stories about school

why i’m [not] a psych major.

the following is a post that i found in my drafts. it was called “why i’m a psych major.” i started it fall of my sophomore year. when i first came to ciu and people would try to guess my major, they’d always guess youth ministry. so i wanted to write something defending my atypical psych major self.
but as i’m about to write after i let you read this, i’m not at all meant for psych.
90% of people guess youth ministry when they don’t know my major. and it makes sense. i’m fun and loud and love kids, i work with a youth group during the year and at a camp in the summer…all i need to do is start wearing chacos and declare an outdoor leadership minor, and i’ll fit the stereotype exactly.
and while i usually like that people guess that because it means they’ve seen my real self, i wish that more people noticed the things that make me perfect for psych. i know i’m not quiet or introverted or smart, and i hate school, but other than that…
1. i love people.
2. i care about people.
3. i want to understand them.
4. i could listen to their stories all day.
5. i love hearing people’s honest thoughts or feelings. this is why i could read postsecret all day. i get a look at people’s real hearts.
6. everyone’s mind is different, and they’re all fascinating. i want to know how every single one works.
7. i have a talent for loving crazy people that everyone else turns away.
8. i love showing people hope.
9. i LOVE to diagnose people. if i’ve hung out with you for a significant length of time, i’ve likely made up a profile in my head for you.
10. i am the least judgmental person in the world. i let people be exactly who they are, and i like to encourage people to be real.
11. i want to help kids get out of terrible homes, and into one where they’ll get the love they deserve. apparently i need a psych degree for that.
all of those things* are still true about me today. so why did i change?
it wasn’t just because i was sick of having to correct people. though that was a nice little bonus.
there were a lot of reasons.
and a slight disclaimer, i’m not at all knocking psych majors. my whole point here is that people are made for different things, and if you were made for psych then more power to you.

1. psychology is such a book-focused major. the more i looked at the classes i’d have to take, the more i realized that i wouldn’t enjoy school at all if i stuck with this. i like reading little things here and there for fun, but i didn’t want to spend a whole semester learning about this stuff for a grade.
2. i didn’t want to go to grad school, and 90% of careers that would require me to have a psych degree would want me to have a masters.
3. i realized that while those ten things were true, they were pointed in a different direction than they would for someone else.
4. i felt like all those passions i have would be wasted in a classroom. youth min is all experiential. instead of writing research papers and doing hypothetical case studies, i want to learn by doing. you can’t exactly learn how to counsel by counseling, since that’s a pretty serious thing, but you can learn how to speak to youth by speaking to youth.

and over the summer and this semester especially, i’ve found even more reasons that i definitely made the right decision.

5. i hate research papers. i had to write one for my marriage and family class and within the first hour that i sat down with a big stack of books, i was on the verge of tears. i don’t want to deal with theoretical families, i want to love on real ones! i would have much rather interviewed ten families with distant fathers than looked up facts in books.
6. i love relationships. i found that no matter what i did on the psych front, i would only know people on the surface. social workers have to love a child for as long as it takes to get them out of their situation, then let them go and never contact them again when it’s done. that’s a necessary job, my heart is too big to fill one of them. God needs me someplace where i can love a child for their whole life.
7. i do want to know how people’s minds work, but not in such a deep scientific way as to need to study the brain for four years. the true colors, myers-briggs and the five love languages are enough for me.
8. i love doing life with people. that’s why i love camp so much. every week i get a new little family. we get to know each other, and then we get to love each other. we go through everything together. and the next summer they come back to me. as much as i love church youth ministry, i know that’s not where my full time, post-graduation calling is. i’ll end up living with teenage girls somewhere somehow.
9. i’ve been through too much to not share it. psych-type jobs require you to be objective to a point, and keep yourself out. it would be a waste of the story God made me live through if i was never allowed to tell it.

basically, i don’t care about the nitty gritty details of mental disorders or the generally common effects of traumatic experiences. i want to know the heart of the person who has the disorder or went through the junk.
i actually care about the answer to that “how does this make you feel” question that people make fun of.
i don’t listen so i can try to fit people in a box. i listen because i love that person.
while people do need help finding a label for their problem, i’d rather do the helping that involves going through the struggle with them.
i can’t give big answers, but i can give big hugs.
i may not understand the ins and outs of your problem, but i understand hurt.
i can’t always figure out what’s wrong with you, but i can listen to the news when someone else tells you what’s wrong.

this post is to be continued. in another one.

*except for number 11. while i do still hurt for kids in bad homes, i couldn’t do that as my job. the one DSS case i had at camp was the most heart wrenching situation i’ve ever been in and i don’t ever want to be that deeply involved in something like that again. i get too attached.


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