I only grow more certain that my intention to enroll in a Psy.D. program is the correct educational and professional choice as I continue to research my training options. I attended an open house at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology this morning, and during the discussion of the doctorate in clinical psychology program I began to feel something akin to elation. I was excited just hearing the faculty and current students discuss the program and the various concentration possibilities. I was supremely confident and motivated that I had found a degree I want to pursue… and then I attended the financial aid session.
I knew about the financial aid situation going into the event, but I deluded myself into thinking maybe a financial aid counselor might be able to point me toward resources I had not yet discovered. I am looking at medical school levels of debt without an MD pay check at the end of this academic path regardless of the program to which I might matriculate. I left the financial session with my elation hollowed out and replaced with dread and anger. I am not certain I could ever pay back the entirety of the loans I would have to take out even with scholarships, work study, and potential fellowships in the mix. I am still mulling the Ph.D. option, which has much greater funding potential, but that’s more time in school and focusing more on research than practice than I would like. Perhaps I should lower my sights and go for a masters degree in counseling psychology, but that’s not research oriented enough, and I worry I would get bored and still be in massive (just less so) debt. Maybe I’m just getting hung up on titles and hierarchy rather than on actionable skills and practice opportunities, but my heart is increasingly set and my mind driven toward earning a Psy.D. This is the closest I’ve felt to having a “calling” since my dreams of pursuing a Ph.D. in medieval history fizzled due to a lack of income potential and locale control, so I’m not really willing to just give up on this training.
There is one simple solution to this: Operation Sugar Daddy. So if you know of any wealthy gay men into nerdy, bearish guys, hook me up. I am essentially willing to whore myself out for school funding or at least just living expenses for the five years it would take me to earn my doctorate. I’m only partially joking, because otherwise I’ll most likely die before I am able to pay off my graduate school debt.