What is Psychology Really?
In theory what is it?
Person 1: Psychology is the study of human behavior, and covers material as diverse as Pavlov (conditioned behavior) through Freud.
Person 2: I would say the "theory" of my major is that it is the study of the psyche - the human mind. Finding out how a human brain works, and why.
What is it used for?
1: The major is best used as a stepping stone to get a Masters, PhD, or PsyD in Counseling. Ideally it should also be able to get good jobs in any field that involves people as well.
2: Out in the real world, psychology is used for many different ideas. Research, doctors, therapists, exorcists (hehe) many other ideas for careers in the future. A psychologist/Psychaitrist is one of the best careers I can think of. It is inventive and actually very interesting. If you plan to do this, you are on the right track. Or at least a good one.
What does the major actually entail - work-wise?
1: I thought this major would have classes on conflict resolution, learning how to deal with people, understanding personality types, and practical and useful information that you can use in the real world. I was very wrong- those types of classes are only taken on a graduate level. The undergraduate coursework is all theory-based and for the most part, is memorization and some analyzation of long-dead people such as Freud, Piaget, and Jung. There is nothing you will learn for an undergraduate major in psychology that will help you in the real world except to sharpen analyzation skills through writing papers and understanding how to read psychological research. My school was stronger than others in psych as I had to do a year experiment that lasted a year from conception- proposal paper, the process of conducting research, a 20 page paper stating the results of the study, and presenting the findings to my psychology professors and students. Again, this is not to be had at all colleges, and this is good for learning to be an independent thinker and if are interested in applying to PhD school later on or conducting research. Examples of classes: Abnormal Psychology, Experimental Psychology, Behavioral Statistics, Developmental Psychology, Biological Psychology.
2: There should be a lot of homework entailed to this major - depending on your teacher - and it is best if you study hard, using your time wisely. Study what is not expected. If the teacher says, "Read to page 55 for tomorrow," he/she really means, "There is a test/quiz tomorrow so be prepared." So work diligently!
What kind of jobs do you get with it?
1: When I graduated, even with a double major in Psych and Spanish, I couldn't find a job other than working with the mentally disabled because I didn't have experience to show to get better jobs. You may also be able to get a job with a non-profit, but pay is low and benefits are few. I ended up getting into the high-tech world, working in Human Resources after doing several temp jobs for 2 years, and received better benefits. My major in Psychology helped but was not the only factor in getting the job, so don't have too high of expectations for your degree. Employers though think (falsely) that you can deal with people very well or know something more than others about human behavior if you have a Psychology degree.
2: There are tons of jobs just waiting for you with this major. It just depends on your degree. If you get a BA, there is only a selective range of jobs one may achieve. Now, if you go for your Masters, or even a Ph (or Psy) D, then you can choose any job related to the major.
What are the fellow students like (personalitywise) in it?
1: All different types, though most tend to be more on the quiet side, introspective, and care a lot about other people.
2: Everyone is different. There are class clowns, serious students who concentrate only on the work, people who take the course seriously but just make it more fun. Overall there is a creative diversity of students in the major.
1: That because you have a Psych degree that you know anything more about human behavior than before you started the degree.
That jobs are plentiful and easy to get after college.
That the coursework is fun and meaningful, and directly applies to your life.
That you may analyze your family or friends in the course of the degree (I never did a single paper in 4 years to psychoanalyze family or friends- although I would have loved to!)
That I am a good judge of character because I have a Psych degree.
That I have skills on how to resolve conflict because of my degree.
That all Psych majors are aiming to become counselors or therapists of some type.
That a Psych major will get some good money after college.
2: I would say some common misconceptions of this particular major is that it is only to help "crazy people" to not be crazy, or just to cover it up. We don't just bring a patient into a room swing a pendant before the patient, back and forth and say, "keep your eyes on this, and when I snap my fingers you will fall asleep." That isn't all there is to it. There's a lot more and I think if you seriously intend this major, you should get into some depth about it. Not just the surface or the cover of the book.