My College Major Changed Me

I have been out of college for many years now, but I can tell you one thing, the major that I choose has changed my life.

I’d like to say that it has changed me for the better, however, it has also changed me for the worse.

Background

Once I graduated high school, I was not certain which path I wanted to take in terms of a college major. I was always told to just feel each subject out and see which one that I was drawn to, it sounded easy and like great advice and it ended up being just that!

I had many classes that I thoroughly enjoyed. I would say that my top two subjects were Psychology and English. I loved both for different reasons. Given the nature of the job that I wanted to pursue at the time and an extreme interest and passion mine, I chose to major in Psychology. Little did I know, it would change the way that I saw myself and the world around me forever.

My Love

Psychology drew me in because I have always been fascinated with the human mind and finding out why people behave the way that they do. We are all born as blank slates, yet we all develop into very different beings, that is fascinating to me!

As I took many Psychology courses over the years, I learned so much about myself and the world around me. I was able to understand why I had become the person that I was and how the brain works and responds to people and life situations. I was able to understand others better with this newfound knowledge and empathy that came with it.

It was almost as though Psychology was the book of life, it felt as if this subject held all of the answers to the complexity of the human mind and behavior. I was captivated!

The Downside

As with many things in life, there are usually positives and negatives. I adore Psychology and all that it entails, but learning this subject to the extent that I did was detrimental to me in some ways.

Years after I graduated from college, I noticed that my anxiety was much worse than it usually had been. I have dealt with extreme anxiety since I was very little. I began to realize that the way that we are taught this subject and the ways that they have us learning the material truly changed the way that my brain responded to life and even to myself.

In Psychology, we were taught to analyze, analyze, and analyze some more. We were taught to observe very carefully and taught to look at people, situations, and ultimately life in many different ways. Yes, this sounds like a great thing and it is to an extent, but it became a constant in my life.

Taking Over

I found myself analyzing my life, thoughts, and behavior to an extreme. Psychology teaches you that there is a reason behind everything and that includes people’s actions. Therefore, I was always hunting for reasons and the meaning behind everything.

I started seeing life in many different aspects. I started viewing other people very differently, I was so curious as to why and how people behaved the way they did. It seemed as though I was always searching for information to complete my analysis and observations.

I wasn’t comfortable with this new way of viewing life. I understand that these are all necessary and helpful skills to have, especially if one is to become a therapist or social worker for example, however for me, it was overpowering, and I wasn’t able to separate myself from it.

Question

I know several of you talented individuals are in the field of Psychology. For those of you that are therapists, social workers, or even those that majored in Psychology as well, did you ever notice a drastic change in the way that you viewed life and other people after studying Psychology?

Closing

This subject was and still is my favorite subject of all time. I truly adore it and there is always so much to learn and gain. There are many times that I wish that my mind wasn’t so “stuck” in Psychology mode, but given this, I still would have chosen to major in this field.

It’s pretty amazing to me that what we expose ourselves to in our life truly does have a tremendous impact on us. Just a little food for thought as you go about your day. Surround yourself with good people and try to live life the best that you can, we are like sponges are we are truly changed by what we experience for better or for worse.

What I Learned by Going Against Advice

I, like many of us, think that I know what is best for myself. In the majority of cases, we probably do, however, there are times when we think that we know what is best for us and it may not necessarily be.

Many years ago, I had finished college and earned my degree and I stumbled across another program that interested me and was a way to even further my knowledge and my career. I studied hard day after day, passed my prerequisite exams, and applied to the program. It was a long wait to find out if I had been accepted or not.

The day had finally come, and I opened up the letter to find out that I was accepted! I was over the moon excited, and I couldn’t believe it. After a lot of preparations and arrangements, I made it all happen and made it to my first day of this new college program.

The Advice That I Was Given

The professor gave us an overview of the program, expectations, the schedule, and a bit about what we could look forward to and learn. I took it all in, excited as could be, notebook in hand, and then the professor left us with some advice.

She looked around at each of us as if to make her point very clear. The professor let us know that she had been doing this for many years and she told us that the students who succeed are the ones that work together to learn and involve each other every step of the way.

How I Felt

I am all about teamwork, I thrive working with others and I find that it is a great learning experience for everyone involved. The more minds that share, the more knowledge and ways of viewing things can be obtained. Surprisingly, my thoughts did not align with hers.

Despite my tendency to be one of the team, with all of us being in this program together learning new information, I decided that while I would make friends and at some points work with others, I wanted to learn most of this material solo. I wanted to be able to focus without distraction and I was worried that some of the information could be misconstrued if all of us were throwing out ideas.

Big Mistake

I watched the other students meet before and after class, they had regular meetings and hands-on activities to help them learn. I did most of my studying at home and sometimes during breaks on campus.

I thought that since I already had another degree, this one would be easier this time around. I was confident that I could do this alone, even though it might be a struggle. Time went on and I watched my confidence, my grades, and my health decline.

I started becoming so fatigued from pushing myself that I could barely function. My brain was not able to take in any more information, because I was on overload. I wasn’t able to piece the information together as it kept building and building. I felt myself slipping, how could this have happened?

I Wish That I Had Listened to the Advice

I was very upset and looking back I remembered the professor clearly saying that this was the type of program where we all needed to work together. I wished that I had listened, I regretted not following through with her advice.

I felt that I knew myself better than anyone else did, but this situation proved me wrong. I couldn’t believe that this was my reality, but I was determined to make it work.

It Was Too Late

I joined some of the study groups that my friends in the program were in, I started the hands-on practices, stayed late at school to study with my peers and even ate dinner there some nights. I tried my very hardest to follow every instruction that my professor originally asked that we do.

Sadly, despite all of my efforts to turn this around, it was too late. My grades were fine; however, my health was not. Due to the stress of the program, both my mental and physical health declined, and I had no choice but to withdraw myself from the program. I was in good academic standing, so I was told by professors that I was able to come back again if I chose to do so.

Little did I know, many series of events took place after this program that would have made it almost impossible to have done anything with the certificate even if I had reached the end. It was a blessing in disguise. I also walked away with a valuable lesson.

What I Learned

Sometimes we don’t know what is best for ourselves. We should listen to the advice of others carefully, we may choose to take it, or we may not, but we shouldn’t be so quick to brush it off for it may have incredible value.

We are usually better in numbers. As human beings, we are meant to be together, to help each other, support each other, and learn from each other. If I had stuck with a group from the very beginning, then I possibly could have made it through. We need each other, it is as simple as that.