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How difficult is psychology? How did you overcome those difficulties?

In my previous post, I expressed my interest in becoming an art therapist and got some helpful advice. I decided the best option would be to major in psych and minor in art.

My only problem is that I have never been the best writer and, after reading some of the posts here, I'm a little spooked about what the future holds.

Can anyone who has studied psychology give me their input on the difficulty of this major and how you've deal with/overcame these difficulties? I'd greatly appreciated it!

(Any psych resources would also be appreciated)

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Jessica Dominique’s Answer

Hello Janye,

Let’s get this out of the way: you don’t necessarily need to be a great writer, BUT you will be writing many research papers that require APA formatting. Simply put, it is more important to learn (and your grades will depend on this) APA format and citations than to be a great writer. I, too, love art and have taken many art courses; I think incorporating art is a fantastic accompaniment to your psychology path.

In addition, a BS in Psychology focuses more on research and math/science and less on writing and communication. A BS in Psychology will require statistics and possibly chemistry or biology classes (I chose that path). If you decide to take a more “research route”, most of your writing will be cited from external sources. Keep in mind: Psychology is one of the most popular disciplines to major in; in my various psychology classes, I have encountered a diverse grouping of people, many of whom weren’t superb writers, but they understood the concepts - which was the critical factor for grading.

https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/index.html

https://www.verywellmind.com/ba-bs-psychology-difference-2795139


I hope my experience helps!

Warmly,

Jessica Dominique
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much! Your experience is extremely helpful! Janye
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Sasha’s Answer

Hi there! I graduated with a B.A. in Psychology in 2014 and found it to be a fascinating and fulfilling degree. The coursework was challenging but not so difficult as to deter me - in fact, being able to dive deeper into ideas that had always interested me is what kept me engaged. The most challenging psych classes for me were those which focused on statistics, research practice, and writing scholarly articles. Though I enjoyed the concepts and application of this field (e.g. industrial psychology, cognitive psychology), I quickly realized that pursuing research and writing articles was not my passion nor would I want it to be my future career. For me, that's where the B.S. versus B.A. was critical. The foundational coursework for each degree was identical, but as I advanced into my third and fourth year of college, I followed the B.A. path so as to lean into my interests. As previous respondents have noted, a B.S. will be more research- and science-based, whereas a B.A. will focus more on the communications, theory, and direct application of psychology concepts in a career or workplace. Not all colleges offer the B.A. but if yours does, be sure to check how the requirements might vary and which path you are more comfortable pursuing.
Thank you comment icon Thank you, Sasha! My school only offers the B.A. which aligns with my interests as well! Janye
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Gena’s Answer

Hi Janye,

I can relate to your concern as I was so daunted by the academic work I procrastinated my post graduate study for 10 years!

I did find the course very hard but I am so pleased I did it. I am not naturally academic but I got through it. I hope you feel encouraged by this, along with the other answer here.

My writing improved simply with practice but a chapter written by Daryl Bem was a real game changer for me. I still think about his words ‘aim for accuracy and clarity’ anytime I write. Bem’s chapter is about writing a paper for publication but the principles apply to any sort of writing:
https://web.mit.edu/curhan/www/docs/Articles/15341_Readings/Doctoral_Resources/Bem.D.J.2000.Writing.an.Empirical.Art.GUIDE.TO.PUBLISHING.pdf

I was also fortunate to come across the course ‘Mindfulness for Academic Success’ while on a placement at Monash Uni in Australia. The course was excellent and helped manage stress and procrastination. It’s only offered to students of Monash Uni as far as I know but I’ve included a link so you can have a look at the course outline and maybe find something similar online:
https://www.monash.edu/students/support/health/mindfulness/programs/mindfulness-for-academic-success

All the best with your future studies. Not all psychology students are natural academics or great writers (me included) but with the right guidance it’s possible to get through it. You have made a great start by asking here.

Gena
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much, Gena! Your encouragement and resources are extremely helpful! Janye
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Doctorate Student’s Answer

Greetings. Cheers to you for chasing your dreams. Even the best writers have issues once in awhile. No need to worry as there are many tips professors will point out. I found the following links to be helpful during graduate school when pursuing my Master's in Psychology:

https://apastyle.apa.org/?_gl=1*6wg3ty*_ga*MTExNTQ0MjEyOS4xNjkxNDQ4MTYz*_ga_SZXLGDJGNB*MTY5MTQ0ODE2My4xLjEuMTY5MTQ0ODU1Ni4wLjAuMA..&_ga=2.169022626.2077944176.1691448163-1115442129.1691448163
https://www.apa.org/education-career

Best of Luck!
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