Declaring My Double Major!

Declaring My Double Major!

When I applied to Loyola, I was given a drop down list of choices for my future major.

My typical angsty teenage self did not see this as a life altering decision, and since I took AP Psychology in college and did well in it, I decided to go for it. I also chose Pre-med to accompany it, which I am thankfully that I at least made one smart decision that day.

A reminder that I only spent 15 minutes on my applications before applying to Loyola – perhaps my biggest regret to date. Tragic.

My First College Psych class was Abnormal Psychology in Cuneo at 7:00 pm every Tuesday. I remember it being super awesome, I loved learning about the differences of sociopaths versus psychopaths, as well as learning more about autism. My teacher was awesome, and we had to do a research paper to accompany a topic you found interesting. I chose to do the correlation of urban living and schizophrenia.

Then came developmental psychology my second semester of freshman year. Overall, kinda meh, it just felt we zoomed straight from birth to death without making a lot of pit stops. Plus I didn’t like babies at the time, and if you can guess, developmental classes have to include the little guys.

Then came psych stats. As a mathy person, ANOVAs (analysis of variance) were the coolest thing! Plus we had to do a lot with analyzing data on computer programing which was a lot of fun.

Then came Research Methods for Psychology Majors. Any “psychology  momentum” I came running in with went to a screeching halt. I entered a class that was extremely challenging for me to grasp. Not intellectually, but rather motivationally challenging- to learn a subject that I just could not absorb.

It could have been the professor, it could have been the class structure, heck, it could even have been that it was right before lunch and I got hangry.

But regardless, I hit my first ever wall in college, where I could not engage in a subject I thought I was interested in. I felt that the class forced me into a structure that I was not compatible with. And that started a fun existential crisis – Do I even like psychology?

Meanwhile, Crisis Amanda was taking classes such as physics, chemistry, and philosophy to fulfill the pre-med side to me. In Chemistry, I loved to ask my chemistry professor all the questions I had, be it entropy, antimatter, or just trying to understand what buffers were. And through all this discussion, and his encouragement to find the answers I was struggling to find, I finally identified the dilemma I was facing.

In Gestalt Psychology, they teach you that the whole is always greater than the sum of it’s parts. But my question in response is how do we even know the whole, if we don’t even know the parts. Yes, it may be greater, but if inexistent, remains inexistent.

This is what breaks psychology away from STEM classes. While STEM always begins with fundamentals (cells, atoms, gravity, algebraic equations), psychology looks at everything big picture. And while I love the core tenants of psychology, learning how people think and interact with their environments, I am just not a big picture person.

And that is why I decided to declare a double major for Neuroscience.

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