I am a college Professor. I teach mostly Psychology and also some counseling/Guidance type of classes designed to help students identify what they are good at and relating those skills to possible career goals.
How did you get into the field?
I started working in higher ed doing administrative support, but noticed that students would often come to me asking for help with other, big picture types of things. I was lucky enough to be in a position that allowed me to get my Masters degree for free, so I began to take classes towards my Masters in Mental Health Counseling so I could learn the "right" way to talk to these kids. I really found a a niche in this type of work, after kind of stumbling into it. After years on the administrative side of this, I decided to take the plunge and start teaching, and I absolutely love being in a classroom and helping students find their way.
Does your education background reflect what you do for work?
I earned an undergraduate degree in Studio Art, so a little different then counseling, but I think that the skills I learned there about being a creative problem solver definitely helps me in the work I do now, especially when students are very lost and can't figure a way out of their problems.
Give me three reasons why you like it?
I get to build my own schedule, work on my own terms, and I really feel like I make a difference
What would you consider the stress level of your current occupation (1-10, 10 being the highest)?
The semester definitely has high and low moments, but I have to say, with a toddler at home, coming to work feels a lot less stressful than chasing her around all day. I'd give it a 6.
If money was not an issue, would you still choose the same career path?
I would. Unfortunately there is little financial reward in teaching. Most people who get into this profession know that going in. If I could find another job that afforded me the same level of satisfaction for more money, I would think about making a change. But, I love what I do and the pay is OK. :)
What is the hardest part about your job?
Seeing students that are genuinely having a rough time, either financially or socially, and really not being able to do anything to help them. Or seeing someone with a ton of potential that is just being wasted by their poor attitude. It's hard to not want to slap them across the face and tell them that they have such great gifts that they are wasting. Also, beyond that, while having flexibility to work at your own pace, it can be pretty tricky to find a good work/life balance, but I thinks thats true with any job.
Did you always know this is the career path you wanted to take or were you diverted a few times?
Yes and No. I always wanted to be a college professor, but I always imagined I would be teaching Art. Once I started studying Psychology I really became hooked. I would love to have a gig that incorporates art and Psychology. In fact, I am writing a course now that deals with creativity and the subconscious....now I just have to find somewhere to teach it!