I just wrapped up my 7th year of university.
I just wrapped up…my seventh year…of university. Do you know what you can do in seven years? A lot. You can do a lot in seven years. You can write several books. Travel the world. Go to Hogwarts. Fight Dark Lords several times. Train for the Olympics. Adopt a farm of goats.
Here’s what I did.
2009-2010: Undergrad, Year 1: Intro Psychology,
had fun, Philosophy, parties, Cognitive Science, made new friends, Linguistics, Italian
2010-2011: Undergrad Year 2: Social Psychology,
went to So You Think You Can Dance Canada, Personality Psychology, extracurriculars, Dinosaurs, Oceanography, Research Methods, Computer Science, Statistics, Health Psychology, went on dates, Developmental Psychology
2011-2012: Undergrad Year 3: Criminal Psychology, French,
cottage parties, Statistics, Developmental Seminar, Exceptional Children, drinks with coworkers, Abnormal Psychology, made new friends, Natural History, Natural Disasters
2012-2013: Undergrad Year 4: Cognitive Psychology, Forensic Psychology, Criminology, Human Sexuality, Judaism Christianity Islam, Wrote Thesis, Natural History of Ontario, Drugs and Addictions, Sport and Performance Psychology, Psychology of Motivation and Emotion,
anything other than school
2013-2014: Master’s Year 1: Advanced Statistical Analysis of Variance,
had a social life, Advanced Statistical Regression, Theories of Developmental Psychology, Wrote Thesis
2014-2015: Master’s Year 2: Developmental Psychology Methodology,
enjoyed a happy healthy romantic relationship, Lifespan Health Psychology, Wrote Thesis
2015-2016: PhD Year 1: Developmental Psychopathology, History of Psychology, Psychological Assessments, Psychoeducational Assessments, Learning Disabilities, Ethics
Note: Courses in bold font have absolutely nothing to do with my degree or life goals
I always thought it would be better once I got to my PhD. As a psychology major going to an underdog university (Carleton University, where the ‘K’ stands for ‘Quality’), I always got a lot of pitying and pretentious looks/comments:
Oh. Psychology at Carleton. I see. What will you do after?
Ummm. Whatever the f*ck I want, ball buster.
Even during my Master’s I was questioned and ridiculed for choosing such an apparently meaningless program of study. But I knew that when I started telling people I’m doing my PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of Toronto I’d get to watch their faces change. Watching the vast majority of people I had ever talked to eat their words was never a goal of mine. But it certainly would be a bonus for all my hard work.
The problem is, it’s exhausting talking about school. First of all, no one gets why I would
agree choose to be in school for so long (self-reported masochist). I’m also always left super upset after I have to actually verbalize how many years I have left of university. It’s totally not worth explaining. I also have to endure comments like:
- You must really like psychology
- Won’t that be really hard?
- Won’t you have to have a ton of patience?
- Won’t working with mentally unhealthy children make you depressed and hate your work?
- I wish I had stayed in school, it was so much fun
- School was so much easier than working every day (…I’m just not even gonna touch that one…)
Just let me do my torturous thing and I’ll leave you to do whatever it is that you do in your spare time that I don’t have, even though I’m in school, which is so fun and super easy.
So yes, I have been a student for a very long time. And yep, I totally have a very long time left (but who’s counting?!) But I don’t think I fully realized how much of a student I am until a few days ago. While cleaning my apartment, I noticed lots of signs of ‘that student life’ casually lying around.
So here’s that story in pictures.
That time I decided there was no way I was letting any of my $5.75 toothpaste go to waste.
That time I collected coupons (at a children’s science fair…) so that I could have a fun day at the museum (P.S. The ROM is free for students on Tuesdays!!)
That time Groupon’s generosity allowed me to go on fancy dates.
That time I just wanted a good book to read (PS it was a really weird book, but it was $5!)
That time I realized I have all of the rewards cards…
… and that time one of those cards reminded me just how long I’ve been in school.
That time I decided becoming an executive member of a wholesale depot was the only decision available to me.
And that time I discovered a rewards program for making good nutrition choices.
That time I wouldn’t let an ounce of peanut butter get away from me.
That time SO MUCH MAKEUP was given to me for free!!!
That time I resorted to doing online research for money…
(which is better than prostitution)
And last, but not least, that time I realized all my tricks weren’t good enough and created my own spending flowchart.
Sometimes the life of a forever student is difficult and stressful.
It can be hard to balance classes and labs and jobs and family and a social life. Sometimes you have to choose between eating for a week or buying a mandatory textbook. Other times you give up sleeping and showering to work a second job to pay tuition.
But, the student life is also really great. Being able to attend university or college at all is an amazing privilege denied to many. Having the rights, capacity, funds, and socio-economic status to obtain a Master’s degree is even more phenomenal. Being able to extend your studies to do a PhD? Wow.