For our third Ask A Mentor Spotlight feature, we have Lindsey Snaychuk.
Get to know a little more about Lindsey:
My name is Lindsey Snaychuk - I’ve always had a passion for academia. After finishing my honours degree in psychology at Vancouver Island University, I completed a graduate certificate in sexual health from the University of Alberta. I then did a clinical practicum at an inpatient treatment centre for addictions where I was also hired on as a researcher. Now, I am a graduate student in clinical psychology at Toronto Metropolitan University where I study in the Addictions and Mental Health Lab. I still maintain my position at the addictions treatment centre as a research coordinator where I work with practicum students and clinical staff to carry out outcomes studies. With a particular interest in studying compulsive sexual behaviour, I plan to specialize in forensic psychology and split my time between clinical practice and academia after finishing my PhD. When I’m not working, I enjoy exploring Toronto and discovering new food markets!
Thank you to everyone who submitted a question. Don't forget to check out our Instagram page (@girlsystem.mentor) as we will be posting some of the Q&A responses on our Instagram stories too (watch her day in the life video).
Questions and Answers
Question 1. I was wondering what sort of triggered your interest in psychology?
- This is always a tough one for me to answer. I remember being interested in psychology back before I even really understood what it was. I think ultimately I've always just been fascinated by why people think, feel, and act the way they do. I took a psychology class in high school and it was one of the only courses I was genuinely interested in, which is what prompted me to pursue it in university. There are so many neat psychological phenomena and endless areas of inquiry that there's really something for everyone!
Question 2. Do you have any advice for high school students choosing a major in post secondary school?
- This is a fantastic question. First, I would recommend attending recruitment events at the school(s) you're interested in. You'll get a sense of the type of programs they offer and be able to ask questions. Once you've narrowed it down more, you could meet with an academic advisor to figure out if the program is a good fit for your career goals. In some cases, including many bachelors programs, you're required to obtain a certain number of elective credits to graduate. This gives you the opportunity to explore different disciplines to figure out what you like. You can also always wait a year to declare your major, or even switch majors after a year if you've changed your mind. There's nothing wrong with taking some extra time to find the right fit!
Question 3. What does a day-in-the life look like for you ?
- It really depends on the day! One of the reasons I love academia is because it's relatively flexible and allows me to set my own schedule for the most part. I really value my sleep, so I will always sleep in as long as possible regardless of what I have planned. On days when I have a class, I usually spend a few hours in the lab before or after working on my research. I also spend one full day a week seeing clients at the clinic as part of my practicum, which involves psychological assessment and treatment. That usually leaves me with one day to schedule most of my meetings and catch up on my writing. I'm very fortunate to also have a lot of flexibility in my job, so I tend to fit my work hours in wherever I can throughout the week. On a day that I don't have anything formally scheduled, I get up around 10am, answer emails, catch up on small unfinished tasks, go to the gym, grab a chai/matcha latte, and then work on writing!
Question 4. Do you have any advice for high school students on how to manage the immense
workload in high school and university?
- As a graduate student, my workload is quite intense. So I can definitely relate. Something that has helped me is keeping a list of all of the tasks I have organized by lab work, class work, volunteer work, etc. I keep the list open on my computer at all times so I'm always aware of what needs to get finished. One tip I have (especially when you're feeling overwhelmed) is to pick whatever task is manageable at the time. If you're stuck on a big task like a paper, leave it for a while and do something quicker/easier. For example, some nights when I'm too exhausted to get my writing done, I'll answer some emails instead. At the university level, my best tip is to figure out how important your grades will be for your future plans and act accordingly. If you need to achieve first-class grades like I did to get into a grad program, I would strongly recommend considering lightening your course load and taking an extra semester or an extra year if possible. As someone who worked multiple part-time jobs while in undergrad, I found that obtaining A's was much more achievable when I was only taking 3-4 courses a semester instead of 5-6.