Human psychology is a popular field of study — for a good reason. The human brain is unendingly interesting, and research into human emotions, thought processes, and behavior patterns yield fascinating insights into why humans are the way we are.
Yet, only about 4 percent of psychology bachelor’s degree holders actually work in the field of psychology.
If you are eager to study psychology with the intention of working as a psychologist, you need to make commitments to the field throughout your degree program. Here are a few tips for improving your connection to psychology and contributing to the field after you earn your bachelor’s.
Build Your Psychology Knowledge Before Your Degree Program Begins
One reason so many psychology students bounce out of the field after graduation is that a bachelor’s degree in psychology usually only scratches the surface of this broad and deep field. Therefore, to ensure you make the most of this foundation of your psychology study, you should perform your own background research on psychology before your program begins. By reading essential psychology texts from some of the world’s leading psychologists in various sub-disciplines, you can develop a more realistic picture of psychology studies and begin to determine the fields within psychology where you might want to focus your career.
Connect to the Latest Releases in the Psychology Space
During your bachelor studies, you may want to subscribe to a leading psychology journal, like the Annual Review of Psychology, the Psychological Bulletin, or Perspectives on Psychological Science. Peer-reviewed journals like these will contain some of the latest trends and breakthroughs in the field, and regularly reading academic articles like those contained in these journals will accustom you to the type of writing popular in psychology careers.
Apply Psychology Concepts to Everything Around You
Psychology is the study of the human mind, and the human mind is everywhere around you. As you learn new psychology concepts, you might consider how they apply to friends and family members, fellow students in your classrooms, or strangers you see in stores and on the street. You will likely find a greater understanding of complex psychological concepts through this type of application — though you should be careful not to share your analyses with your subjects.
Participate in Psychology Research and Experiments
Research is a significant component of psychology practice. Because you are likely to pursue your own psychology research in your master’s program and throughout your psychology career, the sooner you are familiar with the processes involved in research, the better. However, research is not a common component of bachelor’s psychology programs. Thus, to engage with research so early in your career, you will need to do so as a subject. You can connect with your university’s psychology society to find relevant surveys or experiments, or you can search online for web-based experiments for which you might qualify.
Invest in Your Data Science Knowledge and Skill
To conduct research effectively, you will need to know quite a bit about data science. Though you do not need to pursue a second degree in the data science field, you might enroll in a few data science courses in your undergraduate studies to assist in the development and analysis of your psychology experiments going forward. At the very least, you should engage in a few courses in statistics, which are essential for understanding and evaluating research.
Practice Better Note Taking and Studying Strategies
Though the psychology courses you take during your bachelor’s degree program are likely to be introductory, they will be dense with crucial information that you will need to understand fully before you can progress in the field. Thus, you may need to experiment with different note-taking methods and studying strategies to find a system that facilitates learning.
Sleep and Eat Well Throughout Your Degree Program
Many college students boast about how poorly they eat as a result of their partying lifestyle or how little sleep they achieve due to their intensive studying regimen. In truth, you need to live healthily to ensure your brain is functioning perfectly throughout your degree program. Your performance in undergrad can determine the master’s and Ph.D. programs you will be able to access later in your career, so you need to prioritize a healthy diet, full nights of rest, and sufficient exercise to ensure your success in the psychology field.
You can create the psychology career of your dreams — but only if you commit to psychology before, during, and after your bachelor’s degree program. With the above actions, you will deepen your connection to psychology and further your understanding of core concepts, which will increase your likelihood of advancing into the psychology field.