When I was first thinking about what to study for my undergraduate degree, Psychology was one subject that came to mind. I had studied it at A-level and even though I found it difficult at times, I was interested in people and the way we all think. However, even though I don’t remember this ever being focused on in my A-level course, I was put off by all the talk of ‘the brain’ when looking into studying Psychology at degree level. As someone who wasn’t good at science at school, I decided against it, and instead studied a combined subject which included Criminology as one part of it. As well as being interested in people, I was also fascinated about crime and why people commit it.
Over ten years ago have passed since then, and Psychology is now a big part of my academic CV as I have since gone back to study it as a mature student, both at Postgraduate and Masters level. Looking back, I know I had my reasons for not studying it straight out of school, but I also wonder if a bit of life experience helped the way in which I learnt Psychology, and could apply it to more things in life. It’s difficult to understand when you’re younger, but sometimes life experience is required for certain things in life to finally make sense.
Psychology is by no means easy to study, in my opinion, I mean there is a whole other area I didn’t see in my degree research; statistics. I was OK at Maths, but statistics is something else! For a psychology experiment you are basically aiming to see if the likelihood of your results is less than 5%. If it isn’t, it could be down to chance. Many books and notes have been used, and many hours of my life have been spent creating, running tests, and writing up statistics, but I always had a huge sense of pride when I finally submitted an assignment and I passed. Had I realised that statistics were such a huge part of psychology, would I have studied it? Probably.
Probably. Probably because even in my undergraduate degree I had to use statistics. It was only in one assignment, but I still remember the difficult process of not completely understanding what I was doing or writing about. Luckily having now carried out more psychology experiments than I can remember, I do understand a lot more than I did. Sometimes the only way you know you can do something is by doing it, not running away and thinking that you can’t.
My CV could look very different if I had studied Psychology at degree level, but that’s the same as everything is life; one choice can determine the path you go down, which can then affect all the other areas of your life. Researching something, like a university course, is key to deciding to apply for it or not, but also is working out why you’re interested in the subject in the first place. Then there is believing in yourself. Science was my worst subject at school and I used that influence to make my choice to study something different in my degree when Psychology was my favourite subject. I enjoyed my degree, but now having studied a postgraduate Psychology course, I know that I didn’t have anything to fear from studying ‘the brain’. I didn’t find it easy but I just went along with it and did the best I could. That’s all you can ever do.
If I could go back and change my degree option, would I? Answering that, I know, would have changed the person I am today. In subsequent blog posts on my time at university, you will understand why.
Have you studied a subject after dismissing it in the past? Let me know in the comments below.
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