Hi, I was wondering what motivated you to choose psychology as a major. I’m thinking about majoring in it as well, but am not entirely sure if it’s for me. I like learning about the mind, behaviors, etc., but at the same time I’m worried about the science aspect of it. What would you consider the hardest subjects you’ve covered? I’m generally an anxious person but lately I’ve been trying to make positive steps towards my wellness. I think learning psychology could also help me learn a lot about myself. Would you mind sharing some things you’ve gained by being a psychology major?
The first Psychology class I ever took was in High School – which was pretty cool, in retrospect. How many High Schools offer classes like Psychology? Maybe a lot, I don’t know. But I hated it. It was a horrible class. The teacher droned on and sounded more like a stereotype of what Psychology should be than Psychology itself. For whatever reason I felt like I knew I’d been missing out on the real thing, so I took a class my freshman year of college and it stuck. I changed my path from graphic design to Psychology, and started working towards my degree. I am more interested in the science side of it than I am the social side of it. I enjoy neuroscience and I enjoy the chemicals in the brain and learning about how they work. That said, I’ve had to go out of my way to take classes that have an emphasis in this sort of thing. Most Psychology courses will be more focused on the history of psychology, development, learning, behavior, emotion, etc. While there will be some basic brain anatomy that you’ll learn, a little bit about neurons and a little bit about neurotransmitters, most of the general Psychology courses I’ve taken have been pretty light in the science department. You should be able to create a schedule that is focused in the types of Psychology courses that appeal to you.
The hardest subject I took was probably Hormones & Behavior. Bits and pieces of it stuck, but every class was basically a magnified photo of the brain and a lecture that had more words in it I didn’t know than words I did know. It can be really complex when you get into the tiny little workings of things. Fascinating and wonderful, but complex. And completely unnecessary if it’s not the kind of Psychology you want to do. (That said, make sure you do have a good understanding of how the brain works even if it’s not down to the little bitty gears. It will help a lot.)
I would not recommend being a Psychology major as therapy. They will tell you this in class. At least… I got told it, about a million times. I think there has to be some other motivating goal. Like you want to become knowledgable about how people work and then help other people learn, or you want to study counseling and help improve the lives of little ones, or you want to understand more about the body and then become a research psychologist. If you haven’t started taking classes yet, it’s likely that you don’t know what your goal is. So by all means, take the classes, enjoy them, learn about yourself and how people work. I do feel like I function a lot better now after having taken a bajillion Psychology courses. I feel like I understand more about how I am the way that I am. But the courses won’t specifically help you as an individual. You want to then take what you learn and do extra contemplation. It’s a little hard to explain. For instance I took a class on perception which was wonderful – one of my best classes ever. I didn’t sit in class thinking about how it related to me and my life, but after the course ended I ended up seeing the world differently. It – like all of my other classes – changed me. So don’t go into the courses thinking of them as specific lessons for yourself, but instead thinking of Psychology as a practice as something that will help you grow and come into yourself. If that makes sense?