The difficult road I’ve travelled over the past few years has taught me the invaluable virtue of patience and unyielding diligence. It has brought clarity and direction to my life as far as personal growth and my vocational aspiration. I am endlessly inspired by one of my favorite quotes, “Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved” — Helen Keller (1880-1968).
I struggled during my undergraduate years through the tragic loss of many loved ones in my life due to fatal car accidents and suicide. The final and most devastating blow was the slow and agonizing decline of my younger sister’s health which began while I was still in undergraduate school. I continued working towards my degree using it as an escape at times, but still I wasn’t able to focus on my grades as much as a should. I quickly learned, that there is no escape from the loss of close family, from having a little sister, your only sister, ripped from existence. She passed away a year after I graduated with my B.A. in Psychology from St. Mary’s Honors College of MD and I took time off before pursuing further education. I worked tirelessly to assemble the scattered pieces of my life and persevere; to create a life that consisted of more than just surviving, but one that was filled with substance, meaning, and goals.
When my sister died it took me a long time to get back on my feet and mentally realign myself with my goals; it was a time of reflection and growth. During the three years off I took after graduating from St. Mary’s Honors College of MD, I worked as a customer service representative, a full time nanny, and an accounts analyst at a logistics company. If there is one thing I learned from these jobs it’s that there is nothing worse than working in an environment that is not particularly challenging or inspiring. My time off allowed for my stalled motivational engine to reignite with gusto and thrust me forward in pursuit of fulfilling my dream to be a social psychologist and making my life matter.
Growing up in a home with two parents sporting the title of ‘Dr. Freund’ never left any doubt in my mind, even as a young child, that I wanted to one day obtain a Ph.D. I did not discover my passion for psychology until I went to college but once it took hold there was no looking back. Social Psychology is one of the most challenging fields of Psychology and this is perhaps what draws me to it, a need to understand the complex processes of human thoughts, emotions, decisions, and the elusive interactions between nature and nurture.
When considering the direction I wish my future research to take I am particularly drawn to in-group/out-group processes, prejudice and stereotypes, cross-cultural psychology, and the psychology of subcultures. More generally, I want to know how human behavior is influenced by the environment within which we find ourselves at any given moment, specifically,...