Should I go into psychology or psychiatry? Help with choosing IB subjects!

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faucets
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Report Thread starter 7 months ago
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Hey guys, I'm a Y11 who needs to make their IB choices soon. My original plan was to do HL Bio, Psych and Eng LangLit, and SL Math AA, Chinese B and History, with the end goal studying Psychology at Cambridge (aim for the stars). For some context, I haven't done my mocks yet for IGCSEs but I currently have 9s/A*s in all my subjects - Bio, Chem, History, Geography, Maths (Further Pure), World Literature. We did English Language in Y10, and I got an A* (half our year got an A* so really not anything to boast about!) I should be getting an A* for Global Perspectives, only my teacher still hasn't given us the grade for our IRR... I couldn't do psychology because my school doesn't offer it.

I want to study psychology because it's pretty much the only subject I'm genuinely interested in and want to learn more about. My career goal is to eventually become a university professor because you can do research while teaching which I think can really help the world. However, my parents aren't too supportive of this goal - they've been pushing me to do Medicine because I do well in bio, chem and maths. They also think (and I do too) that too many people do degrees in psychology and there aren't many job opportunities, i.e. not many people become Psychologists. It also takes a while to get a PhD, most people become lecturers first (who have shaky contracts) and a lot of university professors are underpaid.

I've considered becoming a psychiatrist, which I feel I could help people in a more profound way (if I don't end up becoming a university professor) as psychologists can't prescribe medicine for their patients/clients. I'd really love to just skip med school, take Psychology instead and become a psychiatrist. However, the world doesn't WORK LIKE THAT > I don't really enjoy chemistry and the prospect of taking it HL at IB does not sound fun. I know they tell you basically everything you've learnt at IGCSE level is a lie, which doesn't seem great either. Then med school for 6 years also seems challenging and since I'm not as interested in medicine wouldn't it be a drag, compared to a degree that I would actively enjoy? Another con w/ studying med would be it essentially limits you to working where you've studied. HOWEVER, I'm well aware that suffering for 8 years (IB + med school, I think psychiatrist residency would start afterwards?) is better than being underpaid or unemployed for much longer after graduating from university. It's my shorter but immediate future vs my much later but longer future.

ANYWAY, If I do decide to go into med then psychiatry, obviously I have to do Chem HL. I was thinking HL Bio, Chem and Psych, with SL Eng Langlit, Math AA and Chinese B - so I still have a year-ish to decide on which job I should go for. However, it would be such a shame to go into psychology and forcing myself through Chem while I could've enjoyed History. And if I do decide to go into psychology, then a lot of unis prefer Math AA HL (was leaning more towards not doing it HL though because I don't enjoy maths), meaning chem would've been a waste of time and an HL subject.

SORRY FOR MAKING YOU ALL READ THIS! IF ANYBODY HAS ANY OPINIONS AT ALL PLEASE PLEASE TELL ME<3
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faucets
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Report Thread starter 7 months ago
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right also i forgot to mention psychiatrists earn A LOT MORE than psychologists, and I think university professors too. i know money shouldn't play a factor in determining your job but really...
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Tolgash
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HL chemistry isn't too different from AL chemistry, which I took. I wasn't fond of it at all. Unless you're passionate about the subject and intend to greatly apply yourself, or you have an aptitude for it, you will likely find this subject rather difficult. I achieved a B (i.e. a grade 5 in the IBDP) in the end, but I required a lot of assistance and time to do so. It is slightly rewarding when I think about it, but a small part of me does sometimes ask myself whether it was truly worth it. I learnt a valuable lesson from that experience: you should take a subject because you want to, not because you other people will be pleased with your decision. If you heed this advice, you'll probably thank yourself a few years down the line.

I knew an IB pupil who is now studying medicine at Leeds, and they struggled to achieve her 6 in HL chemistry. It seemed like they had quite a stressful time.

You should also remember that medical schools are competitive, and their degrees are very challenging. It takes so many years of gruelling lucubration to become a medical practitioner. Do you think you could withstand the constant, intense pressure for that long?

From my experience, it's better to do something you love.
Last edited by Tolgash; 7 months ago
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