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    There seem to be a lot of you who were/are disappointed with psychology! What is it about the subject/degree that you dislike?

    I'm a third/penultimate year psychology student, and I really enjoy it. I took the subject because I wanted to do something science-ish but didn't want to continue biology or chemistry beyond A level. I thought about medicine, but my dad's a doctor, so I suppose I've seen all the bad sides of the job. I can see your frustrations with psychology - it's a young subject, and not entirely established as a science (as yet), I just wondered what you guys were disappointed with, and why you want to do medicine later on?
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    I just found a lot of Psychology a bit pointless to be honest. Maybe it was just the way my uni taught it. Interesting but i couldnt see the real world implications of a lot of it. My uni didnt really teach us anything about what psychologists actually do tho so maybe thats where they went wrong. This is controversial but I began to see psychology as a rather 'airy fairy' subject, like a lot of research is done to prove things that i felt were obvious. Like i kindof know they need to prove things but they seem pointless, I'm sure the stuff has application but maybe a million research studies later?!?

    I also really feel that I would be frustrated as a Psychologist working solely with peoples behaviour which is really unpredictable and frustrating. Medicine and other medical specialities involve behaviour but are much more practical and predictable I believe. Well maybe med is less predictable than the other specialities!

    I'm just frustrated that now I've done the degree I can't see anything I want to use it for! In my opinion they should dramatically cut down on the numbers allowed to study it (isnt it one of the courses with the most students) and then they could make it more vocational and involve work experience.

    Maybe the others can give opinions.
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    Can I ask where you studied? Just that your username is 'abgrad' and I'm at Aberdeen - just wondered if you were on the same course that I'm doing now

    I can completely see where you're coming from with that. I've definitely felt that a lot of the research done seems to be 'proving' things that seem completely obvious, but I also think it's important to do the research into things that seem obvious, in case they're totally wrong.

    I think I'm probably more interested in the physiology of the brain, and therefore neuroscience in that I think that psychology has an extremely important role in determining which parts of the brain are involved in each cognitive process. I've just completed (exams pending...) courses in neuroscience and perception which rooted the physiology of the brain in real life situations and processes, which for me was absolutely fascinating.

    I agree that people's behaviour is unpredictable, and that may be the thing that turns me away from a career as a psychologist. I just couldn't imagine starting another 4/5 year undergrad. course at the end of this one!

    I guess I sort of saw the undergrad. psychology course as the purely academic bit to lay down study skills and basic knowledge before the vocational bit as a post grad. to develop skills to enable people to work in the specific area they chose (clinical/educational/occupational...). I definitely agree that smaller numbers of students make the course more interactive though, if only so that you can design studies and undertake them individually (roll on thesis project!)
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    (Original post by abgrad)
    I just found a lot of Psychology a bit pointless to be honest. Maybe it was just the way my uni taught it. Interesting but i couldnt see the real world implications of a lot of it. My uni didnt really teach us anything about what psychologists actually do tho so maybe thats where they went wrong. This is controversial but I began to see psychology as a rather 'airy fairy' subject, like a lot of research is done to prove things that i felt were obvious. Like i kindof know they need to prove things but they seem pointless, I'm sure the stuff has application but maybe a million research studies later?!?

    I also really feel that I would be frustrated as a Psychologist working solely with peoples behaviour which is really unpredictable and frustrating. Medicine and other medical specialities involve behaviour but are much more practical and predictable I believe. Well maybe med is less predictable than the other specialities!

    I'm just frustrated that now I've done the degree I can't see anything I want to use it for! In my opinion they should dramatically cut down on the numbers allowed to study it (isnt it one of the courses with the most students) and then they could make it more vocational and involve work experience.

    Maybe the others can give opinions.
    Pretty much summed it up for me.

    As someone else posted; I also much prefer the neuroscience within Psychology and I deeply regret not taking an offer to study Neuroscience instead. I really love the Biological based stuff, and as a result I am enjoying my optional modules more than my core ones.

    I'm hoping to transfer to Royal Holloway next year, whose course is much more neuroscience based.
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    I think with Psychology you need to find your niche, so some areas will seem dull, or stupid even. Like Godspeed you prefer the biological side, etc. I personally cannot abide cultural or developmental psychology; it's more sociology and a lot of umming and ahhing about nothing. I've had to do two assingments on that already and it just doesn't interest me at all. I'm interested in the clinical aspect most of all, so that's what is keeping me going.
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    (Original post by GodspeedGehenna)

    I'm hoping to transfer to Royal Holloway next year, whose course is much more neuroscience based.
    I think most psychology degrees cover really similar material in the 1st & 2nd years if they're BPS accredited. There's not much hardcore neuro in a psychology degree. You'll get more of a basic introduction, bit different from a neuroscience degree.
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    (Original post by GodspeedGehenna)
    Pretty much summed it up for me.

    As someone else posted; I also much prefer the neuroscience within Psychology and I deeply regret not taking an offer to study Neuroscience instead. I really love the Biological based stuff, and as a result I am enjoying my optional modules more than my core ones.

    I'm hoping to transfer to Royal Holloway next year, whose course is much more neuroscience based.
    I definitely prefer the biological parts myself after studying perceptual processes and development, despite not having another science, I really do enjoy it over other parts. Hence the reason why I have chosen courses with quite a lot of biological components.

    Good luck with your transfer, RHUL is probably in my chosen two, I really like it there.
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    (Original post by Lord Asriel)
    --snip
    I agree that the use of psychometric testing is obviously necessary, re: your first example, how else are you supposed to assess learning difficulties, but what I'm really questioning is the validity of the tests. I do apologise for the sweeping statements, I tend to get a bit blunt when I talk about the bits of psychology that annoy me. Obviously I'm no expert, but I think the Oxford 2nd year Psych course tends to give more detailed reading lists than a lot of other universities so I hope my validity argument isn't coming from my behind *too* much And I'm also very glad that there is someone on here who does actually like Psychology, you'd get depressed just listening to some of us

    (Original post by abgrad)
    LatinMachine, hows the medicine app going? Two people on my psych course are now doing med and I am hopefully going to be starting a similar course this year! I seriously considered med but decided it wasnt for me. Are you happy having done psych and not med straight away? I kindof regret psych but it was interesting and I grew up a lot but its still taken me a couple of years since grad to work out what I want to do. I wouldnt have minded the first degree so much if I'd gone straight into the second but as it stands I'll be 30 when I finish this 4-5 year course assuming I get in! Living on pennies again! Hmmm.
    Hopefully the pennies will be worth it in the end! I'm definitely happy I did another degree first - for a start, I would never have got into Oxford for medicine, and I have absolutely adored my time here. I didn't do much work last year and still came out with a borderline 2.2/2.1 at the end of my second year, which obviously I'm intending to bring up this year, but I'm content with that and the other stuff I achieved whilst not studying! I didn't like school that much and it's amazing to come to a place where I have so much in common with other people, finally.
    I had no idea at all about Medicine at 17 - I started working as a Health Care Assistant initially as psychology work experience to say I'd worked with people. Two years on it's still my holiday job and through it I discovered I fancied wearing the stethoscope I certainly wouldn't have been ready for medicine at 17 - I've done a lot of growing up at uni, and I feel I'm now ready to take my finals and then my next degree seriously. I think I would've become a very disillusioned doctor had I tried the first time round!

    To answer someone else's question, the methodology of psychology really frustrates me. I just wonder if any of these tests are actually measuring anything meaningful. My third year option choices and my research project have also pushed me in the medicine direction. I'm only really interested in psychological disorders to be honest, and the 3rd year EP options on that topic were sorta split into biological or cognitive-type options. I chose to study Personality and Psychological Disorders (self-explanatory, which although it includes the dreaded personality word, reading about personality disorders makes it all worthwhile), an option called Pathologies of Belief (essentially about delusions, either due to brain trauma or schizophrenia, also included a lot of stuff which was a little more philosophical than I usually go, and there are certainly no concrete answers for this subject, but it was such a well-run+interesting option that we were all riveted), and I wanted to do an option about psychology and genetics but they didn't run it in the end, so I've picked an option called Episodic and Semantic Memory instead (quite biology-based). I deliberately did not choose an option about cognitive factors in health. However, I went for a research project that is rather like the research clinical psychologists engage in - testing the effects of a new CBT-type procedure. I thought I would be engaged because of its practical applications, its relevance to disorders. However, I'm just not, and I'd hate to have a career researching that stuff (but if my supervisor ever sees that she might kill me).
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    Please bear in mind, as an undergraduate you will be extremely limited in the type of research you can partake in. It will be small scale by the restraints of time, etc.

    I just wonder if any of these tests are actually measuring anything meaningful.
    Once you grasp the strengths (and more importantly the limitations) of the tests you use, this question becomes a lot easier to answer. 9 times out of 10 you are looking at differences across a population that has used a given test and you are using a macro level quantitative method in order to guide an individual piece of work.

    Remember, tests are usually the starting place, think of it like using the big UCAS handbook (the a broad psychometric test) before going into an individual universities prospectus (using detailed observation and more specific measures) before finally making a visit to the actual campus (working in tandem with the individual and fitting your intervention with what works for that client)
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    I'm sorry, but Psychology is not a useless degree! It's studying human thought and behaviour - something that is widely relevant in most job areas, and in life generally!
    Psychology graduates have to be numerate and literate which is a major factor for many recruiting companies. Psychology students graduate with a well-rounded qualification.

    I'm studying Psychology, and have found myself getting rather defensive of it as a subject! I don't mean to rant - of course everyone is entitled to their opinion. Some people do not understand that it is a science - I will be receiving a BSc when I graduate - and am being taught difficult subject matter. It is not a doss subject!

    I know this is just my opinion, but you seem pretty ignorant of Psychology as a subject. Of course, it is a useless degree if you want to be an engineer, or rocket scientist. Obviously then, doing a Psychology degree is a complete waste of time!
    However, think of other careers - medicine, teaching, working for the Government...in any occupational setting there is something Psychology has to offer, because in any job which involves people, you have skill in. For most careers, you need to do further study than just an undergraduate course anyway.

    Your point about 'only doing it if you can't think of anything else...' - there is probably some element of truth in what you say. But I would argue that is is popular for those people, because of the well-rounded degree you obtain. If you don't know what you want to do after graduating, then it is a good option, because it doesn't limit you, as, say...Geography, or Economics would.
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    (Original post by XCRUSHESX)
    Well, I am aspiring to become a clinical psychologist and have a genuine love for psychology. I feel like I am actually 'made' for the subject [weird i know lol] and in my A2 class I see so many students that are just going through the motion. Rarely do I see passion in the students in my class and it is kinda piss taking because I think, why bother coming in, or bother taking this subject. There are people who actually try their best and are serious about it, and then there are people who are just there just for the sake of it and I feel like it's these people that make psychology seem like a useless subject, because so much psychology students couldn't give a crap about it and they make the a distinct fraction of College and Uni classes.

    hmm
    i feel exactly the same way! except in my class most people like the subject, but i don't see passion in many of them.
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    Psychology isn't a useless degree as you get to study something you really enjoy (if you do enjoy psychology anyway ), rather than go into something just for the simple fact that it will give you a job at the end.
    .....Anyway you WILL be able to get a job at the end of doing a Psychology degree, maybe not directly linked with Psychology (if you don't choose to carry on with a MSc or PhD), but the degree sets you up with an abundance of skills such as Essay writing, Statistics, Analysis etc that many employers look for in applicants... Just like a Law degree, you can't just stop at a law degree and wonder off to become a barristor or a solicitor! You have to study further on to BVCs etc.

    What ever degree you choose to study there is always a chance that you will hate it, if that happens YOU have to do something about that, don't moan to other people and put them off by saying that it is a horrible, useless subject because they may love it if they take it!

    Sorry if i seem a bit angry.. just get a little bit too into debates like this lol
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    Well Psychology is not a useless degree. It depends what YOU make of it. If you are a 4th year going for a PhD and you have not even bothered to get experience then chances are you wont work in psychology.

    I'm a 1st year (with the OU but going to Aberdeen uni this year) and because I have done psychology at HNC and 1st year level I already have a research assistant job at Glasgow Uni with a Prof with a good reputation (nature publications etc..). I am NOT making myself look great here, I'm trying to prove that if you move your ass and do something about it, you WILL get a job in it. Be it clinical or research. It's the same with most science/soc sci's. Experience = career.
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    (Original post by LatinMachine)
    And I'm also very glad that there is someone on here who does actually like Psychology, you'd get depressed just listening to some of us
    Tell me about it... =/

    To answer someone else's question, the methodology of psychology really frustrates me. I just wonder if any of these tests are actually measuring anything meaningful.
    Obviously the mind and behaviour are extremely difficult areas to study quantitatively. However, we're all human and have the same basic physiology. I want to know how that physiology leads to the development of consciousness, personality, emotion and all the other complexities of human life. I want to be involved in researching further into this and watching the understanding of psychology and research methods develop over the coming decades. The stating the obvious and inexact methods can be frustrating but I hope I'll be able to keep focused on the longterm goals and bigger picture. After all, if everyone gave up when things were difficult, we'd never get anywhere.

    However, it's admittedly quite difficult not to get disillusioned surrounded by so much negativity and scorn towards psychology. I hope I can hang onto my current beliefs about the subject when I actually begin studying it.

    an option called Pathologies of Belief (essentially about delusions, either due to brain trauma or schizophrenia, also included a lot of stuff which was a little more philosophical than I usually go, and there are certainly no concrete answers for this subject, but it was such a well-run+interesting option that we were all riveted)
    Oo that sounds fascinating... I might see if I can find anything good to read about delusions. I read The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat a couple of years back. That was good; that was what first got me interested in neuropsychology.
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    (Original post by Meliae)
    Oo that sounds fascinating... I might see if I can find anything good to read about delusions. I read The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat a couple of years back. That was good; that was what first got me interested in neuropsychology.
    I recommend Method in Madness: Case Studies in Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, by Halligan and Marshall (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Method-Madne...651545&sr=8-5#) for some excellent case studies, also look for stuff by V.S. Ramanchandran (he works with Oliver Sacks and appears on TV as the neuro expert a lot). He came to Oxford to give a guest lecture last term and he was excellent - he explained his research on synaethesia and phantom limb syndrome and said some really interesting stuff about how it sheds light on normal human functioning. If you ask me about psychology in general, yes I will probably be negative - but ask me about cognitive neuropsychiatry, and I can rant on joyously for hours. If I ever had to go into research, it would be this area and I would be very happy in it. Everyone has their niche, it's just unfortunate that I only got to study mine in the final year.

    However, it's admittedly quite difficult not to get disillusioned surrounded by so much negativity and scorn towards psychology. I hope I can hang onto my current beliefs about the subject when I actually begin studying it.
    I wish it were only other people's opinion of psychology that put me off it! Other peoples' opinions are easy to ignore, it's what I've found out for myself that's put me off. I felt exactly the same as you in 6th Form, certain that I wanted to make psychology my career (admittedly I was planning on Health Psychology, so it's not like I made a massive leap into medicine), I had read well around the subject and was passionate about it. However, it turned out that this *still* didn't prepare me for the reality of the degree, there is absolutely no way that any pre-university work can. Although I had convinced my future tutors that I knew what the degree was about (I said I knew there was no Freud!), and I had convinced myself, nobody warned me that it would be even more different than I had imagined (especially as I hadn't even looked at Oxford until two weeks before the deadline). I would much rather someone had warned me, and I might have been more comfortable in the first two years - this is all I am trying to do for you I do not want to put you off, on the contrary, I am hoping it'll help you enjoy the degree more.
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    I felt exactly the same as you in 6th Form, certain that I wanted to make psychology my career
    I was the opposite.I didn't do psychology A-level. Even though I chose a very cognitive/ biological psychology degree, I was very disillusioned during my undergraduate studies about the psychology part. I went onto do research in neuroscience/ neuropsych, but only at that point I became interested in doing applied psychology and ended up doing clinical work. Its not for everyone, but its very easy to write off before you get to do any real psychological work.

    If I am being honest I enjoy psychology far more now than I did as a student. You see what those principles do in the real world, its like going from learning the alphabet to actually writing poetry. I no longer get defensive when people say "Its not a real science" or "Its all airy fairy". So is life I say. Deal with it.
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    (Original post by LatinMachine)
    I recommend Method in Madness: Case Studies in Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, by Halligan and Marshall (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Method-Madne...651545&sr=8-5#) for some excellent case studies, also look for stuff by V.S. Ramanchandran (he works with Oliver Sacks and appears on TV as the neuro expert a lot). He came to Oxford to give a guest lecture last term and he was excellent - he explained his research on synaethesia and phantom limb syndrome and said some really interesting stuff about how it sheds light on normal human functioning. If you ask me about psychology in general, yes I will probably be negative - but ask me about cognitive neuropsychiatry, and I can rant on joyously for hours. If I ever had to go into research, it would be this area and I would be very happy in it. Everyone has their niche, it's just unfortunate that I only got to study mine in the final year.
    Sounds good, I'll add it to my ever expanding list on Amazon of psych books I want... Ramanchandran sounds familiar, though not entirely sure where from. Possibly he was mentioned in that Sacks book.

    I wish it were only other people's opinion of psychology that put me off it! Other peoples' opinions are easy to ignore, it's what I've found out for myself that's put me off.
    That's not really what I meant... I meant I hope I don't change my mind when I start studying it. It's easy enough to ignore what people who know nothing about the subject say. (For instance one of my friends thinks it's about telling how people are feeling or something from looking at them and calls that 'pure psychology'. Apparently everything that actually is taught in psychology isn't really psychology at all. :rolleyes:) However, seeing people who were enthusiastic about studying it but then changed their minds is admittedly quite disconcerting. By the way, I was wondering, why didn't you switch to physiology and psych if you were interested in medicine and hated most of psych? Did you decide that too late to change?

    I felt exactly the same as you in 6th Form, certain that I wanted to make psychology my career (admittedly I was planning on Health Psychology, so it's not like I made a massive leap into medicine), I had read well around the subject and was passionate about it. However, it turned out that this *still* didn't prepare me for the reality of the degree, there is absolutely no way that any pre-university work can. Although I had convinced my future tutors that I knew what the degree was about (I said I knew there was no Freud!), and I had convinced myself, nobody warned me that it would be even more different than I had imagined (especially as I hadn't even looked at Oxford until two weeks before the deadline). I would much rather someone had warned me, and I might have been more comfortable in the first two years - this is all I am trying to do for you I do not want to put you off, on the contrary, I am hoping it'll help you enjoy the degree more.
    Health psychology? Isn't that about helping people quit smoking and cope with terminal illness and such? I actually decided not to apply to Bath because it said on the website they focused on that and social psych. (Firstly it sounds incredibly dull - after having healthy eating, smoking and the environment weasle their way into every subject since nursery, I'm sick to death of them all. Secondly, a lot of it is stating the obvious and any experiments would be full of confounding variables and prove very little, if anything.) No offence...

    I started off looking at educational psychology in y8, then gradually moved through considering various areas. Currently most interested in (the physiological basis of) consciousness and such as I said in my last post, which is nice because it blends philosophy, biology and psychology. (Not the faintest idea how that is researched, currently selecting books on the topic to read. Don't suppose you have any recommendations?) Edit - just got your email. Looks very good, links to the consciousness thing too pretty well.

    So in what way was it different to what you expected? What you said about the methodology and lack of concrete proof being frustrating? I think I can cope with that and consider it a jumping off point for future research and progress. (Still trying to be optimistic. )
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    (Original post by Lord Asriel)
    I was the opposite.I didn't do psychology A-level. Even though I chose a very cognitive/ biological psychology degree, I was very disillusioned during my undergraduate studies about the psychology part.
    Damnit! Not another one... There must be someone who enjoyed it, or at least didn't get disillusioned?

    I went onto do research in neuroscience/ neuropsych
    What was that like?
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    I think you got the wrong end of the stick. I think psychology is great, I just think the undergraduate stuff doesn't show it off to its best or allow you to get a real idea about how psychologists work.

    My neurospsych days were really enjoyable. I was able to use MRI scanners and see how brain structure and electrical activation linked with various performances on psychometric tests of function. It was what you may consider hardcore empirical science. I published papers, went to a few conferences and quite liked the scene.

    However, I felt working at that level it was quite abstract and you never really saw how your work impacted on real people. Working in clinical practice is is far more satisfying in that way. However, I plan in the long term to mix scientific research with clinical work and bump along from there.
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    (Original post by Lord Asriel)
    I think you got the wrong end of the stick. I think psychology is great, I just think the undergraduate stuff doesn't show it off to its best or allow you to get a real idea about how psychologists work.
    I don't think I got the wrong end of the stick, I just meant at undergrad level. I was surprised you didn't enjoy psychology undergrad much either as you've been so positive about the subject in your other posts.

    My neurospsych days were really enjoyable. I was able to use MRI scanners and see how brain structure and electrical activation linked with various performances on psychometric tests of function. It was what you may consider hardcore empirical science. I published papers, went to a few conferences and quite liked the scene.
    I've never actually been that keen on science although it's growing on me. I think it's partly because at school level, it's so rigid and full of half truths and incomplete explanations. I'm enjoying A level more because things are explained properly on a molecular level (well, more so than before). Also, things like the composition of petrol aren't particularly interesting to me, whereas how the brain works is. Also, so far, it's all short answer questions for which you must have the exact wording they're looking for or no marks and no room for real thought or debate. It feels very spoonfed (although at least it's easy :p:). English lit on the other hand is more of a discussion, which is more enjoyable and you have to put in effort, ideas and analysis. I never have understood why science subjects are seen as superior and more rigorous by a lot of people...

    (Sorry I have no idea how that relates to your original point. When I ramble about psychology and such it's because I'm trying to work out exactly what it is I want so even though it looks like irrelevent drivel, it's very useful to me and comments are always appreciated.)
 
 
 
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