Psychology Education: It's More Than the Study of Mental Illness
This article originally appeared on our fellow APUS blog, In Military Education.
Psychology. The fabulously interesting study of human behavior. It all sounds so fascinating, right? Finding out why people think and feel the way they do, why some people get angry at the drop of a hat, and the ongoing debate of nature vs. nurture. I switched my major halfway through college due to taking abnormal psychology and falling in love with it.
I remember watching a video on DID (dissociative identity disorder) and deciding that I wanted nothing more than to integrate personalities together and help a person become whole again. I think I was a little ambitious to say the least, but to be honest, I never liked science growing up. I remember being in high school and being completely un-interested in biology and chemistry, so when I found out psychology is a science, my views on the scientific world changed. When I changed my major and started taking psychology related courses, I realized a few things.
- Psychology courses include a lot more than just information on mental illnesses: To be honest, the first thing that drove me to the science component was my interest in mental disorders. I found them fascinating and wanted to learn more and more about them, but I found myself learning about things I never thought were psychology related — like visual and auditory perceptions; all of which are learned in the sensation and perception course.
- Math will be involved: What did I hate more than science growing up? Math. Ladies and gentleman, math does not go away. Get ready to love statistics because you will be gearing up for a couple of courses related to just that.
- Biology is vastly related to psychology: Ta-da! Biology is back! Welcome to Biopsych; one of the most difficult courses, in my opinion, that you will take. Biopsychology is essentially how the brain and neurotransmitters influence a person’s behavior, thoughts, and feelings. It is also referred to as behavioral neuroscience, and yes, folks, it is as hard as it sounds. Lots of coffee, reading, and note taking will help you out in this course.
- You will never really figure out the answer to the ongoing nature vs nurture debate: Guess what? Some theorists believe genetics play a larger role and some believe the environment plays a larger role. More people nowadays believe both genetics and the environment play an equally large part, but the great thing about psychology is there really isn’t a right or wrong answer (most of the time!). Things differ depending on the person, the situation, their background, etc. In undergraduate courses you will learn about pioneers in psychology and their theories, and the great thing is, you get to choose theorists and theories that you feel shape human behavior best.
Obtaining a degree in psychology takes a lot of hard work, reading, and memorization, but it also provides the individual a greater insight on the world and human behavior. A lot of the courses at AMU have helped me understand people better and how to handle certain situations. I do believe that it is important to remember that after obtaining your undergraduate degree you really want to consider a master’s degree. An undergraduate degree provides an individual with knowledge pertaining to all areas of psychology, but a master’s degree focuses on the given area in greater detail. The great thing about an undergraduate degree in psychology is it gives you a better idea of what you want to focus on for your master’s. I hope this information helped and that many of you do decide to take on a psychology bachelors because trust me, you will never be bored!
“The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind” — William James
About the Author
Nora Reed is originally from Bethesda, MD, but currently resides in Norfolk, VA. Nora obtained her B.A. in Psychology from AMU and is working on her M.Ed in School Counseling. In her spare time, Nora enjoys working out, spending time with her loved ones, and cooking.
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