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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wisconsin chapter.

The reality of being a psychology major

Coming into college, I was completely clueless as to what I was going to do with my life. While my future is still a major work in progress, I at least managed to declare a major. Originally, I had very high hopes for myself. I was going to be a doctor and change the world, like we’ve never heard that one before. It only took about one week (and watching chemistry torture my roommate) to realize that I heading down the completely wrong path. Who was I kidding, I am terrible at math, so I had to do some quick reevaluating. Luckily, I found my saving grace in my Personality Psychology class. Instantly, I was entranced by the material and knew this was what I was meant to do. As I have progressed through my first year on campus, I have learned a great deal about the hidden aspects of psychology. So, I am here to share with you the good, the bad, and the ugly.

In honor of optimism, I have decided to start out with one of the best things about being a psychology major: there is so little math and science involved. Of course, there is just enough basic biology and statistics to keep things interesting, but not enough to drive you to the edge of a breakdown. For reference, by the end of my freshman year, I will have completed all the math and science requirements for the major. No matter what the reason -maybe numbers are a struggle or being clumsy doesn’t fit with handling chemicals (I heavily relate to both) – it won’t be a problem if you stick to psychology. On the other hand, for those of you that greatly dislike writing, I have never had to write more than one essay per psychology class. Do with that as you will.

Now, here comes the downside of the major: it is very reading forward. For each course you enroll in, be prepared to read the entire textbook. With that being said, it is also very easy to just not do the reading. Most of the classes have no way to ensure that you have completed this aspect of the course. Nevertheless, taking the time to read the chapters will inevitably be much more beneficial. Topics are explained in depth and are accompanied by a plethora of examples. Not to go too psychological on you here, but studies show the best way to commit something to memory is to connect it to your own life. It is much easier to find opportunities to develop these connections when reading something versus trying to catch everything in a lecture. So while it may be tedious, do your reading. Plus, the reading is the majority of the work, which is pretty manageable if you ask me. 

Of course, we have all heard the cliche of psychology majors being bland and always pointing out everyone’s flaws. I am here to tell you that this is not true, most of the time. As you slowly learn more about how people behave, you will start to recognize these same patterns in real life – it is simply unavoidable. You will analyze your friends and family, and you must be prepared for what you may discover. Additionally, you could easily get yourself into trouble by sharing your findings. If someone wants to be analyzed, they will go to therapy, and thus unprompted findings can often be upsetting. As a psych major, you must be aware of the knowledge you will possess as well as when it is appropriate to share such information. As for the idea that psych majors are bland, this is anything but true. If someone tries to tell you differently, just share your thoughts on their mental state. You will be seen as anything but bland. 

It is undeniable that the psych life is not for everyone. My main goal with this article is not to convince you to be a psychology major. You will find your fit when you’re ready, and I encourage you to stick with it. When it comes down to it, my hope is that anyone considering a psychology major will be able to utilize this article to make a more informed decision about their future. My highly analytical brain and generalized anxiety disorder (you knew it was coming, all psych majors have issues) demand that I plan my life out whenever possible. So to save my fellow over-thinkers some trouble, I compiled my knowledge for you. But also, just in case you wanted an opinion based argument, all the coolest people are psych majors.

Kendall Callery

Wisconsin '26

Kendall is a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Managing Editor for UW's Her Campus chapter. Writing is a way for her to share her bold takes and unique personality. Not only is she a perfectionist at heart but she is also a coffee, baked goods, and horror movies addict.