One of the first things people ask me when I meet them here at BYU is, “So what are you studying?”
Since I have answered this question approximately a lot of times, I have really refined my response.
“I’m in a graduate program called School Psychology,” I respond.
“Oh! Like a school counselor?!” is normally their reply.
“Yeah… kind of… well, no. Not really.”
School psychology is an emerging field within the educational world, which is why most people think it leads exclusively to school counseling. But that’s not what we are. School counselors help the entire student body with credits, registration, applying to college, and career exploration. School psychologists, on the other hand, tend to work more with students who are on the fringes of the student body – the bright boy who just can’t get the hang of reading and nobody can say why. The capable girl who stops participating in class and interacting with her friends when her parents divorce. The teenage boy who bullies students, skips class and cannot control his aggressive behavior. Through their combined knowledge of education and psychology, school psychologists help any child, grades K-12, who struggles academically, emotionally, socially, or otherwise. So how did I find my way into this ‘unknown’ field?
I started my college career with absolutely no intention of studying anything to do with education. I did NOT want to become a teacher or anything like it. I wanted to do something PRESTIGIOUS, and DIFFICULT, and IMPRESSIVE – a major that when I mentioned it, people would gasp and maybe have to find a chair to sit in as they composed themselves. I wanted to do something BIG – where I could leave my mark in the world. And for some reason, I had decided that becoming a teacher would not help me do that. But after major-hopping for about a year and a half, I somehow found myself majoring in education. It’s amazing how I could be so indifferent to something for so long, but come to be so passionate about it in just one year. In my mind, teaching became the most PRESTIGIOUS, and DIFFICULT, and IMPRESSIVE field. I was proud to tell people that I was in education, and if they didn’t gasp or grab a seat when I told them, I didn’t care one bit. I had found the place where I wanted to make my mark.
Through a stroke of luck – or maybe it was more than that – I stumbled upon school psychology after perusing through the Graduate Studies website for the umpteenth time. Pretty soon after learning about the school psychology program, I knew this was the way I wanted to make my mark not only in education, but in the world. I loved the idea of working with individual students, groups of students, teachers, parents, communities, and entire school systems to change it for the better. What a huge opportunity! Now that I am in BYU’s School Psychology Program, I am looking forward to the opportunity and responsibility that comes with taking on this career. Along with my amazing school psychology cohort, we are going to change the world in a BIG way!
If you want more information about what a school psychologist is, check out the National Association of School Psychologists website. And if you want to know about the school psychology program here at BYU, check it out here and watch this!
Hannah Faux is from Henderson, Nevada where she fell in love with the desert. She loves traveling and has been to the UK, Israel, Egypt, Spain, Germany, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Thailand and she has loved it all. She looks forward to being involved in improving the world of education wherever she goes!