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Inside the Life of a Psychology Student – Amanda & Corrine (#2)

These series of articles are going to be based upon interviews with psychology students, we’ll be asking these students about their courses, what they like and dislike, how to succeed, and career information. For anyone currently considering, or actually studying, psychology these will be very helpful! Let us know what you would like asking for future interviews in the comments!


Let me introduce the next two interviewee’s! The first is Amanda, who is about to start her second year B.S. Psychology on the pre-med track at Stony Brook University (when you’re on the pre-med track, you take a certain selection of courses that are required to apply for medical school to become a doctor. The second is Corrine McCarthy, who is in her 3rd out of 5 years on a Psyd in school and clinical psychology. It is referred to as a combined and integrated program, meaning it focuses on both school and clinical psychology.

First, we asked them both about their specific courses.

Us: How’s the program like and cost?

Amanda: The program is really great.  The professors are excited about their subjects and most are very accessible to the students.  Tuition is about $5,000 a semester.

Us: And how’s the education?

Amanda: Stony Brook is one of the top public universities in the United States.  The classes are challenging and competitive but doing well makes me confident in the fact that I’ve really learned the material. A public university is largely funded by the government, and has a lower tuition, as opposed to a private university, which is much more expensive and is funded by alumni and private donations.


Us: How’s the program like and cost?

Corrine: It’s around $9,000 in state tuition and 11,000 for out of state tuition.

Us: And how’s the education?

Corrine: The professors are knowledgable in many different areas of psychology. They are devoted to our education and incredibly supportive. They are available to discuss any issue a student may have or just to chat about research. The professors are phenomenal but it is also up to the student, how much he/she puts in. It is imperative to do the readings which may be up to 1,000 pages in a week, especially the first year. It is imperative to also discuss research opportunities with professors and other students and to get involved in research projects. Students should present their research as posters or other forms of presentation at conferences. My program encourages students to attend NASP and ABCT conferences, in particular. My program also meets once a week for grand rounds, in which a student or professor presents on a salient topic or client. Lastly, in each year of the program, there is an externship. It is important to make the most out of this externship. Learn from your supervisor and also look good for your supervisor as they write your letters of recommendation. I would say I’ve learned an incredible amount in the past couple years but it also depends on what the student puts into their own education, as well.

Us: What is your favourite module/course?

Corrine: I really enjoyed adult and child psychopathology.


Then, our two interviewee’s where asked about their career ambitions, and their advice to new students.

Us: Whats your goal in terms of career?

Amanda: Eventually, I would like to attend medical school and practice child and adolescent psychiatry. After finishing my degree at Stony Brook, I hope to earn my medical degree and then practice psychiatry.

Us: What, outside of your degree, have you done to further your interest or career in psychology?

Amanda: I have volunteered at the child care center on campus, and I serve as one of the editors on our research journal at school.  I hope to start doing research in the fall. These things have definitely affected my career aspirations.  Volunteering at the Child Care Center made me certain that I want to work with children eventually, and working on the science journal has really pushed me to begin doing my own research sometime soon.

Us: What advice would you give to aspiring psych2go students?

Amanda: I would say to really commit yourself to learning the material.  Apply yourself.  If psychology is really the subject you’re passionate about, then you should take the time and energy to learn everything you can, as well as you can.


Us: What do you look to do after your degree, further study or work, or something else?

Corrine: I want to do a post-doc position. I want to get licensed as a psychologist. I would like to work with children. I am not sure with which specific population as I’ve enjoyed working with all types of children, those diagnosed with depression, anxiety, oppositional defiant, posttraumatic stress disorder, autism spectrum disorder.

Us: Whats one thing a student should know about studying psychology?

Corrine: You’ve got to love it. It is something to be passionate about. You’ve also got to be compassionate and emphatic and know you’re going to hear things that make you cringe and make you want to cover your ears. It is imperative to be present with people, especially your clients. Sometimes things hurt but you can’t pat them on the back and say, “everything’s gonna be ok.”  You’ve got to allow yourself and the person to feel the pain. It is like a pushing a beach ball down, under the water. You can push and push and push, but it’ll keep popping up and finding its way to the surface. It is the same with memories and emotions.

Us: And whats one thing a student should know about studying at University?

Corrine: It won’t come easy. You’ve got to want it. You’ve got to study and read, read, and read. You may not have as much time for friends and the things you love. It is so important to make time for self-care. But at the same time, your friends need to realize that you’ve made a choice to attend school and respect that. School always comes first.


Finally, we asked some more general questions about psychology.

Us: Do you have any criticisms of psychology as a field of study?

Amanda: I sometimes wonder why we spend so much time with Freud, when many of his theories have been disproven for the most part, but I do understand the importance of his theories as the foundation for many relevant theories.

Us: Do you regret choosing psychology? If so, why, if not, why not?

Amanda: Absolutely not.  I was very concerned about finding a major that I’m passionate about, but I found that in psychology.  Everything we learn about is interesting to me, and makes me want to know more.

Us: What got you interested in psychology?

Amanda: I came into school as a biology major, thinking I would go into general pediatrics after attending medical school.  I had always thought psychology was interesting, but had never taken a class in it before.  I ended up taking Intro to Psychology my first semester, and was absolutely fascinated by it.


Us: Whats your favourite psychology fact/research study?

Corrine: I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite fact but the most interesting and so important is: 1/4 girls are sexually abused and 1/6 boys. This does not include abuse that was not reported so the numbers could be higher.  These numbers are astounding. It is imperative to keep our children safe and to educate them about telling and telling! Favorite, interesting research study: Michael Gazzanigga’s research on split brain patients.

Us: Do you regret choosing psychology? If so, why, if not, why not?

Corrine: Absolutely not. It is so interesting. Research is constantly building in each and every area. We know so little of the brain and the mind and behavior. We need to continue this study and help those who suffer from mental health disorders.


Let us know what you think in the comments, and I hope this is helpful! We’ll be back next week with another new interview with a psychology student.



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