Dr. Friedline Took His Time

Dr. John Michael Friedline ran the long route to teaching psychology.

“It took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to do in school,” said Friedline, assistant professor of psychology for Piedmont College. “So I started off as a biology major … but probably about my third year, I decided to be a psychology major.”

In those indecisive three years, Friedline changed his mind about his major from biology to philosophy until he eventually reached psychology, the subject that he currently teaches. It took a few tries, but through the experience of different classes, he found his passion and the subject he wanted to study.

“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do in psychology, but then I took one class — a second-year class on brain and behavior that I really liked, and I took some primatology classes I really liked. I really liked the biological side of psychology,” he said. “I hadn’t really left biology; I just found another route to it.”

His alternate route to biology took Friedline on a detour through alcohol and drug counseling, a profession he took pride in for many years before he became a professor. However, his goal was always to teach, and after 25 years working in the position, Friedline set his sights on passing along his knowledge to students. Despite having a different long-term goal, Friedline enjoyed his time working in addiction counseling.

“I enjoyed doing it,” he said. “It’s stressful, ‘cause you’re working with people who are in crisis all the time, but it’s rewarding because you can walk them through the crisis, and they get better.”

Though his original plans were to “teach and do research with rats, not people,” Friedline enjoyed his position in counseling. Now overseeing a new major and teaching psychology courses at Piedmont College, it seems as though Friedline is finally where he wants to be in his career.

“It took me a long time between my Ph.D. and coming here — and teaching,” Friedline said. “I’ve been working as an alcohol and drug counselor for about 25 years, but this is what I’ve always wanted to do, was teach.”

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