Psychological Science: A Senior Perspective by Karin Nordin

Posted on March 31st, 2015 by

Karin Nordin 15

Karin Nordin ’15


As a senior in college, no subject of conversation exceeds the popularity of that one, terrifying, constantly appearing question; What are you doing with your life? As a Psychological Science major, the guesses usually involve some sort of clinical psychology. No, I’m not going to be a therapist. No, I’m not going to be a psychiatrist. I’ve been accepted to graduate school. However, if there is anything I’ve learned throughout my time here at Gustavus, it is that psychological studies can be a solid foundation for any discipline and fulfill any requirement on a potential job application. When you learn about psychology, you learn about how humans work, and as a result, you have an intimate knowledge of how society came to the point it stands at today.

As I paid application fees and bubbled in my basic information, I began to reflect on what my four years within Psychological Science had left me with. I remembered social psychology, my first college psychology class, and the moment I saw the theories we learned come to life later that night at dinner. I remembered cognitive psychology, and how ironic it was that my cognitive processes were failing to grasp the information taught in class. In Brain and Behavior, things came together, and I began to see how the neurological connections would create and shape the many hypotheses examined and theories memorized in Personality and Abnormal psychology. What had seemed at first like five isolated, disconnected concepts had weaved itself together to create a unique map of the human mind. That map became my ticket to grad school – the individual factor that separates me from hundreds of other applications. The human brain created every other discipline; how could there be a better framework for understanding those disciplines than understanding the source itself?

As grateful as I was when I got my first acceptance letter, perhaps the most crucial lessons I learned throughout four years of Psychological Science concern not the general public, but my own identity. In particular with upper-level courses, like the Self & Identity seminar I’m currently taking, psychological science takes enormous, incredibly crucial questions and quantifies them. It makes big questions into tangible, understandable concepts. It simplifies the complicated mess we call life.

Every senior, every college student will at some point ask themselves; Who am I? How did I get here? What should I do for the rest of my life? As a senior Psychological Science major, I have learned to answer those questions. Psychology has made me memorize theories, conduct studies, and read textbooks full of fascinating insights on the human race. It’s told me what classes to take and what information is relevant. It’s taught me to examine every interaction, to question attitudes present in society, to take every truth with a grain of salt. All of these things are important. However, there is one last lesson that has created a foundation that will propel me farther than a theory or study ever could; psychology has taught me who I am.


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