Having completed my first term at university, I’ve noticed a number of changes in myself since I’ve been home. Firstly, I definitely feel like I have grown as a person, I’m much more independent when it comes to looking after myself (which I suppose is to be expected) but I also feel as though I have more understanding and empathy for my parents in regards to things such as cooking, cleaning, and shopping. Meeting lots of different people at uni has also made me a lot more open minded and less judgmental when it comes to stereotypes.
My family have mentioned this to me, how I seem like a different person, and I understand why they think that. What I don’t understand is why some of them seem to think that this change is not due to my drastically different lifestyle, but because of the subject that I am studying.
This was bought to my attention Christmas day. We were in the post dinner phase, where everyone was happily full of food and the conversation was flowing nicely. I can’t remember what the conversation was about but I know that I was fully engaged, arguing my point (very persuasively I must add) and using my new found confidence to develop what I thought was a very mature discussion. Everything was going well until my Nanny interrupted us with “When I spoke to my friend at work and told her that my granddaughter was studying psychology she said “be careful, she’s going to start having an answer for everything now” and I can see what she means now.”
Immediately, my bubble was burst and my confidence was replaced by confusion and a little bit of annoyance. She wasn’t joking, my nanny. She was trying to make a point that she didn’t like the fact that I was arguing back, regardless of whether my arguments were valid or not. My Nanny isn’t that old fashioned, but in that moment I felt like she was telling me that I couldn’t have an opinion and the only reason I did was because I’d decided to study psychology at university.
The next day, the topic of my chosen degree was bought up again when I went with my boyfriend to visit his Grandpa who I’d never met before. I was on my best behaviour (as always) and everything seemed to be going fine until I wandered into the kitchen to get myself a drink. My boyfriend’s grandpa was in there and we immediately engaged in polite conversation in regards to wellbeing, Christmas, uni, etc. Mid-way through this discussion he questioned me as to what I studied. “You seem like a very logical person, I’m going to guess law?” I smiled and said that I had indeed studied law at A-level, but right now I’m studying psychology. His expression went from interest, to surprise, to sceptical almost instantly, yet it was slow enough for me to distinctly notice all three. He then nodded, smiled politely and left the room.
I’ve tried to Google it but still have no answer to why I seem to get this sort of reaction when I tell people (particularly old people) that I study psychology. My only guess is that they immediately assume that I’m going to start psychoanalyzing them in secret and discover things about them that even they don’t know! Maybe they think that I’m going to conduct some weird social experiment on them in which I conclude that are suffering from a superiority complex or that the reason for their aching back or numb big toe is actually due to a severe emotional trauma and the physical pain or paralysis is actually psychosomatic.
Truthfully, if anyone had bothered to ask me in detail what I learned about then I’m sure they would be disappointed to find out that it is all just based upon the biology of the brain and how our behaviour can differ in regards to the social situation.
I have no reason at all to believe that my slight change in character is due to the fact that I now know the names of every artery in the brain and how each one will lead to different stroke symptoms. Nor do I believe that my new found confidence is the result of the 1500 word essay I wrote on the relationship between intelligence and life expectancy.
That is all.