Psychology alumni share wisdom

Psychology alumni from California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) held a panel discussion about how working in their field has been for them after graduation, and what current psychology students can expect from master’s degree and their field of work on Sept. 23.

Karla Matisas, a school psychologist in the Salinas Union high school district, spoke on the most challenging parts of transiting into an internship after finishing the program.

“The hardest part was actually transitioning,” Matisas said. “Knowing that I was on my own, and I had to make decisions that basically changed students’ lives and their families without much support.” 

Being hired during the pandemic, it was easy to feel alone navigating a new job wondering if she was making the right calls for the interests of the students. 

Matisas wasn’t the only feeling out of place after going into the field. 

Stephanie Rivas, school psychologist at Reeves Sunset middle school in the Central Valley, said that she didn’t feel too prepared after graduating from the program. 

“With this job, you’re going to have to learn along the way,” Rivas said. “You see the different domains we have to know and there’s just no way we can learn all of that in a three-year program.” 

While you may have the knowledge, you’ll never feel prepared going into it. Because you have that foundation, it makes it a little easier. 

For advice to first-year students in the graduate program, Rivas gave words of encouragement.

“You belong in the program,” Rivas said. 

Imposter syndrome is real and it still hasn’t gone away even for a professional like her. 

“It’s important not to question yourself and where you are at because you do belong there,” Rivas said. “Even if you don’t have the answers, you know how to find it.” 

For psychology students in graduate school looking to get an internship, Laura Quiroz from the Hollister school district recommends looking into job fairs. 

CSUMB offers great resources and variety with its job fairs. Additionally, undergraduate students can even look into shadowing a school psychologist. 

For those interested in jobs and internships relevant in the field, visit www.edjoin.org

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