Psych was pretty much my favorite show when I was a pre-teen (and I’m still totally down for a rerun marathon anytime), so it should come as no surprise that as a young adult psych is my favorite area of academic study. I’ve got my own personal reasons for loving it–in the first psych class I took, Principles of Development, my professor was a rock star feminist who basically taught us about a bunch of studies, theories, and principles that can be used to take down any “Men’s Rights Activists” or misogynists.
Psych explains so many things about society and people and backs up so many movements to end social inequality. It’s like a roadmap of the human brain. It can be combined with pretty much anything to create a really cool interdisciplinary study which means you can take it in pretty much any direction career-wise. On your path to your degree (BA? BS? Both are mad fly and equally valid. It just depends on your school and other interests), you’ll learn heaps about the world and yourself. You may become the politically correct, always analyzing member of your friend group, but as long as you refrain from prefacing everything you say with “as a psych major…” you’ll probably won’t be shunned.
You can do actually, literally, anything with it
I’m serious. You can go to grad school. Pick up a Ph.D or a Masters. You can start doing research. Work for an ad company. Do stuff with big companies as an industrial-organizational psychologist. Help people work through troubling behaviors as a behavioral psychologist. Become a politician (you’ll totally be able to understand manipulation, but remember, with great power comes great responsibility). Be a teacher. Go to med school. I could go on and on and on, but I think you get the point. Psychology is super versatile, and you can totally mold it to fit your own interests.
There are so many different types of psychology
Most undergrad psychology programs have you take classes in a bunch of different areas of psych, especially early on. You’ll probably encounter some combination of social psych, developmental, cognition, sensation and perception, neuroscience, and behavior. From there, based on what speaks to you, you can delve deeper with courses on gender role development, race, abnormal behavior, personality, attention, emotion, and pretty much anything else. Psychology explains so much about literally everything so you can explore essentially any aspect of life through it. It’s so rad.
It pairs really well with pretty much any other area of study
So you get that psychology is super versatile. And because it can be used as a medium to explore anything, that means that you can major (or minor) in pretty much anything else and it will be complemented super well by what you learn in your psych classes. Looking for the meaning of life with philosophy? Explore how the human mind experiences emotions and experiences through psychology. Is econ teaching you how to become the wolf of wall street? Learn about the psychological effects of social inequality that are reinforced by consumerist culture to do so responsibly. Memorizing the Krebs cycle for pre-med? Learn about the brain in behavior, attention, and cognition classes. Psych is the academic equivalent of those little complimenting starfish earrings from Aquamarine.
It’s not a science…it’s not a humanity…it’s a…social science!
Good news–you will most likely never have to take chemistry again. And you’ll only have to take English if your school requires it as part of the core curriculum. Because psych is a social science, you can typically make it as science-y or non-science-y as you want. Focus on social psych and research will mostly involve studies with confederates and surveys. Cognition will require some more science-y things with the brain and whatnot. But beware: you will never, ever be able to escape statistics. It’s pretty much the lifeblood of studies. Statistical significance is everything.
Psychology is awesome. It’s kind of a way to find the calm in the storm. While the wind is howling and spitting outside in the world, psychology will teach you how to find the sanity and motivation of the storm. It gives you a couple of extra pieces in the puzzle of life and then allows you to make some pieces of your own in the diversity of career paths it offers.