Of Psychology, Mental Health, and Hypocrisy

Edited by: Lasya Adiraj

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article belong to the author and are not necessarily representative of other Psychology majors. 


“You’re a psychology major, how much work can you possibly have?”


“Dude, I’m so jealous of you. Psychology is such an easy major! Try doing *insert literally any other major in the world*!”


Chances are, if you are pursuing a Psychology major at Ashoka, you have come across variations of these dialogues multiple times throughout the semesters. It is a universally agreed upon fact at our college that Psychology is the easiest degree to pursue, and so whoever is studying this subject must either be a) too dumb to study anything else or b) tried pursuing some other subject (most likely Economics) and failed. Hence, these people are beneath you. Trust me when I say that plenty of Ashokans do hold such views. In fact, I’ll give you an example. I used to follow someone on Instagram who once put up a story asking people for some of their unpopular opinions. As controversial as they may have wanted to sound, their so-called unpopular opinion was actually, as I mentioned earlier, a very popular opinion at Ashoka. What they said was along the lines of how, with very few exceptions, Psychology majors are some of the dumbest people they know. 


At this point, you may start wondering why I have chosen to rant on a public platform, and whether this was instigated by the very uncalled for and equally public not-so-unpopular opinion of a fellow Ashokan. Well, partly, yes, because that is when I truly realized that people really couldn’t care less about how someone else may feel as long as they end up sounding more intellectual. But mostly, this rant post-cum-article is an amalgamation of all the times I had to hear something negative about my major from someone who had never even studied the subject. And the reason I chose to finally let out all my frustration in the form of this article is because it is mental health week, and what better time to talk about the very subject that deals with mental health than now, right?


You see, Ashokans are not people who are indifferent towards mental health. In fact, everyone, regardless of their majors or opinions on Psychology, deeply cares for and understands the need for discourse on mental health; importance of mental health over academics and everything else; and also recognizes the need for a better social understanding regarding issues of mental health. We have clubs that foster discussion on the matter; people who constantly share tips and resources on Facebook college groups on how to manage your anxiety regarding academics, how to implement self-care, how to prioritize your mental well-being, and so on. And yet, there exists this widespread hypocrisy where somehow, pursuing the very degree that can actively help in making a difference in the world in terms of mental health is seen as an “easy way out.” Though there exists discourses on the importance of therapy, the very people who are trying to aid in the future of therapy are ironically considered to be beneath those pursuing different majors. Because if you were truly smart, you would choose to study something more “difficult”. The fact that you truly want to study Psychology to make the much-needed change in the world becomes irrelevant. The fact that by hearing such comments, your mental well-being is hampered becomes irrelevant.  


So to any Ashokan – or in fact, anyone – who is reading this and has at some point in their life jokingly said to someone majoring in Psychology, “Bro, you can’t have more work than me, I’m a(n) *insert any other subject* major!”, I ask you to only consider whether mental health is important to you or not. I am assuming it is and hence, please refrain from making such comments for two very simple reasons: 1) your peer is only trying to create a better space, a better world for mental health issues, that will someday benefit you as well and 2) your peer is not immune to mental health issues themselves (no, we cannot simply “treat our own depression by looking at our notes”). Such offhanded comments may not always make them feel bad, but it never, ever, makes them feel any better. And as a friend, I’m sure all you want to do is make them feel happier, safer, and loved.


With this request, I end my rant post. Let’s all try to foster mental well-being in our own small ways!