This month, we feature UNCG Psychology Alumna Sophia Cross, who graduated in December, 2020. Sophia’s Honors thesis, Borderline Personality Disorder and Perception of Friendship Quality (supervised by Dr. Rosemery Nelson-Gray) was awarded first place in UNCG’s Sciences and Professional Fields category. Her research has also been presented at a major conference in the field, the Southeastern Psychological Association, and she is currently writing up her findings for publication.

We caught up with Sophia to talk about her current and future career plans, lessons learned at the ‘G, and her adjustment to the Covid Climate. We thank her for sharing her thoughts with us; enjoy this interview!

Describe your current job/position and future plans.

I’m currently working as a Recovery Therapist/Case Managers for low-income adults with pervasive mental health disorders. I am still growing my caseload but will ultimately have 25-30 clients that I work with. I assist these clients with a variety of things; social skill development, independent living skills, accessing community resources (I.e., housing, food), etc. Really, whatever the client may need to reach more optimal mental health stability. I plan to pursue an advanced degree after spending some time learning in my current job position. I hope to get a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology or Counseling, I’m still figuring it out!

You were in the Psychology Honors program. What was your experience like in this program and what would you tell UNCG undergraduates about the value of the program?

The Psychology Honors program was a profound part of my undergraduate experience. Although I’m sad it was cut short due to Covid, I learned an unbelievable about while involved in the upper-level courses required for the Honors program. I was able to connect with like-minded classmates, learn from incredible professors, and build my CV. The program pushes you to gain more knowledge about yourself and your career aspirations. It’s not easy, but it’s so worth it! 

(How) have your psychology skills been useful to you in the real world?

Without my psychology skills I most definitely would not have the job I do now! Although I am still learning about the real-world clinical application, the fundamentals I learned in the UNCG psychology program set me up for success. 

If you could go back and give “Freshperson Sophia” some advice about being an undergraduate at UNCG and getting through it all, what would you say to her?

Take a deep breath! It’s going to be hard but you will get through it and be a better version of yourself on the other side. Slow down and enjoy the moments because it will fly by, and you’ll miss it so much when it’s over. Have fun, push yourself, try new things, and never stop advocating for yourself. 

How has Covid affected your life in the past year? What have you done to adjust?

What a loaded question. I don’t think any of us are quite capable of understanding the full extend Covid has affected us yet. It’s been difficult for me like it has for most. I’ve had to let go of expectations, force myself to slow down, and it pushed me into the “real world” a bit quicker than expected. However, Covid has taught me a lot about what I am capable of overcoming. Whatever the obstacle is, keep pushing yourself and you can overcome it. 

What do you like to do in your spare time and/or for stress relief?

In my spare time I enjoy painting, hiking, knitting, and biking. In undergrad, I spent time with friends exploring Greensboro and eating fantastic food! 

Is there anything else you’d like to say about your experience in the psychology dept. at UNCG?

Take advantage of the faculty and staff, and all the resources available to you! Give everything a try at least once.