By Rose Talbot
You might be a psychology major if… you have strong opinions on Freud, always know exactly what helpful advice to give your friends, and can’t enjoy shows like Dexter or Hannibal without some intense psychoanalysis going on. Psychology majors are often deep thinkers, analytical advisers and careful listeners. You get to delve deeply into one of the world’s most fascinating mysteries — why we are who we are. As it turns out, there’s a lot more to learn than just how to take 12-question personality tests.
What you’ll be doing
Psychology majors differ depending on whether you’re earning a B.A. or a B.S. With a B.S. you’re dealing with a more clinical view of psychology and science-based classes. If science isn’t really your thing but you still love psychology, a B.A. might be for you.
You can get assignments like spending 40 hours over the course of a semester with a nursing home resident and recording the experience. Or you could be asked to volunteer with kids and graph their development. The psychology department at Messiah College offers courses such as human sexuality, abnormal psychology, and adolescent development – all of which sound a lot more interesting than a poetry class to me.
Psychology offers students a chance to look at the world in a very real and practical way, skills that can be used in any number of careers after graduation.
“It’s helpful when people ask me for advice. I used to just tell them what I think, but after taking a lot of psychology classes, I realized I shouldn’t be telling people anything. I should be helping them figure out the answers for themselves.” – Andrea Yong, Messiah College, 2016
“Studying how people think, why they think that, and what motivates different behavior and social norms was intriguing. The major offered me all of that and taught me many valuable and practical lessons that I have used since learning them.” – Tim Talbot, Messiah College, 2014
“I chose to study psychology because it seemed like an appropriate balance between hard sciences while still having areas to ponder and converse about in classroom discussion. It also seemed like a relevant major at the time to use for societal contribution.”– Chrissie Brown, Messiah College, 2014.
“I’ve started to automatically analyze everything and keep thinking about everything, which is probably not very healthy. What if I just want a normal conversation?” – Andrea Yong
“It’s a very general field of study, which can make finding well-paying jobs afterward hard. Plus, ridiculously long papers.” – Tim Talbot
“It is too broad, so much so that I can’t really make a decent income from it because it’s almost below entry-level jobs. You have to climb your way up through schooling and experience. That’s not always practical, especially the schooling part when one is trying to pay off undergraduate fees.” – Chrissie Brown
Every psychology major will say the same thing: psych is a broad field. You’re essentially studying the way people think, a skill that can translate into any number of professional fields, from being a trauma counselor to working with law enforcement.