The Notorious Psychology Major
A waste of time or a necessity in society?
For all intents and purposes, since my field of interest is Clinical Psychology, that’s what I’ll be talking about from here on out. Just beware that there are countless other careers, pathways, and job opportunities to pursue in studying psychology, ranging from school psychology, to counseling, to psychiatry, industrial and organizational, forensic, sports, and so much more!! :)
I’ve heard it all. One time, a teacher I had in high school felt a strong desire to repeatedly explain why psychology was not a good degree to get. She would say:
I know someone who got one and it was a waste of time. They went into, like, business or something so they didn’t even end up using it. Do not get a psychology degree, you’ll just waste 4 years of your life.
Another time in high school, a friend of mine (who did not know I was planning to be a psych major) told this to my other friend (who did know) while I was right beside her:
Why would someone go to college to study psychology? Isn’t it just like, theories and stuff? None of it even seems proven, like why would I study that? What are you even gonna do, it just sounds like a waste of time.
And then my friend tried to nudge her to stop talking so she wouldn’t offend me. Awkwaaaaarddddddd.
Another time, I saw a teacher at my high school tweet something discrediting clinical psychology, referring to it as unnecessary and as clinical psychologists as some type of “pseudo” doctor who don’t actually do anything that he wouldn’t already know how to do himself. In other words, the job is useless. Clinical psychologists, to him, seemed useless because they just tell people how to live healthier and better, which he could just do himself. Therefore, they must be totally useless, right?
Not to mention the good ‘ole
“Good luck getting paid nothing”
Maybe you’ve looked at numerous lists ranking the worst degrees to pursue and you’ve seen Psychology somewhere down the line. That might be quite off-putting, but also notice how many of the degrees on there are typically humanities/social sciences degrees. That in itself is off-putting to me, because while they don’t make as much as STEM careers on a monetary level, I’d argue that their long-term value is just as much that of a STEM degree.
Psychology is a valuable and worthwhile field, why we get paid so little is out of our direct control when we don’t receive enough money towards the job on the whole. It’s not that psychology is useless so it doesn’t pay and therefore we shouldn’t go into it, it’s that the work of psychologists are undervalued monetarily. Still as necessary as ever, just paid dust.
Have you ever heard the phrase “the bachelor’s degree is the new high school diploma”? I personally think this to be true for many degree programs today, but as a psychology major myself, I couldn’t agree more. It’s extremely sad. It’s horrible that there could be someone out there who wants to study psychology, but also lacks the funds and/or time to pursue education beyond the bachelor degree.
The hard truth that I’ve learned from all the psychology professionals in my life is that to succeed and make a decent living in this field, you need not only immense passion and time, but lotssss of money and the will to pursue academia into Master’s and even Doctorate level degrees, also not forgetting the time and money it would take to get licensed. It’s one massive commitment that, understandably and unfortunately, not everyone who wants to can do so. I wish I had the solution to solve that problem but alas I’m just a lil college student here to talk about psychology degrees.
All of this being said, I hate that it would turn anyone away from the degree. There’s value in a psychology degree and immense public interest in what they bring to the world/workforce, yet their services are undervalued. Perhaps the issue here is not the degree itself but the forces outside and beyond the degree that force it to be underappreciated underfunded as attention is taken away from their services.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I could not be happier that there are so many people (especially young women) in STEM careers, but I think with this comes the undervaluing of social science and humanities fields. Without those fields, I can’t even image how dull society would be.
If you couldn’t tell by now, I clearly think that psychology is a necessity in society. Moving on, here’s a few things I like about it.
Outlasting the AIs
In this era and age of technology and so many jobs being replaced by machines and artificial intelligence, I read a while ago that humanitarian jobs that involve traits like empathy, compassion, and care given by a human to a human can never be replicated or replaced by a robot of some sort. And I’d honestly like to believe that. Not just because it gives me job security, but also because I do believe there’s something special about humans caring for other humans and a connection that forms that robots, AIs, and technology won’t be able to replicate. Now I’m no tech whiz, so don’t come at me for that little analysis.
Versatility is Not a Bad Thing
“So many people get psychology degrees that it’s hard to find psychology-related jobs”
That might be true, but the versatility of psychology still makes it possible to find good jobs. With all its subsections, psychology degrees offer a lot of exploration in various fields and can feed into many jobs with further education and specialization.
The skills that a psychology degree gives you is valued by employers everywhere, but a part of getting this knowledge with this degree is knowing how to market, communicate, and explain your skills and value to them so they see your worthiness.
See the graphic below about various jobs a psychology degree could get you:
With the pandemic happening for the past two years and today, people have been turning to the expertise and advice of all kinds of psychologists to help them navigate these unprecedented times.
Whether they are looking to understand and control their anxieties, depression, help out their children, or balance adjusting to new lifestyles, the knowledge that psychologists (from all backgrounds and specialties) bring is invaluable and hugely influential.
Perhaps even more severely, the large degree of trauma incurred by many people coupled with an increase in wanting to heal and be better is related to a greater need for therapists and psychologists to help people today.
So this concludes my little rant/indulgence on my thoughts of the psychology degree and its value in society today. The more I gain an education in the field, the more I am appalled at all the discreditation and inequity that occurs within the field and into greater society.
But that’s enough about my views. What are your thoughts on the degree and the field as a whole? If you have any personal stories or experience, I would be overjoyed to read it!
Lastly, check out more of my work linked down below, if you’d like. Thank you for reading!
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