From Psychiatrist to Psychologist… Which Career Path Will I Choose?

After seriously re-evaluating my life last weekend, I made some major changes to my schedule for this new academic year. You see, it all started when I was on weekend duty and trapped in my room for three days straight with nothing to distract me from the thoughts in my head. I sat alone reviewing organic chemistry, working on my physics homework, picturing the year ahead.

Physics is complicated and I remember disliking the subject quite a bit when I was in high school. Out of curiosity, I looked up the Fall Academic Calendar to see when the last day to drop a class was. Turns out it was the NEXT day. Of course

Should I drop physics and physics lab? Could I drop them? Did I have enough time to devote to studying for them if I didn’t? What would dropping them mean for my potential future in medicine? I wouldn’t be able to apply to medical school on time anymore. My mind instantly filled with a ton of questions that I couldn’t answer on my own. Feeling slightly panicked, I began to call friends and family for advice.

The more I thought about my current path, the less it seemed to make sense. Why was I was trekking through all of these ridiculously hard science classes only in hopes of one day going to a medical school where I would spend years on top of years learning about a ton of subjects mostly irrelevant to the field of psychiatry… only to finally practice once I got around to my psychiatry rotation? Not to mention the immense amount of debt I would absorb during my early years of schooling.

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With alternative routes like master programs, PhDs, and PsyDs, there are so many alternative paths where I could spend my time learning about the very subject that fascinates me most: psychology. Plus, in graduate school, students get paid to conduct research. Even if student stipends are meager at best, it beats taking on the enormous debt of medical school.

Why this wasn’t more apparent to me to begin with is a question on its own.

  • When I was in the Business School, I studied marketing because I was fascinated by consumer behavior. My Management Skills class sparked my immense interest in Personality Psychology and made me want to become an Industrial Organizational Psychologist.
  • When I was Pre-Med, I knew the only medical profession I’d consider entering was Psychiatry and I wanted to major in Cell Biology & Neuroscience but I really only cared about the Neuroscience part.

Now I’ve decided to jump ship yet again. (I laugh because I’ve literally changed my major every single year but if there’s anything I learned while in the Business School, it’s to avoid the sunk cost fallacy and to no longer invest yourself in something after realizing it is no longer worth investing in.)

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Having said that, I logged onto the registration system the next day and dropped all of my classes. Yes. Every single one. Physics, organic chemistry, labs, all of it. Later that night, I logged back on and registered for a bunch of psychology classes instead.

And the best part: I regret nothing.

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If I change my mind again at some point, I can always go back and take the last few classes I need to apply to medical school. Until then, this is my new path. I can apply to graduate school to try to become a psychologist and make better use of my time that way. I think I’ll be happier like this. With the time I would have spent studying for my pre-med weed out classes, I can now devote myself to other things I am interested in like getting involved in a psychology research lab and further developing my hypnosis business. I think everything about this decision was in my best interest.

We will see where this year takes me.

12 thoughts

  1. Fellow INFJ here..I actually had quite the opposite experience. First year it was teaching, then psychology, and now, here I am in Business school studying marketing. I do feel that something is “missing” (I like your sunk cost metaphor), but now, it’s too late not to take the leap. I’m hope to integrate psychology into my profession as much as possible so that I can eventually work my way up to the top of a company. However, I found this post very insightful and it gave me something to think about.

    1. Hi Sarah! Thanks for your feedback. Love when fellow INFJs stop by to comment on my blog. I’m curious – why the switch from psychology to marketing? You say you hope to incorporate psychology into your career but something or another must have influenced your decision to pursue business instead. Why the switch?

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