Psychology is a very interesting subject to explore and an even more interesting subject to major in. You feel as if you will one day conquer the world and help find cures to the many, many mental health issues that plague the world we live in. However, before you go about doing that, here are five things every psych major should know.
1. You will be told "That sounds boring" or "You'll never find work with that."
Trust me when I tell you this because I have heard this way too many times to count. For some reason, people think that psych majors are idiots for picking a major that isn't widely talked about and think that we will fail at finding work. Sorry to break it to you, but the psych field is projected to grow 20 percent from 2014 to 2024. So when someone tells you that you're not going to succeed within the psych field, throw that information at them and see what they say.
2. Stop self diagnosing yourself.
I know it can be hard to sit through one of your psych classes and not relate to some type of disease or mental health issue the professor discusses. It's alright if you can relate to them, but please do not say you have Schizophrenia or Bipolar disorder unless you have been properly tested and see a psychiatrist. It would just be like a medical student diagnosing themselves with cancer or anything else. If you think you have a mental health issue after a lecture, talk to your professor or a psychiatrist. They will be able to help deduce if you are suffering from an illness or not.
3. You will also be told "Psychology is easy."
I understand when people tell me this. Honestly, I do. I understand that I am not going to school to be a doctor or a lawyer. However, that does not mean that being a psych major isn't hard. It takes a lot of brain power and memory space to remember the many mental illnesses that are out there and the many studies and test that have been done in the psych world. So, please do not tell me the major I'm studying isn't hard. I'd like to see you explain to me in complete detail how Genie the wild child showed the psych community how important parental contact with children is in the child's early years and why Genie was never able to live a normal life (psych majors will understand).
4. You're going to be asked what you're going to be, you explain yourself, and people have no clue what you're talking about.
Nothing is more embarrassing to a college student then explaining what you're going to be once you graduate college and people giving you a blank stare and saying, "you're going to be what again?" This has happened to me several times which caused my face to become as red as a tomato. I've gotten to the point that when someone asks me what I'm planning on doing after college, I give them the most detailed reply I could ever give. While it may seem unnecessary to give that kind of reply, your self-esteem will thank you.
5. What you're doing is important.
The work you're doing is important! The hours of studying about Freud, Maslow, and the psychological explanation on why someone hates the color red are important! You crying at 2 a.m. because you want to switch majors, but still decide to stick with psychology is important! You are the future of the psychological world. You are the next generation who will help solve the riddle of mental illnesses and come up with new treatments and medication that will help millions of people around the world. All you need to do when you are doubting yourself is remember that eventually, you are going to make great changes to this world that will last a lifetime.
Being a psychology major has many great aspects to it. You are learning how the human brain works and how people fall victim to their mental illnesses. You learn many different ways they are treated in hopes that one day, you will be on the "front line" treating hundreds of people and helping them get their lives back. While this period of being in school can be rather boring and feels like it's being dragged on, I believe like other psych majors that I will be doing good in the future and that's what helps me deal with some of the things I have mentioned above. I hope remembering that helps you as well.