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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
Kate* Offline
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Now I'm torn - February 17th 2015, 07:30 AM

I finally got the mail today and the dean from the graduate school says that I will be eligible to apply early enough to start another program next January if I want to go back there. I know that recommendations from the counseling faculty won't be a problem at all as long as I apply to a non-counseling program.

One of the appeal committee members is the program coordinator for a program that would lead to an M.A. in Human Development and Family Studies and they (she and the faculty) think that this would be a really good degree for me in terms of my strengths and weaknesses and they will take at least 2 classes (up to 4 with approval) from what I already have (not that many, but better than nothing). The problems I have are:

1. I have NO IDEA what I would do with this degree once I earned it. It says I can teach or have a leadership position in social services, so like a program coordinator or director (eventually) so I could still work in social services without the individual face-to-face counseling that ended up being the reason for my failure in the counseling program.

2. I'd be required to do a thesis or project, it's not that I'm completely opposed to this, but it seems like a lot of work for a masters degree. We also have to choose our own advisor based on which research interests best match ours, and from what I can find, none of the faculty really share my potential interests

3. They encourage you to earn an additional certificate to more or less narrow down what you want to do. There is one that I would be interested in (Disability Studies and Community Inclusion), it would indulge my health interests.

4.The career outcomes and various other things seem very ambiguous and you have to plan what you want to do with it and tell them what you're going to use the degree for, and I have no idea because I had planned on a different degree.

It makes sense to thoroughly explore a degree recommended by faculty who have known me for over 2 years and have been wrong very rarely in that time (unprofessional in their handling of things, yes, but not wrong about what they were saying), especially if it will take SOME credit from what I already have, even if it's not that much, but the more I think about it, it seems like a big commitment for a degree with ambiguous prospects especially considering that I'm still dealing with the fallout (read debt) from one masters degree that I can't claim.

There's a second option that I've stumbled on an M. Ed. in Health Education and Promotion. This seems to fall more in line with what I'm interested in and would indulge my health interests and need to help people both face-to-face and behind the scenes including some of those counseling skills, and I could choose to do a thesis if I wanted, but it's not required. I have concerns about this one too:

1. It won't transfer any credits from what I already have

2. It's a career I have never really considered seriously because I'm just realizing that it exists, I don't want to jump into something I'm not going to like, but I don't want to delay another degree if I'm going to get it because I have other things in life I'd like the opportunity to focus on at some point.

3. I may very well end up having the same problem I had with the counseling program since there is human interaction and "informal counseling" may be part of the job. I won't be put under a microscope and evaluated on my ability to counsel (or criticized for doing it "wrong") before graduation, but if I'm going to run into the same problems in this field then it doesn't seem worth it. Also, the issues I had demonstrating the counseling skills they wanted is neurologically based so it's not going anywhere and the last thing I want is to get to the end (or almost to the end) and have the exact same situation happen again. Aside from the debt it would cause, I don't think I could stand it emotionally.

Also, I can't find application deadlines for the life of me. I do plan on contacting and probably meeting with the program coordinator for the Human Development and Family Studies and the Program contact for the other program was also on the appeals committee (which is why I'm kind of afraid she'll tell me I won't be a good fit for it)

If it's informal counseling, it might matter less that I do it in a specific way which could work to my benefit, but I'm now afraid of anything that leads to a career that involves human interaction no matter how badly I want that, because I don't know which parts of it specifically caused the problems before.

The anxiety caused by disrespectful faculty and judgemental supervisors can be treated, but the neurological basis for the things they were evaluating can't be changed. Any advice (and thanks to anyone who bothers to read this, it ended up a lot longer than I intended)


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Re: Now I'm torn - February 19th 2015, 02:26 AM

Does it make any sense or is it realistic at all to take a break from this stuff and focus on something else for a while? Travel, do some random jobs, or a combination of that, or explore whatever other interests you might have...

For most of my life, every attempt I made at pursuing my interests got me into trouble. I also had problems with the human interaction aspect, although the causes may have been different. It took me a very long time to come to terms with what the triggers were, and I'm still learning every day, while in the mean time I've chosen to take a completely different career path for now - one that involves very little human interaction of that personal nature - and provides enough financial stability such that at least I won't have to stress over living paycheck to paycheck on a daily basis ALL the time. Eventually I intend to go back and pursue my "original" interests, but I've accepted that a lot of personal work needs to be done before I can do that safely - without that significant risk of wasting a bunch of money and time.

I'm not sure if getting a degree for the sake of having one is the most effective motivator.... it depends on what we hope to do with it, I suppose.


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Kate* Offline
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Re: Now I'm torn - February 19th 2015, 03:08 AM

It makes sense, which is why they made me take a year off, but more than that is not realistic.

The bachelors degree in psychology I have is completely useless and I'm almost 30 with no income and no job prospects whatsoever. Like I said, there are other things I want to eventually do, but these degrees take time and if I'm going to get one, I'd like to graduate before I'm old enough to retire. I'm not just getting one for the sake of having it, for any of the work I want to do (capable or not), they are necessary. Once I get insurance figured out, I'm starting therapy again to deal with some of this and if/when I go back there I would continue with the psychologist I was seeing to get me through the counseling program, but the neurological problems can not be treated and helping people is all I've wanted to do since I was 4 years old, if that hasn't changed by now, I don't think it's going to.


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Re: Now I'm torn - February 23rd 2015, 12:05 PM

Hey Katie

You've obviously spent a lot of time thinking about this. I would suggest you at least look into the M Ed program, coz there seem to be some questions there.

Have you been able to find anyone working in those fields? I'm not sure what the specific jobs are, but if you can talk to some people they might be able to tell you more about what is actually out there.

If you end up doing a thesis - what are the requirements? Research or literature based? Length? Is it something that, for you, is achievable in the timeframe?

I would definitely contact the program director of the second course. It won't hurt, and you could find out something that either says yea or nay to the course.

I wouldn't completely write off your masters though. You will have skills from that which will help whichever way you turn.


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