Hi everyone and welcome back to Styles by Sophie.
It is another lovely Sunday, which means there is a new blogpost again. After all the travel and hotspot related posts, I figured it would be time for something a bit more ‘serious’ and less superficial again. Lately I have been really occupied with work and school. Therefore, I thought it might be nice to share all about my (previous) jobs and career aspirations in this blog. I hope you enjoy!
As a student, the questions that I get asked the most frequently are; ‘What career would you like to pursue after your study?’ and ‘What psychology-related specialization would you like to choose next year?’. I have noticed personally, that I always find it quite difficult to answer both of these questions. Not only are they big questions involving a lot of important matters, the answer often also determines the way people view you… I thought it might be interesting to try to philosophize about these questions and attempt to answer them in this blog. Honestly, I am not sure either what exactly the content of this blog will be, but I will just start writing and see the content appear as I get my thoughts straight ;).
Let’s start with the latter question (since I will have to answer this one in a few months from now): ‘What psychology-related specialization would I like to choose next year?’. Since I do my bachelor in Psychology at the University of Amsterdam, I will have to choose one of the seven specializations within the next 9 months or so. The specializations I get to choose from are; Work and Organizational Psychology, Psychological Methods, Brain and Cognition, Social Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Clinical Neuropsychology and Clinical Developmental Psychology.
Whenever I have to make a hard decision, it for some reason always works best to get clear what I do NOT want. This might sound like a pessimistic approach, but it really works wonders when you are trying to limit your options. As for know, I have studied the following topics; Introduction to Psychology, Brain and Cognition, Psychological Research Methods, and Developmental Psychology. Currently, I am studying both Social Psychology and Work & Organizational Psychology. All of these courses provide a thorough introduction to the different specializations.
So, let’s begin crossing off what I don’t really like. Firstly, I have noticed that I am not that interested in the biological aspect of psychology. Of course, it is interesting to know about the biological basis of behavior, but I have discovered during my course in Brain and Cognition, that I would like to leave it at that. Therefore, the specializations Brain and Cognition and Clinical Neuropsychology seem to be crossed off the list (since these are both fairly biological specialization programs). That leaves me with five very interesting options left. The course in Research Methods, which I had previously enrolled in, was very statistical and involved a lot of calculating. Even though this course went really well for me, I feel like there is so much more than just this. And therefore I think it would be a shame to focus so much on the methods of the research and leave most interesting processes and theories out.
When I look back at the last year, I have switched back and forth a lot when it comes to how I view my future career. A few months ago, I was quite interested in getting my PhD and becoming a researcher. I could definitely picture myself doing lab research in the social sciences field. For that, it would be best if I were to pursue a specialization in Research Methods. However, everything that happens outside of the lab is quite heavy: all of the writing, reading, waiting, years of studying and calculating…
I then enrolled in the course Developmental Psychology and totally saw myself as a youth coach or cognitive/learning psychologist. I bet it doesn’t come as a surprise, but I soon changed my mind again.
I didn’t have a very particular reason as to why I stepped away from the idea of specializing in Developmental psychology, except for that it maybe didn’t fit with the idea I previously had about the sort of career I would like to have. For some reason, the independence and responsibility that comes with being self-employed seems so appealing to me. It is definitely possible to become a freelancer in all the different fields of psychology, but I have noticed that when you work with kids (especially in school settings), being part of an institution is very much so valued.
Now that I am learning about Work and Organizational Psychology, the psychology in the business world is explained to me in all different ways. And I can tell you, the topics are fascinating. From motivating employees to the role of creativity and achieving organizational effectiveness. All of the insights into business psychology really seem to be right up my alley and helpful in many different careers. At the end of the day, organizations evolve with the right people and knowing the psychology behind this can be super valuable.
So far, I have had jobs in the hospitality and museum industry, but I also worked in media/content and I currently started a new position as online marketeer. I noticed that jobs at first mainly functioned for me as a way to get to know many new people, develop new skills and to find out what kind of work environment would suit me. The jobs I had for the last few years, were interesting at first, but eventually became rather repetitive. I noticed that my job at those companies wasn’t helping me in the direction I wanted to go.
Now you may wonder, what is that direction? Let’s begin answering the first frequently asked question I listed before: ‘What career would you like to pursue after your study?’. I am not entirely sure myself, but I have noticed that I am so ready for more ‘9-5 like jobs’. The job I just started (as an online marketeer) is a remote office job. I have been really enjoying the responsibility and flexibility. I feel like I am challenged cognitively and can work towards personal and organizational goals in an effective way. This is something I was lacking in my previous jobs. I am very excited to hopefully continue in this work field for as long as I am studying at university. As you may know, I extremely value personal growth and this is a job in which I can hopefully achieve that in a field that is gaining more and more importance.
When it comes to my plan for after my bachelor in Psychology, I know that I would like to do a masters in accordance with the field I specialized in. I would want to do this in order to differentiate myself from the other students and as a means to gain more knowledge. I hope to be able to squeeze in a meaningful internship somewhere in these next 3,5 years and gain some more work experience in the field of psychology.
I guess that is a plan solid enough for the next few years. Hopefully I will have more self-knowledge and life-experience after that time to make a well-substantiated decision as to my post-study job. We will see what I eventually choose for, a lot can change :).
I hope you liked reading this relatively long blog (whoops!) with a lot of information and ideas about my future. Have you experienced this, or are you currently also experiencing such decision-making? Or have you been asked these questions recently as well? Let me know about your experiences in the comments down below.
See you next week!