6 Signs That You’re a Psychology Student

man at desk writing with laptop computer

When you’re a psychology student, no matter your age, occupation, or career trajectory, you’re going to get a lot of questions. Co-workers, family, and friends inquiring about your major may give you a funny look, as if they suspect you’re secretly analyzing them in mid-conversation. It comes with the territory, but it often leads to a lengthy explanation about a) the difference between psychology and psychiatry, b) the true purpose of your degree, and c) why majoring in psychology doesn’t necessarily mean you’re putting everyone’s words or behavior under a microscope.

So what does it mean to be a psychology student? It depends on who you ask, but Ashford psychology students at both bachelor’s and master's degree level can agree there are more than a few things they all have in common. Here are six telltale signs that you’re a psychology student:

1. Research doesn’t scare you. 

Psychology is the study of human behavior, so you fear nothing when it comes time to hit the books and organize your thoughts and theories. Even if you feel your skills aren’t up to par when you first start your psychology degree program, Ashford University courses such as Research Methods (PSY 326) and Psychological Testing and Assessment (PSY 640) will put you on the path to becoming an expert at posing questions and positing answers.

2. You put your skills to practice at work.

Because so many Ashford University students work full-time, they can’t avoid putting what they’ve learned in one night’s studies to work the next day. Psychology students, especially those with an interest in Organizational Psychology, will find themselves analyzing everything from the behavior of their co-workers to how teams could better work together company-wide. 

3. You’re an advocate for APA writing style.

Because psychology is a growth area and experience is valued in multiple industries, many Ashford students use their degrees as stepping-stones in their careers.

Ashford University students are more familiar than most with the American Psychological Association’s (APA) writing guidelines. It’s the standard format for all Ashford essays, and though it takes some getting used to at first, students make adjustments and many become experts by graduation. Psychology students take special pride in mastering APA format, because they know it’s forever linked to their degree and may be the format they’ll use for the rest of their lives.  

4. You seek out like-minded peers.

Distance learning doesn’t have to be impersonal, and your college experience is vastly improved when you’re able to connect with students who share similar interests. Ashford students have the advantage of joining the University’s Online Psychology Club. It connects learners to lectures and discussion boards where they can debate theories and compare research. There are also announcements for networking events in their communities. Like-minded students can even get involved in the American Psychological Association through its website

5. You have loftier goals, and your degree is the foundation.

Because psychology is a growth area and experience is valued in multiple industries, many Ashford students use their degrees as stepping-stones in their careers. 

“I received my undergraduate degree so I knew I could take care of my family. When I received my master’s degree, I did that for myself because I knew I still had the fire inside me to take it a little bit further,” explains Ashford Class of 2014 and 2016 graduate Olumide Onanuga, who applied his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology to a job with NASA and returned to Ashford for his Master of Public Administration

For Maritza Melendez, a bachelor’s degree in psychology was the first step toward her ultimate goal of becoming a therapist. Melendez, like Onanuga, sought a degree program that would allow her to support her three daughters while she worked toward a greater goal, saying, “I’m with them on my own, and they inspired me to show them if you have a dream you just keep on pushing, no matter what.”

6. You remain forever curious.

Whether you are analyzing your own behavior, positing new theories about age-old debates, or thinking about how your co-workers best perform when in group settings, you’ll always be asking questions. Your curiosity is what drew you to this degree, and it will only be enhanced by what you’ve learned in college. 

Unlike mathematics--in which one plus one is always two, or history--in which defining events already happened, psychology is an evolving discipline. Like all of your courses, you get out of it what you put into it. Fortunately, you’ll always have a community of like-minded students to share, discuss, and dissect your ideas.  

 

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Written by Ashford University staff

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