What I’ve Learned from Majoring in Psychology: Real Students’ Stories
This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by two psychology majors, Elysia and Kristen, in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info.
If you’re interested in studying the human brain and behavior to learn why people act the way they do, psychology could be an ideal fit for you. You may learn more than you thought that you would as you study the subject. In this article, two psychology majors explain how this field has helped them grow as people and why they care so much about the discipline.
I won’t say that I’m a master of the human mind or anything like that, but I do think I have a bit more knowledge than most other people. I’ve gained a deeper understanding of humans and why they think and behave the way that they do. It’s helpful when I interact with others—I can tell what they’re feeling much more easily.
Personally, I suffer from anxiety. I’ve always dealt with it, so I wanted to understand why it’s always been with me and how I can manage it better. The courses that I’ve taken and the knowledge that I’ve gained have all helped me with this.
When I first entered college, I didn’t have the confidence to sit in a Zoom meeting or a class discussion and contribute. Now, I’m a much calmer, more collected person.
I also enjoy the subject quite a bit, so that helps in the learning process. It’s good to study something that you care about. I wouldn’t say that it’s an easy subject, but I think that it makes for a more relaxed college experience than if I was studying engineering, for example. I don’t feel like I have to study all the time, and that’s good; I wouldn’t want to grind myself down like that. Studying psychology has made me understand these things about myself, and I love that.
The first takeaway I have about studying psychology is that I don’t know everything and I can’t be fully sure of anything. The more you learn, the more you realize how much there is to learn. I’ve found peace in the uncertainty. I can pursue the answers that I want, but I can also be okay with the fact that there aren’t concrete answers to everything. I value this approach. The more that I learn, the more questions I have.
A second takeaway is that I can look at things from multiple perspectives. It’s easy to view the world from your own lens, using your own experiences. I think that studying psychology has taught me to value the experiences of the people around me. I’ve learned more about the viewpoints of people with different identities who come from different backgrounds. I understand that there is so much beyond my own narrow perspective, so I now know to look for those new avenues and embrace them.
The third point is that I’ve developed and deepened my empathy and compassion. I’ve learned more about what other people go through and the different lifestyles that they lead. I think that psychology teaches you to be more cognizant of what other people endure.
I wouldn’t say that I don’t regret anything about majoring in psychology. At my school, I needed to do research to graduate with honors, and since that isn’t my strong suit, I didn’t go down that path.
I wasn’t super interested in research, and at most schools, research plays an important role in the psychology department. If that’s not something that you want to do, it can be a little more difficult to navigate the major. You can still work hard in the subject, but you might have fewer options to explore than those who do want to do research.
I think that people have a certain view of psychology that isn’t quite true, and that can get a little frustrating to deal with. Nonmajors think that it’s sort of a soft subject and that we don’t do much work or studying. I study frequently—I have a large amount of reading to do and material to learn. The subject isn’t as complex as engineering or mathematics, but it’s just as important and fulfilling as those majors.
It can also be hard to know exactly what you’ll do after graduation. There’s no set career path when you major in psychology. There are many options, which might be overwhelming. Dealing with uncertainty right out of college or right before graduating college isn’t fun. But you can learn to embrace not knowing which path you’re going to take.
My favorite thing about studying psychology is that I’m a much happier person than I was before I entered college because I better understand myself and other people.
I pointed out a few of the things that you learn when studying psychology, as well as a few of the ways that you can grow. I have come to value all my coursework and what I’ve learned. I’m passionate about the subject, even if I don’t have a clear path laid out after college or a clear understanding of what I’m going to do going forward. Learning everything that I’ve learned has brought me a great deal of happiness, and I don’t think that I would have all of that if I hadn’t majored in psychology.