Like many high school seniors, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to major in at the beginning of the school year. I already had my college picked out, but there still seemed to be a world of possibilities ahead of me. Did I want to become an engineer like my middle school dreams dictated? If so, did I wanted to enter mechanical engineering, plastics engineering or a different type altogether? Should I major in packaging like I had briefly considered during junior year? Was studying economics my chosen destiny? After much deliberation, I finally decided on the major that would make me the happiest instead of with the most money in my pockets: psychology.
My announcement over choosing psychology as my declared major was met with mixed reactions. Family members seemed happy that I had finally chosen something to study during my next four years of schooling; others, however, were more hesitant. I’ve heard so many misconceptions in conversations about my future like: “you won’t be able to find a job after college” and “psychology is a major for those who don’t know what they want to major in.” While this may be true of some people, it certainly isn’t true for me.
I chose psychology for a variety of reasons. Firstly, my official study path is a major in Psychology with a minor in Sociology and a concentration in Counseling. You heard it right, folks! Counseling. Psychology is merely the first stepping stone in my journey of upper level education. After graduating from my undergraduate, I plan to immediately enroll in graduate school for School Counseling or School Psychology. This will ultimately lead me to becoming a high school counselor (aka, a guidance counselor) or a school psychologist for students with mental illnesses. In case you weren’t following all those job titles, let me sum it up for you: majoring in psychology allows me to help others. I have strived to always help others throughout the entirety of my life, and I want to continue doing that through my career. I would not be able to help the future students of America without the help of psychology.
In addition, psychology has always been an interest of mine. If you don’t love your major, what are you doing with your life? The entire point of going to college, studying our butts off and earning a diploma is to get a job that we love for the rest of our lives. Counseling is a direct field of psychology, which allows me to not only help others, but also allows me to continue learning about the subject I love day in and day out. Psychology certainly isn’t a major for those who don’t know what they want to major in. In fact, it’s a major for those who absolutely know what they want to do with their futures.
In addition, there a few other reasons psychology is a great major. For starters, people think that psychology is merely “common sense." The people who claim this have obviously never taken an introductory psychology class, nonetheless any of the complicated sciences of psychology that stretch far beyond that. The human mind does amazing things that span so much farther than simple common sense, and studying psychology allows you to unlock all that knowledge. Secondly, studying psych makes someone more self-aware of their own behavior because they are asked to study the broad behaviors of the human population. Becoming self-aware of oneself and one's actions can create improvements in one’s life because you can demonstrate the capacity to change, manage difficult situations around you and understand why you are doing something. Thirdly, psychology is a science! Many claim that it is an art, but, once again, these people have clearly never taken an introductory psych class if they are making such claims. Psychology helps students collect and interpret data, using both math and science, in a real life setting. In addition, psych majors can help predict future behaviors by looking at past behaviors of the human race. No, this isn’t ESP (which you’ll come to find out doesn’t exist if you take an intro psych class during your freshman year of college). This is science.
To sum up, psychology is a legitimate major. Psychology opens doors to new opportunities to help others in ways that don’t seem possible. For myself personally, it opens the path towards becoming a school counselor or school psychologist, but there are so many more paths that those majoring in psychology can take. This major isn’t a course of study for those who are undecided or don’t know what they want to do with their life: it’s for those innovative individuals who know exactly what they want to do with their futures. Psychology isn’t merely common sense! It’s complex and deep, just like any other human or social science. Psych makes students more self-aware through a variety of methods. Also, psychology helps to enhance student’s other subjects such as math and science.
Next time someone tells you that they’re majoring in psychology, don’t pull out the classic one-liners like “psychology is an art” or “you can’t do anything with a psychology degree.” Instead, take a step back and realize that this person has chosen to make an impact on one of the most amazing scientific fields to ever exist. Realize that this person has chosen to change the world for the better. Realize that this person is making an impact on the future.
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