Studying Psychology Is Much Harder Than You'd Think

Studying Psychology Is Much Harder Than You'd Think

But it's worth it to me.

The psychology program at my college requires that we take core classes in different areas of the field: Developmental and abnormal psychology, cognitive psychology, and social psychology. Theoretically, this gives us a decent background in all disciplines before we move on to graduate school or whatever unrelated job we take on. This summer I decided to take my third required class, in cross-cultural psychology, and I didn’t know what I was getting into. Professors often post their syllabi, or at least their basic outline for the class, ahead of time, but this particular professor didn’t. I walked in on my first day with no idea of what it was going to be like.

My professor began the class by pointing out that most clinicians will go on to see patients without ever taking a class in cross-cultural psychology, and he decided to devote the action-packed summer quarter to explaining to us why that’s a problem. Basically, the gist is this: When you have a therapist and a client from different cultural backgrounds, particularly if the therapist is from a more dominant cultural group than the client, the therapeutic relationship is impaired. And in research, which lately has become the guiding influence in the practice of psychology, cultural unawareness can produce evidence-based practice that only has an evidence basis for a small portion of the population.

All this is true and right and good, and it seems self-explanatory when you hear about it in a classroom setting. But when you’re confronted with the fact that, as a well-meaning person from a dominant cultural group, you might be uniquely unsuited to guide people from certain groups through the therapeutic process, it gets a bit harder to process. I see myself as a basically good person. I try to go out of my way to do the right thing, even if I feel like an idiot in the process. And to hear that even my best intentions can harm someone I want to help is a hard thing.

This class and this particular professor has had me on the defensive since day one, because I feel like at the same time as I’m being asked to fix my own biases towards other cultural groups, I’m being forced to accept biases about my own identities. I feel like I can’t become a good and compassionate clinician unless I let go of parts of my own identity, that I can’t use my own experiences to inform my interactions with future clients.

It hasn’t made me question my desire to be a clinical psychologist. It hasn’t made me think that I wouldn’t be good at it. But it has made me think that I need to use the next few years of my life to become stronger in my own identities, to not feel threatened every time someone fails to acknowledge my own culture and history. I’m a senior in college, and even if I went straight to graduate school to become a certified mental health counselor, I still have another two years before I’ll be seeing patients.

Cultural psychology hasn’t changed my worldview that drastically. But it has showed me what I need to do in order to succeed in my chosen career. It’s hard, it’s uncomfortable, and it doesn’t always leave me feeling warm and fuzzy – and that’s OK. Change isn’t supposed to be easy.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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You May Have Worn The Prom Dress With Him, But I Get To Wear The Wedding Dress

You had him in high school, but I get him for the rest of my life.

High school seems like the best time of your life when you are in it. You think that all of your friends will be with you until the end, and that you will end up with whoever you are dating your senior year. For very few, that might just be the case. For all others, that is far from true.

You thought that you would marry your boyfriend and you thought that everything would work out how you had always imagined. I don't blame you though. He's great. You wanted everything with him, but you were just not right for him.

I wish I could say that I am sorry it didn't work out for you, but I can't. I can't because he is mine now, and I get to cherish him forever. You didn't do that right, and you were not meant to be together. You will find someone too, but I am happy that you were not the one for him.

Sometimes I have issues with jealousy, and I hate that you got all of the high school stuff with him. You got to go to games and support him. It kills me that I couldn't be there for him because I know I would have actually been there wholeheartedly. I would have done it out of love, not as a popularity appearance.

I hate that you got to go to all of the school dances with him. He got to see you all dressed up and probably told you how great you looked. I'm sure you did look great. Prom dresses were always fun to pick out and so colorful. It was exciting to match colors with your date. I am sure you had fun choosing his matching tux to your dress.

I find myself getting jealous, but then I stop. I am getting to match his tux with our wedding colors. I got to go dress shopping in a sea of white, and he doesn't get to know one detail about that dress yet. He will get to see me walk down the aisle and then every day forever. I get to love him forever.

I try to not get jealous of all of the things you got with him because it is all in the past. You had your time, and now I get the wedding. You got to dress up in high school, but I get to dress up for my wedding with him. He may have put a corsage on your wrist, but he will be putting the wedding ring on my finger.

Cover Image Credit: Jessy Scott

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5 Things I Don't Know How To Do But Should've Learned Years Ago, As Told By The Kardashians

In my opinion, there should be college classes completely based on mastering these topics.


There are many things that I don't know how to do yet. These, however, are things that I am now realizing are things I maybe should have learned a long time ago. Things that if I knew anything about them, it would improve my life exponentially. Hopefully some of you feel the same and we can learn together.

1. How to cook chicken

Seems easy, but this is deceivingly difficult. No one tells you what type of chicken to get, and there are so many options. Like, do you get chicken breast or chicken cutlet or chicken tenders? Which way is the best way to cook it? Pan fry, bake, deep fry, poach, steam, etc! And how do you make it not taste like paper? What, like, spices do you put on it? In my last year of college I have made it my duty to learn how to make every type of chicken.

2. How to work a dishwasher

So, I know how to put the plates and silverware in, obviously. And I always clean them off before because I never trust the dishwasher soap to get everything off. How would it? And where exactly does the little dishwasher soap go? No one tells you where the leetle hole is that the soap bar goes. There's like three different holes in the door thing, and how are you supposed to know which one the soap goes in? Just guess and hope for the best? That's what I do.

3. How to pay your taxes??? Literally how

No matter who I ask, young or old, no one understands anything about taxes. I have been working since I was 17 and year after year when I ask my parents for help filing my taxes, they agree begrudgingly while squinting at the paper pointing at the little boxes with a "I think it's that one." I have never and will never understand anything to do with taxes, period. I will leave this to the professionals.

4. How to do anything with insurance, ever

Once again, wtf? Do the companies make these things impossible to understand on purpose? Like, all I want is to get my birth control from CVS and be done. Is that so hard? Why do I have to switch it to Walgreens (to whom I am NOT brand loyal, to, by the way) and then check if they cover my insurance? And WTF is a copay? And there's something that you pay before you get a copay? All I'm gonna say is that my mom tried to explain it to me once and it went in one ear and out the other.

5. How to arrange a cheese board

This is something that I feel shows you have truly made it at an adult. You have people over to your house and just throw together a lovely charcuterie board for your guests like its nothing. But what do you buy for it? Cheese, obviously. Meats? What types of cheese and meat? Grapes? Nuts? And how do you arrange it to look all pretty? Mark my words: when I can make a yummy and visually appealing cheese board, I've made it.

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