Psychology majors like myself know criticism based on our educational choices very well. Sadly, the professionals working in the psychology field do not recieve the credit they deserve. On top of that, the students who are currently working toward a degree in Psychology do not receive the credit they deserve either.
Instead, we are often met with disapproving glances and questions such as, "How will you find a job when you graduate?" I know that I speak for all psychology majors when I list these five things we are just tired of hearing after we tell you what we're majoring in.
1. "So, you're okay with not making a lot of money in your career?"
There are so many things you can do with a Psychology degree that the options are endless. Regardless of what you want to do with your degree, you're likely to start out at the bottom and work your way up. You gain experience and with that experience, your salary will eventually increase.
However, I wish that salary wasn't the first thing that people considered when choosing a major or career field. I should not have to explain to people that I chose my major because it's something that I'm passionate about. It is not because I think I can make a ton of money one day. I'm more concerned with loving what I do and feeling fulfilled throughout my life. The gratitude that I will receive in my job will trump any amount of money.
2. "Are you like psycho-analyzing me right now?"
Yes, as a matter of fact, there is a good chance I am psycho-analyzing you because it's like second nature to me. Sometimes I don't even realize that it's happening. I enjoy reading people and studying their behaviors, which is probably one of the major reasons why I chose to study psychology in the first place.
3. "I think I have ______ disorder. What do you think?"
I think that you should make a visit to see a mental health professional. Unfortunately, I'm not a doctor and I do not have the proper licensure to diagnose anyone with a mental illness. I am very educated on different disorders, but I still have a long way to go before I can properly diagnose. Describing your symptoms and talking to me is completely fine, but only someone who is certified in the field can officially diagnose you.
4. "Are you mentally ill?"
I always hope that people aren't serious when they ask me this, or any variation of this question. Just because I'm interested in psychology doesn't necessarily mean that I'm mentally ill myself. Mental illness does not mean that you can't be a mental health professional who helps others cope with their own mental health. My mental health status has nothing to do with my major, and I would assume that you don't ask any other major this question.
5. "Psychology isn't actually a science, though."
I wish I could count how many times I want to roll my eyes whenever someone says that psychology isn't a science. Just because our focus is not on biology or chemistry does not mean that we are not studying a science. We study behavior and the brain, which is actually harder and more time-consuming than most even realize. It's not an easy major and it is, in fact, very much science.
Overall, psychology majors often experience disapproval from family members, friends and even strangers. Despite popular misconceptions, most of us chose to study psychology because we love it and we are dedicated to helping others in the future. I feel that my personality perfectly fits in with my choice of career field because I'm empathetic, patient, nurturing and selfless. My life choices and educational goals should not call for ignorant questions or impolite remarks.
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