Why do people choose to study psychology anyway? What drives them to choose the study of human behavior and workings of the mind rather than, let’s say, business or history?
The study of psychology continues to grow as a popular option at colleges and universities not only in the United states but throughout the world. There are myriad reasons why people choose this area to study, not just because of the opportunities for personal growth or because of the vast range of career opportunities.
Let’s take a look at the top 5 reasons:
1.To Help Others
The top reason that people choose to pursue the study of psychology is, undeniably, to help people. They have an altruistic desire to help others deal with adversity through counseling, crisis intervention, listening and problem solving.
They want to make a real difference in the world by making a real difference in other people’s lives. They feel it could lead to a very emotionally fulfilling career.
There are also some people who specifically want to help the world by doing research on topics they are passionate about- like how the brain works, schizophrenia, depression, autism or developmental issues.
2. They Enjoy Problem Solving
These are people whom others turn to when they need help with their problems. They enjoy solving problems whether it is interpersonal relationships, intellectual, or practical problems. With their friends they tend to be great listeners and advice givers.
They feel they have a natural talent for understanding others. They have an innate ability to empathize with others and understand human dynamics.
They find problem solving challenging and highly rewarding.
The study of psychology is intrinsically interesting. People want to understand the dynamics of their own selves and their families.
They have a passion for the content itself; they are curious about how and why people behave the way they do, why they think the way they do, and how they learn. They are curious, eager even, to uncover insights about both human and animal behavior.
Some students undertaking the study of psychology are curious to see if it will help them be psychologically healthier or stronger. Although insight is frequently the first step, often one needs to perform an action to change something about one’s self.
Studying alone is not likely to make them mentally or emotionally healthier, though it will teach them what the next action step is or where to go to get the needed resource to help them change.
However, most people who seek to study psychology due to curiosity are seeking insights and understanding about people in general, as well as seeking opportunities for personal growth.
4. Career Success
Other people choose to study psychology because it continues to be a well-paying and high-demand field. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the need for psychologists is expected to grow at a rate of 12% through 2018.
The need for psychological services in schools, hospitals, substance abuse programs, and social service agencies continues to be strong and the demand is expected to grow.
More businesses are seeking the expertise of industrial-organizational psychologists and offering Employee Assistance Plans (EAP’s) which is further fueling the demand for clinically trained psychologists.
People also choose to study psychology because it is a flexible and varied field; it gives them access to a variety of careers.
There are so many different areas within psychology that one can specialize in depending upon one’s own interest:
- Sports Psychology
- School Psychology
- Clinical Psychology
- Developmental Psychology
- Health Psychology
- Forensic Psychology
- Industrial-organizational Psychology (one of the highest paid professions)
- Experimental (research) Psychology
- And many more!
Others report that having a background in psychology is an extremely marketable, indeed an essential, skill for many other career choices including law, business, criminal justice, education, advertising, marketing, medicine and even politics.
5. Lifetime Skills
The study of psychology is highly dependent on understanding the scientific method, basic psychological tenets, and critical thinking. Critical thinking is essential to being an educated person and will help you not only in any job you choose, but in your personal life as well.
Psychology emphasizes and teaches skills in research and statistics. Being able to analyze data and understand statistics are skills that are tremendously sought after in the job market, in and out of the field of psychology.
A background in psychology teaches you many other work related skills including how to write a coherent and organized report, how to develop team or group rapport, tolerance for different values and backgrounds, collecting/reporting/interpreting data or surveys, as well as theoretical and real-life problem solving skills.
Personal skills that are honed in the field of psychology include communication skills, critical thinking, positive interpersonal interactions, problem solving and mediating personal relationships. These are skills that can be used in your everyday life, throughout your lifetime.