How TV led her down the wrong career path


Sophie Rodriguez, Staff Writer

About 80 percent of college students in the United States change majors at least once, according to the National Center of Education Statistics.

As a result of some unrealistic television shows, NDP alum Katie Rodriguez became one of those statistics. Witnessing my older sister Katie choose her major based on a TV show, I developed recognized that TV-inspired careers were becoming a trend among teens and decided to investigate.

Going into college, she chose a psychology major. She claimed to have an end goal of becoming a psychiatrist to please her parents, but she “knew in the back of [her] mind that [she] did not really want to follow through with that career path.” She said that she chose this major because she was unsure of the field she wanted to pursue.

Psychology, her favorite class in high school, may have swayed her slightly, but her main influence came from watching “Criminal Minds.” She said that the show made her interested in mental disorders and that it “seemed so interesting to learn about and work with.”

Katie’s mother, Mrs. Kristine Rodriguez, believes that her interest in Criminal Minds had “about 100%” influence over her decision to major in psychology.  “Plus, kids like to talk about it, all reinforcing to each other that it is cool and interesting. I told her “don’t do it”,” Kristine said.

Katie’s father, Dr. Eric Rodriguez, added onto this, saying, “If the crowd is going one way, in general it’s best to run the other way. Unless, of course, they are running away from something dangerous.”

Halfway through her sophomore year, after over a year of half-hearted participation in psychology, Katie realized that she “did not truly love” what she was doing and that she “did not have a realistic plan” for her future. In retrospect, Katie realizes that the show did not portray the field accurately.

Kristine knew that it was an unlikely path for Katie because “she would have to go to grad school to make a career of it.”

The moment of realization took place for Katie when Kristine asked her daughter to “really imagine being a psychiatrist for the rest of her life.” Since she could not picture this life, she knew she needed to make a change.

Katie then decided to change her major to nursing. Similar to criminology, she has watched many medical shows such as “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scrubs.” However, having learned from her previous mistakes, she made sure that these shows did not influence her decision.

“If anything, they kind of scare me and make me nervous for becoming a nurse because of how high stress and difficult they make it seem,” Katie said about medical shows. She firmly stated that she does not believe they portray things accurately and that she thinks they are “over-dramatized.”

Katie learned from experience that TV shows can be misleading about the realities of different fields and that it is important to have a career plan to go along with any given major.