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I currently have about two months left in my current position and am back in the position of deciding what to do with my life. Well, I guess I never really left that position in the first place since the job I currently have is not even close to my dream job or what I studied in college. I have a BA in Religious Studies and am trying to decide what to get my Masters in. I keep going back and forth in my head between getting an MA and eventually a PhD in Religious Studies or Islamic Studies or getting an MSW.

I love Religion in general and I really love studying Islam (which is why I got a BA in Religious Studies). I read scholarly books on Islam quite frequently and I love learning and thinking about it. My husband thinks I should go to grad school for it. However, I am apprehensive about going to grad school in this field for a few reasons. The first is that I wonder if I am really prepared for it. Were my undergrad courses really rigorous enough to prepare me for grad school in this field? The second is the amount of time. If I went into this field I would want to teach at the university level which would require a PhD. I would need to get a MA first, especially so that I could become fluent in Arabic and a language like French. It would take about two years for the MA and who knows how long for the PhD. It just seems like it would take a long time and I would have to delay children for a longer time (I don't want to have children and try to finish a PhD either).

As for the MSW, it would take a couple of years to complete. With this degree, I would want to be a LMSW and work as a therapist. I'm very empathetic and I think I could do this job well. Additionally, there aren't many Muslim LMSWs but Muslims still have their fair share of mental health issues as well. I do think that many Muslims would be more willing to open up about their issues if they had a Muslim therapist to talk to, who could take their religion into account. MSWs are always employable so that wouldn't be an issue. I guess my main apprehension with this field is my happiness. I wonder if I would be truly happy and fulfilled or if I would be doing this for job security.

Right now, I cannot make up my mind and I hate being so indecisive (my P function is not helping me right now) when I need to be decisive. To my fellow INFP,s what would you do in this situation and how did you in general decide what to do with your life?
 

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FaithBW, some years back I was in a similar position to you. With interests in both religion and emotional/mental health (I wasn't always an agnostic), I pursued degrees in both, but ultimately chose to become a therapist, and did that for about 15 years. I'm preparing to transition to other things, but it was a decent first career for me.

I think you're right that some Muslims, like members of any other religious or ethnic group, would appreciate having a therapist of their faith. If your goal is getting into private practice, you'd probably feel less burdened by the day-to-day realities of being a therapist/counselor. Paperwork, staff meetings, rigid J supervisors, etc., can make working at an agency or clinic a disheartening experience for some INFPs.

But, of course, if you're passionate about teaching religious studies, that's another matter, and you may want to pursue that as a career. If, on the other hand, you're passionate about learning and thinking about religion (and not necessarily teaching it) you can always read/study these on your own time, or take courses on the side...while you pursue a career in counseling/therapy.

As always, in the end each of us must make these decisions for ourselves. Nobody knows your heart better than you do. I wish you good luck with it.
 

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However, I am apprehensive about going to grad school in this field for a few reasons. The first is that I wonder if I am really prepared for it. Were my undergrad courses really rigorous enough to prepare me for grad school in this field?
I don't feel that I have the wisdom or experience to advise you one way or the other, but please don't let this^ be a deciding factor! I can tell just from your writing that you are a very intelligent, driven person, and academia needs more women like you. If you are smart enough to get in, you are smart enough to do the work. Don't sell yourself short.
 
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