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To postpone my degree until I figure out what I want? Feeling very lost

(12 Posts)
Braneycat Wed 13-Mar-19 11:11:50

Sorry it's a long one.

I'm 28, with two young children. I've always wanted to be 'more' and I thought I wanted to be a councillor, but after doing some research found the training to be almost impossible financially, but did a 6 week level 1 course to get a feel of it and if i liked it, would find a way. Ive suffered with depression my whole life and found myself exhausted after every season so figured I should probably protect my mental health, as much as I want to help people.
So I turned to my current profession (healthcare) and thought about training as a nurse or a midwife, but it really didn't and doesn't excite me.
So now I'm doing a psychology degree (part time) and I am just hating the material. Looking through the career pathways, nothing is jumping out at me at all.
I have no hobbies and completely talentless. I'm feeling so lost and unhappy. I wanted to be in a solid career by 30 and that isn't happening now. My partner graduates next year but he's always known what he wants to do so he's quite hard to talk to about it, as he doesn't understand. I can't just quit my salaried, stable job to 'find myself' when I have two young children to help support.

Any advice? How did you know what you wanted to do (if you love your job) or did you just stumble upon it?

room32 Wed 13-Mar-19 21:42:29

I was like you and did a degree I didn't really enjoy. I would advise you to plough on if you can. it will give you more options long term. What I found was that finding a career I enjoyed was trial and error. You just have to start somewhere, try different things and follow your nose. The job I do now is niche and I didn't know it existed until I got into the field by accident.

Icantthinkofanameohno Thu 14-Mar-19 05:20:07

How far through the degree are you? Almost halfway? Try to stick it out. Less than halfway? Quit. Psychology is so interesting but very competitive and there aren't a huge amount of job opportunities. If you've struggled with your mental health I'd maybe steer away of jobs in this sector as I know many people can find it triggering (I know of three mental health nurses who ended up in a mental health facility as an inpatient - this is apparently surprisingly common).

In the meantime, why don't you try and volunteer? It might give you some ideas about what sort of thing you truly enjoy. If you search do-it.org you can type in your location and find heaps of volunteering opportunities. I found it really useful for discovering what sort of job I wanted to go into.

If you want a job which helps people could you try training as a social worker (I believe the government pays for the degree) or an occupational therapist - something which can be fulfilling but isn't too difficult to get into, and here is a demand for?

Divgirl2 Thu 14-Mar-19 06:35:17

Have you looked in to becoming an Occupational Therapist?

They work in mental health (as well as physical) and help people to find practical solutions to issues they have as a result of their MH issues. They also work in schools, prisons, businesses, charities, just about anywhere really.

The degree is funded too.

It might be a better fit for you than psychology (which is almost a useless degree unless you're doing it because you enjoy it because it's so over subscribed), and it's a less draining role than a counsellor. MH OTs run relaxation sessions, life skill sessions, they do home visits or work in hospitals (or a mix of both), you find them in psychiatric intensive care, acute wards, forensic hospitals, all the way down to the community. You should look in to it if you haven't already.

Skittlesss Thu 14-Mar-19 06:44:46

You’re 28, have 2 kids, work AND you’re doing a degree... no matter what the subject it’s going to look fab on your CV.

I agree with the others though - how far into it are you?

talktoo Thu 14-Mar-19 08:07:17

Do you realise that a degree in psychology does not make you a psychologist?

bookmum08 Thu 14-Mar-19 08:31:22

I am currently a sahm and before that I had a job - not a career. I totally understand the need to be 'more'. I have no desire to go back to the type of work I used to do but when I look at what I might want to do I have found costs of training, getting a qualification etc just too much. So I have focused on hobbies and being part of the PTA.
My main hobby has become a very important part of my life. I have been involved in events and shows connected to it. It is very much my 'thing' that people who know me think of when they think of me. When it's time to fill out the next census in a couple of years I am seriously thinking of putting that as what I 'do'.
I would step away from the degree for now and find some other things that are non work related to see what interests you. As an adult it is hard to suddenly think of a hobby to do but think back to what you did as a child. What did you enjoy then. Often something you haven't done or thought about from years is something you can do as an adult and sometimes it can lead to a job but it doesn't have to.

LIZS Thu 14-Mar-19 08:35:54

There is no predefined career pathway for Psychology. It is a very popular degree at the moment and can be applied in so many careers, often unrelated to the specific content. What did you originally plan to do afterwards?

PurpleWithRed Thu 14-Mar-19 08:42:32

It's really tough when you don't know what you want to do.

With two small children and a job my feeling is that a degree course you aren't enjoying is never going to get the priority it needs. My advice would be delay and look into a completely different set of subjects like business, languages, teaching - or some of the quirkier healthcare roles like ODP or pathology, or animal health. It may be that you'd be happier moving in a completely different direction. And giving yourself extra time will mean the children are a little older and parenting becomes gradually easier (well, challenging in slightly less time consuming ways).

SnowsInWater Thu 14-Mar-19 09:08:09

Psychology is a good first degree to have, it is very versatile. I once got a job in a theatre purely because the guy hiring was interested in the fact I had studied psych and more recently (many years later) got accepted on a professional training course at work only because my degree ticked one of the pre-requisites box. However, as others have said if you closer to the beginning than the end maybe have a think about changing to a subject you find more interesting.

WhenTheDragonsCame Thu 14-Mar-19 14:09:40

Divgirl2 the occupational therapy degree is no longer funded. You get a tuition fee loan and a maintenance loan the same as most other degrees.

FizzyGreenWater Thu 14-Mar-19 14:39:00

There are two ways to look at this - that it's a brilliant idea to do an open-ended degree like psychology if you don't know where you want to go as it doesn't funnel you into a career. Or, that it's not a great move to start an open-ended degree (and use up loan entitlements etc.) when you are really looking for a way into a career.

Unless you are into your third year of this degree, I would look at your options to move sideways. One truth is that you are going to do less well than you could if you are battling to stay engaged with the material. That's a waste!

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