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A fork in my Highschool career!

Discussion in 'Psychiatry' started by Agriff, Apr 17, 2007.

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  1. Agriff

    Apr 16, 2007
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    Medical Student
    Ok, I know these forums are for confirmed med students and people already involved in medical careers, but I think this is the easist way I can get answers to some questions I have. The reason I call this a fork in my highschool career is that im a 17-year-old Junior starting to look at colleges, and I only have a rough idea of what I want to do, and the little I know has taken a long time to gather. Skip down to #8 if you want to cut to the chase.

    My thought process started like this:

    1. 7th grade- Our Home and Careers class was shown the occupational outloook handbook. The top earning careers were lawyers and doctors, and since the job market is flooded for lawyers, I naturally chose doctor to look into further.

    2. After looking more into medical professions, I saw that the mental health professions could earn upwards of $180,000 a year, and for a profession where I could call myself a doctor without contact with blood, infectious diseases, and risk of getting sued, not to mention accidentally killing someone, it looked pretty good. I liked the stereotypic image of a "psychologist" asking a patient on a couch how "he feels about that", and the I thought about it, the study of the mind and how people think seemed cool and interesting, and I had often pondered the same subject.

    3. 9th grade- A chance encounter with the subject of hypnosis and the idea of a subconscious mind perked my curiousity even more.

    4. After wandering into the about.com psychology forums to ask a work-related question about human behavior, I stayed a while and read up a bit on the subject, seeing the name "Sigmund Freud".

    5. 10th grade- While on a trip to Barnes and Noble to pickup an AP study guide, I saw on the same shelf an AP Psychology study guide, flipped through it, and saw something like "Psychologists still follow the main ideas of Sigmund Freud". A couple weeks later I picked up a book that was along the lines of Psychology for dummies, and realized that it sucked, taught almost nothing about the actual subject of Psychology, and focused on things like "tips for relieving stress".

    6. A couple months ago- A renewed thrist for information on the subject sent me back to Barnes and Noble (actually what did it was about 3 Freud references in the Departed) to find out what this Freud character is really about. I picked up the first book with the name Sigmund Freud on the cover- "Civilization and its Discontents". I read it twice to make sure I understood all of his thoughts and theories correctly.

    7. It was during this time that I really started to try to research the topic as much as possible. I found out that a psychiatrist is very different from a psychologist. Wheras the psychiatrist is what I was thinking of in the upper portion of #2, psychotherapists were more like the lower portion of #2, and made nowhere near as much money.

    8. About 2 weeks ago- I first start to look at what colleges im interested in. The problem is, before I visit a college, I want to know if there's any chance I'll go there, so I started using college search engines to pinpoint a nice college in NY, my homestate, for a nice weekend visit within proximity of my house. This becomes a problem when the engine asks you what major you're interested in, and there're 16 subcategories under the category "psychology", including psychology "general" and psychology "other"! Not to mention under the category "Health Professions" there's "Psychiatric Health Services Technician" and "Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy".

    This is probably starting to seem like some kid asking you to play guidence counselor, and it is. I come from a small public school in a small rural community, (my graduating class is about 125) and we don't have a lot of money to spend on guidence counseling, so basically you get a junior review, a senior review, she holds your hand through the college application process, and you're done.

    So I need direction some direction in my life. This post is in the psychiatrics thread because im leaning towards psychiatry. I can make it through med school on academics alone, but money is a problem. My family isn't poor but 8+years in tuition isn't a poor man's problem. That seems to eliminate my chances in clinical psychology because I need to make enough to pay off student loans. However, Psychiatry seems to be associated with pill pushing, and I don't really believe in treating mental health on medication alone, without talking, which pushes me more in the direction of psychotherapy.

    Some of my questions:

    Are psychiatrists more like prescription-writing psychologists that deal with people known to be sick, or people that just write out meds and do frequent checkups to monitor mental health?

    What major do you you suggest?

    Does major even matter that much as long as I meet med school reqs? (Im alienating a lot of colleges if I insist on being able to major in either psychology or psychiatry)

    (Sort of off topic) Does what college you go to premed matter that much in the long run?

    Thanks in advance and I hope I get some great feedback!
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