“Wow, you’re a Psychology student!”
This is the common comment I get whenever I mention to people about taking up a BS degree in Psychology. Then this line is followed by the usual questions us Psych students usually get. Most of these questions about us are based on common misconceptions about those who take up Psychology in college.
Most of the time, it’s irritating when you’re asked the same question over and over again in relation with your Psych degree. So you have no choice but to take a deep breath and explain things calmly. With this experience, I realized that studying about Psychology still carries a lot of misconceptions with people. Expect to encounter these misconceptions if you choose to take up a Psychology degree in college.
Let me list down the common misconceptions about Psychology students:
1. “So, you’re studying Psychology. Can you read minds?”
This is the commonly encountered line I get after people are surprised or in awe about me taking up Psychology. For starters, Psychology students don’t study telepathy, the art of mind reading. Psychology students don’t read minds like they’re quietly studying every person they encounter. We study minds; how it works and its relation to human behavior. It’s not about telepathy or some magic thing involving mind-reading.
Once you’re a psych student, expect that you’ll be reading a lot of psychological theories about the mind as well as its relationship to behavior such as motivation.
2. Psychology is all about studying mental illnesses
Of course, psych students do study about mental illnesses under Abnormal Psychology. But it doesn’t end there. We also study about human anatomy, developmental theories, different kinds of behavior, and the cause and effect of thought patterns in relationship with behavior. We read about needs, biological instincts, and the entire development of a human being.
There’s more to psychology than mental disorders. The study of psychology can be compared to a tree with many branches. There are a lot of subjects that fall under psychology, and these subjects can even have sub-branches that deals with something else and connects to the study of psychology.
3. Psychology students will end up working in a mental institution
The common internship programs for Psychology students are usually categorized into three settings: the clinical setting, educational setting, and industrial setting. Being a student intern in a mental institution falls under the clinical setting, while educational institution usually involves schools. Meanwhile, the industrial setting means you’ll gain some work experience in a company as part of the Human Resources department, which deals with employee relations and imposing rules for companies.
You can choose to work in a mental institution or pursue a degree leading to medicine after you graduate with your Psychology degree. But there are a lot of work options for Psych graduates. In fact, you can even choose to work at something else that isn’t related to the degree you finished. Having a Psychology degree under your belt is a plus point when you’re out to look for a job. Your career choices won’t be limited.
4. Psychology doesn’t involve Mathematics
I got this so wrong when I chose to take up Psychology, because at first, I thought there would be no Algebra involved. In fact, Psychology is also closely related to Mathematics like Statistics, because you have to deal with variables, computations, and results that stem out from a case study or some experimental situation. Yes, Math is closely related to Psych studies. But you need not be a Math genius for this, because as long as you take the time to understand your variables and the related solutions, you’ll do fine.
5. Psychology students are weird
Most kids in my campus thought that Psych students are kind of weird. Well, some of us are weird, but not all! And if ever I’ve seen some “weird” Psych students, it’s because we’re not afraid to be ourselves and to take pride in our individuality. Sometimes, weird can be good.
So these are some common misconceptions about Psych students that I tried to debunk. I hope that this will clear things about Psych students being mind-readers and all that.
Eliza Sullin has written this article for the best essays web site. Image: author owned.