The Impact of Studying Psychology

At 9:57 am, on a cold January morning, I sat at a table in the back of a corner classroom, thinking that I had figured out exactly where I was headed with my life and exactly what I wanted. I had it all perfectly together, with my favorite RSVP gel pens, college ruled notebook, and trapper keeper binder, already stocked with titled dividers, such as “SYLLABUS,” which was flipped open and ready to go. I had even managed to skim through the first chapter of my Psychology text book (later I found out that I can be a bit obsessive J). My life was about to change.

At the front of the classroom, behind a standard edition teaching podium, sat Professor Michael Devoley, (later to be referred to as a “hippie in preppy clothes”). Judging by the smug look on his face, he must have been thinking about the moments, weeks, and months to come, and the world of knowledge he had to offer those willing to seek after it. Although, it is likely that the prospect of “messing with some heads,” was probably enough to get him excited.

Professor Devoley began with a hard pill to swallow. Students who walked through the door prior to class, as individuals, walked out, fifty minutes later, through a box as simple lab rats. I became skeptical, anxious, and curious. Are we all REALLY just rats in a cage?

Professor Devoley did a fantastic job defining what it means to be AVERAGE(Cue Devoley’s Sidekicks: the normal curve, bio-psycho-social-spiritual pyramid, and the ABC’s- affect, behavior, cognition!). He made it clear that the majority of people (96%), although their parents may tell them differently, are AVERAGE. For me, this was difficult to take in. I had always been someone who excelled in whatever I had done. This lesson is important because it enables and allows us to be understanding and embrace who we are as people, not individually, but universally.

By the time I had digested those two concepts, I felt like broken clay on a wheel. I became extremely thirsty for more. It was perfect timing to cover the brain. Learning about the frontal lobe and its judgment functions, changed my life (and allowed me to develop more patience for my brother’s, still developing, frontal lobe)! J

Psychology is such an interesting field. There is so much knowledge and understanding available, and yet there is still so much mystery that remains. While covering the brain, I began to consider the nature of human beings. We are expansionists in nature, always seeking a frontier, always trying to expand and explore, even the mind.

Class after class, I found myself losing track of time and waiting until the last second to pack up my things. I often worried that I would forget the last part of the lecture in a rush to get to the following class. After all, it is likely that we will forget 80% of life in general, remembering mainly the agony and the ecstasy.

I came to discover that a good portion of what we were covering was only a preview of psychology, and so I decided to become a double major (political science/psychology). I fell in love with psychology. Maybe not so much fell in love, because that doesn’t really exist, but I loved who I became, while studying it. It became a catalyst for finding out who I was/am, what I REALLY want, and where I was/am going. Most importantly, for the first time, my decision to pursue psychology wasn’t something influenced by an attempt to please, or pacify an outside person. My motivation had completely changed. I became selfish, in a good way, and never thought I would be able to say that and make sense!

As much as the class itself allowed me to become ME, I am extremely grateful for the counsel, advice, and guidance of Michael Devoley. I stayed after class often with an endless list of questions, and the patience I was shown is greatly appreciated! I was a student, who began knowing everything, then suddenly knew nothing, and now knows SOMETHING.