getting myself into. Chemistry and Calculus were two of my favorite subjects coming out of high school. I took AP courses for each of those subjects in high school, so I didn't think anything of taking those classes my first semester in college. I remember my AP Calculus teacher saying "Whatever course you place into, take the course under it!". Looking back, I wish I would have. I believe if I could have used that first semester as an adjustment period, I may have become that pharmacist I wanted to be (as this is still a dream for me...LOL...I say dream because I doubt it will become a reality at this point.) With all this said, I've taken away from this experience some great things. I believe I adequately prepared my sister for college life by constantly talking to her before she went and while she was there...letting her know what to expect, things to stay away from, things to do, etc. If I could do it over, I would! Since I can't, I'm determined to do what can for the generations under me.

I came up on psychology as an elective class and I really enjoyed it. I've always, for the life of me, wanted to understand people and the way they think and act!! I thought majoring in Psychology would be the answer. Psychology is the study of mind and behavior...so why wouldn't I understand people better after majoring in it? When I declared this as my major, I had no thoughts of what I would do after college. I just knew I enjoyed learning about psychology. I didn't think that far out about it.

I enjoyed all of the psychology classes I had to take...social psych, child psych, abnormal psych, etc. etc. The list goes on and on. I did extremely well in my major and I made it through to my senior year on time! I was planning on dropping one of my courses during my last semester, so I'd only have four classes. I wanted smooth sailing during my senior year; but we had to see our academic advisors to be cleared for graduation and thank goodness I did!! She told me I had just the right amount of classes I needed to graduate. I thought, 'SHOOT!', but I ended up enjoying all my classes anyway.

That semester I also found myself at a job fair. This is when I became a little concerned because I had no idea what I was going to do after school. At that job fair there was someone from Vocational Rehabilitation there. They talked to me a little bit about what they do, but I paid it no mind. I left the job fair with no direction...but some indication that I needed to figure out what I was going to do!

UNC-CH Graduation - 2007
Graduation was upon me. I was thankful to have gotten out of there on time. But I didn't know what was ahead. That summer after graduation I went home. I searched for jobs, but there wasn't much out there for someone with a psychology degree. My older cousin heard of what was going on with me and decided to take me to meet a professor he knew. She was a professor in the Rehabilitation Department at East Carolina University. I remembered hearing about this at the job fair, so I thought it was a sign from God that this was what I was supposed to be doing. We went for a visit one day in July...school started in August. This was a newer department and they were trying to build it up. I met a few of the professors that day and they encouraged me to apply. I was reluctant, but I needed something to do with my life!!! Why not grad school?!

I hurriedly took the MAT and got my application and everything else to ECU. I got in!! I was very excited to know that I wouldn't be out there floating aimlessly anymore. I was also thankful to have gotten into this program and although I wasn't quite sure what I would do with it, I thought it was God's plan for me. I ended up double majoring in Rehabilitation Counseling and Substance Abuse & Clinical Counseling. That's right, I have two Master of Science degrees!! I enjoyed my program. It was a small and personal program. I knew all the professors and all my classmates. Great friendships and networking relationships were made. I also learned a valuable lesson from this too! Have a plan for what you'll be doing after undergrad!! I drilled that into my sister as well! During my study there, I got an internship which later turned into a job opportunity.

But that's a story for next time...so stay tuned....

Happy Monday Y'all!!


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11 comments

  1. I enjoyed reading your college story. My parents were both 1st generation college students and interestingly enough they were still a bit short-sighted on many aspects of college. I really enjoyed my college experiences at NCCU and A&T, but I know now that there was more that could have been done with that time.

    A lot of times it's all about perspective. All I knew was go to college, come home and work during the summers, and get out in 4 years. lol Now I wished I would have traveled abroad or kept that second minor in Spanish even if it meant summer school or worked somewhere else besides McDonald's in the summers. But as you said, you take those experiences and help someone else. Looking forward to your sequel. :-)

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    1. Oh Libby, college is a completely different world from what the generation before us experienced. I wish I could have gone to college when they did...I feel like I would be rich!!

      I guess we all have our lessons to learn along the way. College seems to be one of the bigger lessons we stumble upon. Some for the good...some for the not so good! I think it was definitely about the perspective. Going to college was automatic. I didn't have to think about it...that choice was made for me already. After college is where choices stopped being automatic and I got stuck in...well-what-in-the-world-do-I-do-now land...or the hurry-up-and-get-something-in-place land! Traveling abroad was one of the things I wish I would have taken advantage of too but like you I had to work!! I guess those experiences are a part of who we are now!

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  2. I know that UNC structure very well. It brought back fond memories of home. i used to live in Carrboro, but Chapel Hill was my home because I spent a lot of time out there on Franklin St. So you're a Tarheel. Yeah!

    Speaking of college, I went to college thinking I was going to be a lawyer because everyone said I'd be so good at it. It's interesting how things have turned out for me. I always knew I like to write but I never thought I would ever consider it as a career path. Thanks for sharing your story and those pictures.UNC Chapel Hill was my dream school but I chose to go the Community College route because money was tight and no one told me I could qualify for student loans until it was too late and I'd already relocated so I ended up doing a year at Durham Tech and the remainder of college at ODU. I have no regrets thoughts because I doubt it would have made a difference in the direction of my life.

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    1. You truly have lived in many places...lol!

      I think the purpose of college is to help us figure out who we're supposed to become. So, it's okay to go in thinking one thing and to come out doing something completely different. I do try to help my coworkers who think they can't afford college by telling them about financial aid. Without it, I definitely wouldn't have been able to go to any kind of school...undergrad or grad! I have regrets and I wish I could do it over!! LOL...but much like you, I pretty much think now that everything happened for a reason and that I'm doing what I was supposed to be doing at this point in my life!

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  3. So interesting to hear this point of view of your journey. I'm sure we've talked about it a time or two but I tell Mario all the time that I'm so ready to instill some of this wisdom into our children. The do's/don'ts of college, finances...life! There were so many things that I wish I had known and would have certainly done differently if given the opportunity but of course we can only learn, grow and try to help someone moving forward. I do believe that we did exactly what we were suppose to do during those particular times in our lives though. Those times have truly prepared us for now and what's to come...and boy, doesn't our future look exciting ;)!

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    1. Ditto on the instilling this learned knowledge! We have talked about this so much. And yes, I am ready to instill this knowledge, but I hope am able to do it in a way that comes across as sensible. It is definitely a serious matter and I want my children to have the best...so all I can do is impart on them the things I know so they can be better informed and prepared for the lives ahead of them. Like I told the Nicole above you...I definitely have regrets and would gladly do it all over again...but like you said, I think we are definitely where we need to be right now and it is super exciting!!!

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  4. I didn't go off to college so it's always really interesting to hear how it was for others, I was unwell so tried doing Open Uni from home which sadly didn't work out either as I just wasn't well enough to deal with that either (hopefully one day hey!)

    The courses you took sound so intresting I'm looking forward to hearing what happens next!

    Thank you for link up with the I Love My Post Blog Hop
    Sarah
    Life in a Break Down
    xx

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    1. Thanks for stopping by to check out my story! And you're right!! You can always go back at anytime! If you need to...definitely don't go into debt if you don't have to!!

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  5. Thanks for sharing your story! Will try to stop by again to read more.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by to read my story. You never know who will be inspired by the things you've been through!

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