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Lessons Within the Pages: Anna Arbuckle

As a child, I spent most of my time with my head in a book, being transported to magical places filled with action and adventure. As an only child, I had to find things to do on my own, and reading quickly became my favorite (I mean can you blame me, reading is fun). For hours I would join the characters climbing up ladders to magic tree houses, hanging out at Camp Half-Blood, and coming up with strategic plans on how to defeat supernatural creatures with the Nephilim. I hope some of you got those references :)

As I grew up, my taste in book genres changed. I found myself picking up less adventure and fantasy, and instead gravitating towards the non-fiction and books known for their impact on the readers’ lives. This transition helped me fill out my self-knowledge and find what I valued. Something beautiful about reading is that every book changes how you think, forcing you to think in open-minded ways. One of the values that quickly grew for me was feminism. It’s hard to not notice that the books that I was reading focused on male characters and tended to be written by men. As I became aware of the concept of feminism, I turned towards books again to actively connect to this idea. Finding books that preached feminism translated smoothly into my life.

I found myself relating to the side characters more than the main characters. They were the people who were written into the story to be the helpers, guides, and friends. Stories show the raw side of what a “helper” should be because that is what they are written to do. These characters became some of the largest influences in my life. I used the experiences that they went through as examples for my own. I wanted to be that person to others in the real world. Ever since I’ve actively started to notice how I interact with people, I feel like I get more out of my time with people. I feel present and active in my life. When things feel like they are getting overwhelming, I turn towards my friends and center myself by helping them. Someone said that I should consider psychology as a major because of this trait, and that stuck with me.

Once I knew that majoring in psychology was the path for me, I searched for colleges that had something unique to offer their psychology students. Something that appealed to me at San Diego State was that I would be in the College of Sciences even though I would be getting a BA. This was ideal for me because I wanted to be exposed to both the humanities and sciences side of psychology. I love psychology because of this overlap. I find developmental psychology to be intriguing and I would find a lot of joy in working with children. I think part of the answer to fixing the future is to understand and help our next generations. This is something that would be fulfilling. On the other hand, I have been thinking about becoming a genetic counselor since my junior year of high school. This is a very different category of psychology but oh, how I would love to work with genetics.

Psychology is sometimes seen as that major for people who want to fix their problems. To me, I’ve seen this discipline as a gateway to becoming the best helper that I can be. The many facets of psychology are filled with jobs in which you get to help others. Therapists, counselors, teachers, researchers, businesspeople, as well as many more professions. For me, I’ve toggled between different things that I want to do after I graduate. I’ve got time but I know we all feel that pressure to know what we want to do. I want to take this opportunity to tell y’all to take a breath and remember that it’s completely okay to not know what you want to do. As late teenagers and young 20 somethings, thinking what we want to do at 30, no less 50, is sometimes daunting. Change is good and your degree you get here can take you many different places.

Through my time here at SDSU, I’ve learned the importance of having a community to lean on. You can’t do everything alone, even if you feel like you can. I promise things are so much easier if you have people to support you. A personal cheer squad of sorts. Someone once told me that you get out what you put in with people. Everyone is trying their best, my advice is to see what you can do for someone to make their day better. I feel like I’m finding a type of community within WSS that I didn’t realize I was missing. Throughout education, men’s voices seem to make more of an impact, and sometimes as a woman, it can feel like you get lost in the shuffle. Having women who understand your experience, uplift and listen to you, and want the best for you is an amazing feeling. This is one of my favorite things about this group.

I’m going to leave y’all with one of my favorite quotes by Toni Morrison. It consistently reminds me to be sure in myself and true to my nature. Being authentically yourself is never something to be overlooked.

“Definitions belong to the definer, not the defined”

Talk to y’all soon,


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