If I had a pound for every time I’ve been asked if I could guess what someone was thinking when I told them I studied Psychology, my coupon clipping days would be over. As much as I wish otherwise, it doesn’t give me the ability to read your mind, predict your future or hypnotise you.
Psychology has a bit of a bad rep for being a “pseudo-science,” which leads people to assume that it’s “easy” or “not a real subject”. At Lancaster, Psychology is actually part of the Faculty of Science and Technology and compulsory modules include Statistics and Neurobiology; definitely not for the faint hearted or science-shy. By the time Psychology students leave Lancaster, we’re expected to have a solid understanding of most of the main areas of Psychology, as well as being able to use data analysis software like SPSS. Now in my third year, I can keep up when my flatmates studying Maths and Economics talk statistics.
The 1st and 2nd year Psychology at Lancaster consists entirely of compulsory modules, and while it can be more than a little annoying yawning through a Cognitive Psychology lecture when your real passion is Developmental, it provides you with a really great foundation and a lot of different skills. While many subjects focus on just essays or just quizzes, in the last 2 years I’ve completed essays, lab reports, quizzes, presentations and critical reviews of academic papers, so I definitely feel like I’m getting my money’s worth in terms of skill acquisition. In this way, Psychology actually sets you up quite nicely for a whole range of careers. My data analysis skills and BSc open a few doors, while my essay writing and presentation skills open yet a few more. It’s sort of a win-win.
I guess all this isn’t going to deter anyone making Freud jokes or asking if I’m planning on joining the X-Men when I graduate, but it definitely makes it easier to laugh it off.