No, we cannot read your mind nor can we diagnose you on the spot.
Being a psychology major is really fun and interesting, but also really stressful. There’s lots of readings, theories to understand, and discussions of the readings, as with any major. Yet, psych majors are often criticized and not taken seriously (e.g. Jeb Bush’s comments about psych majors not being able to get a job outside of the fast food industry once they graduate). His comments, and the comments of others, couldn’t be further from the truth. That’s one example that is more commonly known, but here are 10 others.
1. “Can you read my mind?”
I said I was a psych major, not a psychic. Therefore, I cannot read your mind.
2. “You must have mental health issues if this sort of work interests you.”
Coincidentally, I’m a member of a family that does have a history of mental illness, but that isn’t what motivated me to become a psych major. But, I guess you could say that I have “mental health issues” because I’m a stressed out college student, but what college student isn’t?
3. “Did you choose it because it’s one of the easiest majors?”
Do you know any psych majors, or is that just a common stereotype? Psychology is definitely not an easy subject because there are tons of theories and studies being developed and conducted weekly. I wish I contained all of the knowledge of psychology, but unfortunately I don’t. So, no I wouldn’t say that this is an “easy” major because I still have so much to learn. Also, I just want to point out that I’ve consistently made higher grades in my honors classes than I have in my psychology classes (just to give you an idea of how “easy” psychology classes are).
4. “Good luck getting a job without a graduate degree.”
How would you know this and I don’t? I became aware of this my first semester. My career goal is to become a Marriage and Family Therapist and yes, it does require further education after college.
5. “Why didn’t you notice the warning signs?”
Not too long ago, a close family member of mine had a nervous breakdown and treatment was needed. I was asked by a fellow family member why I didn’t notice the warning signs. First off, I’m still in college. I’ve got many classes and many years to go before I finish and can pursue a job as a therapist. Second, I don’t carry around the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) with me. So no, I didn’t catch the warning signs.
6. “You must want to be a therapist.”
Coincidentally, yes, I do want to be a therapist. However, not all psych majors can say the same. I have friends who want to be neuropsychologists, professors, or researchers in this field while specializing in a specific area of psychology. It’s a very versatile major.
7. “If so, will you give me free therapy when you become a therapist?”
I’ll give you advice all day long, but free therapy is a whole different story. I’ve got to make a living anyway. Also, I’m not sure if it’s in your best interest to have me as your therapist if we already know each other because we’ve got to establish some boundaries, for the sake of your mental health. Maybe I’m wrong, but that just doesn’t seem like good practice.
8. “Can you diagnose me?”
Refer to #5.
9. “Are you analyzing me right now?”
I can’t help it, but yes, I am analyzing you. I’m very observant of the behaviors of those I’m around. I guess that’s a byproduct of studying psychology for years.
10. “I’m like, so OCD about…”
I’ll admit, I have caught myself saying this too, but it’s not necessarily true. You might have a particular order for how you like things to go, but no, you do not have OCD because of it. However, there are individuals living with a real Obsessive Compulsive Disorder diagnosis. These individuals are in therapy and/or on medication to deal with their obsessive thoughts and compulsive behavior. So no, just because you can’t have your food touching doesn’t mean that you are so “OCD.”
So, there you have it! Ten things you should never ask or say to a psychology major (or minor). Unless you want some major eye rolling.