From the time that I have been a young teenager, I have been interested in how the mind works, especially in young people. School has always been an area where I have excelled. Yet, for many students, this is not always that case. I discovered this in my middle school years, as I watched some of my friends struggle with school.
I knew that my friends were smart, but one of my friends in particular always had a hard time taking tests. Yet, the thing that was so amazing is that he knew the answers better than I did. When we studied together, he could recite all of the facts on any subject. However, when it was time to take the test, he would perform poorly. This continued for a while, his confidence dipping quite a bit. When he received his tests, he always seemed sad and down. Fortunately, he started getting extra help.
I remember him also saying that he had to take a bunch of weird tests. The school psychologist administered these tests to him. Eventually, my friend was diagnosed with a learning disability. However, knowing this information helped him to perform better academically. Within a few weeks, my friend was back to his old happy self. At that point, I understood the power of psychology. I knew that I wanted to somehow be a part of it, so I could help children in need. School psychologists are needed to diagnose learning and developmental disabilities, such as Autism, Auditory Processing Impairment, and identify students who need additional special education services.
However, I also realize that students have more than just academic problems. Many of these students come from broken homes. The divorce rate is about 50%. Domestic violence, as well as sexual, physical, and mental abuse also takes place in many homes. These situations often affect kids in a negative way, these young people acting out, turning to drugs or alcohol, and not performing well in school. A school psychologist can help these students deal with a difficult home life and connect families to the proper resources, so that students can get the proper treatment. Counseling is often crucial in these cases. Without intervention on behalf of the school psychologist, students may not get the help that they need to improve their lives.
Bullying is another problem that has affected students in schools. With the increased popularity of social media websites, such as Facebook and Twitter, this has created more avenues for students to bully one another. This has resulted in depression, isolation, and in some cases suicide. Many LGBT students have been bullied about their sexual orientation and have killed themselves. As a school psychologist, I feel that I can help to create positive change by helping to revamp bullying policies in schools, counseling victims and perpetrators of bullying, as well as designing special in-services and conferences that educate students on bullying.
The amount of school shootings in high schools and colleges has risen dramatically in the past decade. I feel that this is partly due to problems at home and in the school environment. Since many perpetrators are mentally ill, have been bullied, isolated, or come from abusive or violent homes, the school psychologist can play a great role in making schools safer. Whether it is noticing students who seem troubled, depressed, suicidal, and angry or talking with students who are mentally ill and not adjusting well to things, preventative actions can be taken to promote school safety. This can help students become productive healthy members of society that have much to offer to the world, versus becoming school shooters with no hope of a better future, as they take out their rage on other people.
As you see, being a school psychologist is an important job that can create much positive change, which is why I want to pursue this career.