Mastering your English or Psychology major
Choosing a major can be a difficult and daunting task; it can be a challenge to combine your hobbies, interests, and talents, and channel them into one specific field. That’s why it’s a good idea to take a variety of classes in different subjects, so that you are exposed to all kinds of disciplines. If you decide to major in either English or Psychology, here are some tips to keep in mind.
1. If you don’t already love reading, learn to love it.
This applies to both English and Psychology; be prepared to spend hours each week reading books, textbooks, articles, statements, you name it. Though it can become tedious for even the most avid reader, if you enjoy reading then you will be able to appreciate the texts you are assigned more (and you’ll probably be able to read them faster than the average student).
2. Be prepared for the essays.
This is especially true for English majors; if you are taking two or three English classes a semester, then you’ll not only be reading a couple hundred pages each week, but you’ll be writing tons of papers about those short stories, novels, or poems. Though psychology classes usually incorporate tests, there may be writing involved as well – especially if you’re taking a class about research.
3. Write. Write. Write.
If you’re majoring in English because you want to pursue a writing career or journalism, then you have to make time to write. Your language and writing won’t improve if you don’t practice, so you need to set aside time to produce work.
4. Find an internship.
Internships are the best way to gain experience and knowledge about the field you want to pursue. Not only do they help your chances of finding a job after graduating, they may also show you a specific field you don’t want to work in. If you work at a magazine, you may find that you dislike editing and turn to designing or to revising other genres/types of work. In psychology, you may find that you really hate working with kids and that you’d rather focus on developments in adult psychology. Internships will help hone what you really want to do.
5. Be ready to work with people
Both English and Psychology require interacting with other people; learn to communicate and know when to step up or take a step back. It’s important to know how to listen to other people’s ideas but also to advocate for your own.
6. Don’t get discouraged.
To those of you who are writers – your work will get rejected and torn down innumerable times. Don’t get discouraged. Keep writing, keep submitting, and keep improving your writing.
The same goes for those in psychology; you will take classes that cover a huge amount of material and concepts that seem to go right over your head. The best thing to do is to go to your professor and talk with classmates – the best way to see if you actually understand something is to explain it to somebody else. Also, if you’re doing research, many of your experiments will prove insignificant. That’s normal: you have to weed through hypothesis’ that are irrelevant in order to find ones that truly make a difference.
7. Don’t think about the money.
This applies to every field: don’t pursue a career just for the money. The economy and job security are worrisome for everyone, but it’s better to do what you love for a less amount of money, than to be well off and dreading each working day. Money may bring comfort, but it doesn’t bring happiness. Remember: you may have a job in the field you choose for life, so make sure you choose something you will be excited to do each morning.