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Learn The Power of Saying "YES" to Yourself!


Today's guest blogger is Nicollette Balassanian, M.A., who is an active mental health advocate and aspiring professor. Having completed her Master's in Psychology from Pepperdine GSEP, she strives to support, counsel, and encourage all students.

As a newly graduated master’s student, I did as most with a set plan and career path do (after some well-earned R&R of course!) … I started planning my next move, which, for me, is a doctoral program.


Getting a doctorate has been a part of my educational journey that has always felt lifetimes away but is now just the next box to check off on my “To-Do” list.

Like with most important life decisions, I began to do my research and, of course, overthink.


  • Do I pursue a PsyD or a Ph.D.?

  • Which option is more closely aligned with my long-term goals?

  • Most of the programs are incredibly competitive to get into, what if I don’t get accepted?

  • Should I even apply, or should I settle for something else?

I picked up the phone and quickly texted a friend my flight of thoughts and concerns.

“If I get accepted for Fall 2021, I’ll be 35 by the time I finish my degree!”

We both congregated in a sea of “🤢” emojis. But then something in my mind told me to stop... I stopped and decided to think differently.


I picked up my phone again and wrote...


“You know what? These programs are competitive, and I could not get it, but I also could get in, so why say no to myself?” If I get accepted, then great! I’ll consider the program, and if it’s the right fit, I’m on my way to checking off my next big step to my goal career. If I don’t get accepted, no problem. I’ll plan for this outcome too, with internships, job opportunities, and ways to build my experience and CV to try again.

Tip for you:


Plan for your future, but also plan for it not to go as planned and know that that’s okay.

So I might be 35 by the time I have finished my degree. Whether I am in a doctoral program or not, time will still go by. In 6 years, I’ll be 35 regardless, so why not be 35 with another degree under my belt with the experience and education that will get me to my career goal? What is the alternative? 35 and settled for my “almost” dream job?


Your Takeaways:

  1. Don’t say “No” to yourself before you’ve allowed the chance of being told “Yes.”

  2. Always say “Yes” to yourself, be your own biggest advocate, and challenge yourself outside your comfort zone and into opportunities of growth.

  3. Next time you find yourself feeling overwhelmed with a sense of imposter syndrome or insecure in a moment of weakness, stop.

  4. Stop for a minute, and challenge yourself to think differently.

Time will remain continuous; how will you choose to spend yours?


Nicollette Balassanian

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Abraham Gutsioglou, Ph.D.

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