DANA LONG '10
What was your favorite memory from attending Puget Sound?
It's impossible to choose one! My favorite memories are those that involved bonding with friends. I loved being an RA my sophomore year, a Passages leader my senior year, and eating all of the countless meals with friends in the sub. That quality friend time diminishes after college!
What made you decide to be a Psychology major?
I thought for a while that I would become a Psychologist like my mom. Then, during my senior year, I realized that education was a better fit for me.
What are your future career goals?
My goal is to one day become a school administrator, maybe a principal or a behavior coach; someone who works with teachers so I can make a larger impact on students.
What do you wish you had done or known during college that might have been beneficial to your career development?
I wish I hadn't stressed out so much! I agonized over what I would do after college, and it all fell into place the way it was supposed to. I felt that UPS prepared me so well for the field I'm in now; I have no regrets! I'm grateful that I got involved in the campus community and made the most out of my education.
Do you have any specific Puget Sound advice for current students?
Get to know the professors and reach out to them often. Several of them were very influential in helping me figure out my path. Enjoy all that the Pacific Northwest has to offer! Stay involved in the community, but leave campus once in a while and take advantage of all of the natural beauty. I miss the Northwest every day!
What has been the hardest part about finding a career related to your major?
Narrowing down the choices was the hardest part about finding a career related to my field. I remember at one point during college having several different life plans that all sounded appealing. I felt I could do anything! Once I knew I wanted to teach, the path was very straightforward. Applying for jobs was stressful, but I got one right after grad school.
How did you get from being an undergrad to where you are now?
I took one year off to work and get experience, went to grad school, and then applied for jobs in my field. I am lucky to have found my calling- it made the path easy. The job itself is not easy, but I love what I do every day, and I am so grateful for my education from UPS (it was way richer and more influential than grad school in CO).
What advice would you offer current students regarding their future career/academic goals?
Seriously consider whether or not you want to go to grad school, and for how long. Becoming a psychologist takes at least 5-7 more years of rigorous schooling. If that appeals to you, prepare for it in undergrad as best as you can (do research, get an internship, etc.). If not, look realistically at the jobs that are available to Psych majors. Many are entry level without more schooling. Like most fields, graduate school of some kind is now required to have a "career" in that field. But, there are a variety of programs that will lead you to similar careers (for example, a master's in Psychology isn't as long as a Ph.D. program, but you can still become a therapist). Research different programs and think seriously about the pros and cons of each program. If you like working with kids, consider teaching! It utilizes so many psychological skills.
What led you to the path that you're on now? Was there any defining moment? Or was it more of a gradual process?
It was a gradual process that gained a lot of speed towards the end of my senior year. I took one of the prerequisite classes for the MAT program and discovered that my true passion was teaching (I think I had always known, but that class really fired up my passion). I started my Practicum senior year as an intern for a School Psychologist and found myself begging for opportunities to be in the classrooms. I didn't want to be testing kids in a small office- I wanted to be around lots of them at once! I also wrote my thesis about an educational topic, so I realized through all of that that becoming a teacher was the clearest path.
What was your first job after college?
I worked as a camp counselor for one summer, then an outdoor education instructor for the fall, and then a snowboard instructor for the winter! After that, I got serious and went back for my Masters of Arts in Teaching.
Any last comments that you think students should hear?
You are so lucky to be at UPS. Cherish it and take advantage of all that it has to offer. It will all work out!