Why I Chose To Study Psychology
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

Why I Chose To Study Psychology

Helping people applies to most majors, so what's so special about this one?

Why I Chose To Study Psychology

As a psychology major, I am often curious as to why people behave the way they do. That makes sense, right? I mean psychology is the scientific study of the human mind and behavior, so why would I study it if I weren’t curious? My initial decision to major in psychology was rationalized with the idea that I could use my degree to help people, but after further consideration I came to a pretty mind-opening realization: Can’t you say that about a lot of majors? Think about it, why do people study education? To teach people. Medicine? To heal people. Political Science? To improve the world.

I realized I wasn’t studying psychology to understand why people behave the way they do; rather, I subconsciously wanted to understand myself. After freaking out at my selfishness, panicking about my future, and finally accepting that I am studying what I love, I did what I do best and tried to figure out why I made the decision I did.

My friends suggested it was just my personality, but what does that even mean? How can you measure personality? I’ve been told by some that I’m Type A, others think that is crazy and say I’m 100% Type B. How was I supposed to figure out how I made my decision to pursue this major when I couldn’t even figure out what my own characteristics were? After extensive research on personalities, reading pseudoscience, online tests, and trying to implicitly recognize what exactly makes me, me, I finally decided to take a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

For those of you who don’t know what an MBTI is, it’s an assessment that measures your psychological preferences on how you perceive the world and make decisions. It then uses those preferences to create your personality type. There are 16 possible personalities based on this test that are made up of four dichotomies to fully capture who you are as an individual. I’m not going to go into specifics regarding the four preferences or individual types (if you are curious, Google the test and you can read all about it), but I am going to tell you my results (spoiler: I’m an INFJ) and hopefully along the way I will be able to solve the mystery of why I chose to pursue a degree in psychology.

I’m going to preface this by saying that I was very skeptical whilst reading my results and tried to take everything with a grain of salt. I don’t necessarily trust overgeneralized personality readings. I typically feel like I’m reading my horoscope, you know the ones that are just broad enough to apply to pretty much everyone? Surprisingly though, I do agree with a lot of what the test said about me, and I do think it helped me recognize why I made the “selfish” decision to study psychology.

INFJ stands for Introversion, iNtuition, Feeling, and Judging. People who fall under this personality type recharge and get their energy while they are alone. We make decisions based on thinking things through while also seeing the big picture, and are concerned with morality and people’s emotions on certain issues. Finally, we are either extremely decisive (which I’m not) or prefer to have everything planned (me to a T).

Being able to think idealistically and morally while also planning ahead gives INFJs the ability to take clear steps to achieve their ultimate goals. With this unique combination of traits, INFJs feel the need to help others and have the burning desire to find the root of all issues. After reading through these preferences I thought back to my initial reasoning behind choosing psychology, but realized that I already rationalized that my pure intention wasn’t actually to help people, so what gives? I thought this test was supposed to give me answers, not leave me more confused.

It turns out that another key quality in INFJs is that we sometimes focus so much of our energy on trying to resolve other people’s issues and inequities that we forget to take care of ourselves. We stress about problems and our future but are also extremely sensitive (I guess that’s the reason I freaked out over my “selfish” motives). After further consideration I think I figured out the answer to my internal quarrels. I study psychology to understand myself because by understanding who I am and being able to both comprehend and label my emotions, I am able to better understand the actions of others. I know what rage feels like and how I would react to it, and I also know what love feels like and the things it can make someone do. Studying psychology has given me the ability to understand the science behind my actions and behaviors, thus giving me the capacity to help others solve their problems by putting me in their shoes. I am by no means saying that I could possibly feel someone’s emotions in their entirety, but I am saying that by recognizing specific behavior, patterns, and emotions that I experience, I am able to empathize and help solve someone else’s issues as if they were my own.

I study what I love. I love understanding. I love being able to see things through a variety of lenses and I love finding solutions, but let’s be honest here, this article wasn’t about my major, what being an INFJ means, or what a personality test can say about your degree or life. This article was me getting to the root of my decision -- a clear sign of a true INFJ -- and most importantly, a clear illustration of who I am, with or without a label.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Slavery Was NOT Abolished

Jeevti from Pakistan would like to tell you so herself.


Unfortunately, at this time of year, we tend to overlook how incredibly blessed we are. We live in a free world, where we should not have to fear being penalized for our gender, sexual orientation, beliefs, or values. This is a fact we take for granted; in many other countries, simply being born female makes you an immediate target.

Keep Reading... Show less
Melisa Im

My Ethnicity

Hispanic is not a race... it’s an ethnicity. The term Hispanic describes a group of people whose common thread is language and/or culture. I’m a Hispanic woman born in Argentina to Korean parents. I self-identify as Hispanic/Latina and my personal experiences can’t be summarized by the color of my skin or the languages on my tongue. That is because every single person in the universe has a unique experience. Whether someone labels me as Korean or Argentine or American, that will never change my experiences as a Spanish speaker, immigrant, child of divorced parents, Californian, college graduate (Go Bears!), omnivore, writer, or any other label I choose for myself.

Keep Reading... Show less

When In Nashville

Here's some things you could do.

Kaitlyn Wells

I have had the opportunity to visit so many places in my lifetime, and recently one of those places was Nashville, Tennessee. There is so much to do and see in Nashville but here are some of my favorites that I would highly recommend.

Keep Reading... Show less
Your Work Week As Told By Michael Scott And Stanley Hudson

"The Office" is basically the best American TV show created in the past 15 years (you can fight me on this). And through all its hilarity and cringe-worthy "that would never happen in real life" moments, the show really does have a lot of relatable themes, as can be seen by the little compilation I put together of Michael Scott and Stanley Hudson.

Keep Reading... Show less
October Is Overrated, Let's Just Accept This Fact

I have never liked the month of October. I like the fall weather and the beginning of wearing sweaters in the crisp fall air, but I never associated this with the month of October.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments