If I Ever Grow Up

Danifred is doing Friday Night Leftovers on Saturday, due to a small baby’s birthday.  (We will hear no arguments about the words “toddler” or “child” based on the fact that this small baby is turning two.  I do not accept that.) Which is good because I didn’t want to do them today anyway.  So there.

I’ve been giving some thought lately to what I’d like my career to be “when I grow up”, if I had my ideal wishes.  Most of you probably know that I was originally a teacher, both in preschool and in elementary school.  (I also was the office manager when we ran our family business, but I never really considered that a career, just a job.  Even though I am quite good at office managing.)  But, in an ideal world, I’d be a psychologist.

I majored in psychology in college.  (I actually minored in it too, since I took ALL the psychology courses that my college offered instead of declaring an official minor, so I had enough psychology credits for a major and a minor, but they didn’t give me one.  Mean college.  Apparently, you can’t do that.)  I wrote my thesis on psychology (“The Effects of Play Therapy in Adolescents”) and I got the award at graduation for Most Awesome Psychology Student of All Time in the Entire Universe.  Okay, maybe it wasn’t actually called that.  Maybe it was for “Outstanding Psychology Student” or something like that and was awarded to the student with the highest GPA.  Also, my gerbil was the only one of the entire research class that actually learned to press buttons.

I think the point of my last paragraph was that psychology is kind of my thing.

When I graduated, Matt and I got married (which was awesome) and I got a job.  Graduate school wasn’t really a viable option at the time and there isn’t a job for “psychologist.”  Obviously, there are therapists, but not really for those fresh out of college with no experience and no PhD.  So I went into teaching instead.  And I love teaching.  (For a good school, anyway, a rotten school makes everyone miserable.)

But, when Elizabeth and any other potentials (not pregnant, thanks for asking) grow up, I’d really like to go back to school for my doctorate.  But, and here’s the important part, I do not want to be a therapist.  If I got to be whatever I wanted, I’d be a research psychologist.  I want to put gerbils in Skinner boxes and stand behind one way mirrors with a clipboard.

Basically, this is me admitting that I don’t want to make any money but instead basically go to school for the rest of my life.

Psychology is so fascinating to me.  It feels like a scientist figuring out how something like a chemical reaction works, but instead, I get to figure out how your brain works.  How awesome is that?  I often have the urge to tell people things like “I know why you are doing that.”  (Especially children, my goodness, my urge to bend down and tell children things like “I know why you are throwing this fit” is almost overwhelming.)

If I were to specialize even further (and make even less money!), I’d specialize in normal psychology.  I want to study how average children develop and how average adults behave.  (And average lab rats too, of course, we can’t ignore the average lab rats.)  Abnormal psychology is fascinating too, but my passion is for the run of the mill behavior.

In the meantime, my friends just have to put up with email rants about things like negative reinforcement and positive punishment.  And I analyze the behavior of every toddler at story time.