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Demystifying an Undergrad Psychology course

images (11)The Secret Life of a Psychology Undergrad

  1. You might think we read your mind. But no, we don’t. (Turns out you don’t have that many thoughts, eh?)
  2. Psychology is all about Freud. Oh, how I wish! But, sadly it is not. We spend years getting introduced to Freud, yes. But is that all we study? No way!
  3. We can read your future. Actually, we don’t even know if we will get to major in Psychology, or if we want to.
  4. We don’t have much to study. Not as much as the natural sciences, anyway. Have you ever said, ‘Women! Noone can ever understand them?’ Well, yeah. Turns out, neither can we understand men, or even cockroaches for that matter.
  5. It’s all fluke, anyway.  There are shocking experiments and results about the human behaviour, making you wonder about humans and their sanity. Ever heard of the Lucifer Effect?
  6. It’s not real. Well, hard luck! It is all real. (Or as real as human thoughts, emotions and behaviour are, anyway.) The methods may not be accurate, but they are the best there is in any behavioural or social science. You can even choose statistics as a tool. Foolproof enough?
  7. It’s just arm chair philosophy. You’ll be surprised to know that most of us don’t realize where it turns from philosophy to biology and back. We study the brain, the hormones, evolution, as much as we study existentialism.  Cognitive Neuroscience? Evolutionary basis of love? We know all about it!
  8. What? Behavioural Economics? I thought economics was a quantitative subject? Clearly you haven’t studied Econ either. Ever heard of Keynes? We borrow and lend to many different subjects, including Economics, Linguistics, Biology, Life Sciences, and of course, Sociology, Anthropology and all those subjects you haven’t even probably heard of.tumblr_mloesj1eg91qg9t3eo1_1280
  9. So emotions is surely all you study? Did you not hear me? We study behaviour, as a response to emotive, cognitive, cultural, social, and biological process. If I had to study aggression, I’d say it is a function of anger, frustration, socialization, what the culture thinks is acceptable, and the underlying  neural, hormonal and genetic influences.
  10. Abnormal behaviour? Oh, yes! We all love abnormal psychology. We hear the sympotoms of schizophrenia and think, Hey! I am schizophrenic! We love categorizing people disorder-wise. Helps us memorize them.  It’s called chunking. (Yes, we have a word for it.) But we also study normal behaviour.download (6)
  11. Is it just therapy? Is biology only medicine?tumblr_msxsg6VNkL1qjywvlo1_1280
  12. So it is fun and easy? Sadly, not always. We work for years and years and years, but sometimes, you can’t even tell the difference between Erikson and Freud. And then there are those people, you have it so easy! Have you ever tried to memorize a hundred different research studies? A hundred different names? A hundred different years? It’s as much fun as staying up all night and still not knowing if you’d pass or no. Just about the same as other subjects, you think?

How to recognize a psychology undergrad:stress-cartoon

  • Uses words like disposition, cognition, traits, attribution, aggression, etc. in daily speech.
  •  Loves analyzing people and intimidating them with rhetorics  like You know what Freud would have to say about it, right?
  •   Inferring attributions to everything you say or do.
  •   What if she actually does have depression? Is something you hear us say, if someone behaves oddly for more than two months.
  •   Crack DSM-V related jokes. Every day.
  •  Makes references to Freud, Pavlov or Skinner. Alternately, refers to their theories.
  •  Debates actively (either with others or internally) whether certain behaviours are inborn or learnt.
  •   Uses statistics to explain why you are wrong and how you are wrong. Also, gives explanations as to why you must have inferred it that way.
  • Checks every piece of literature, music and art for its psychological soundness, and gets annoyed when they don’t match.
  • Divides every behaviour in terms of its cognition, emotion and possible biological factors.
  • Backs every statement with a theory, and a consequent research.
  • May say ‘I think I am stuck at security needs. My dad should give me more pocket money so that I can reach self actualization faster.’tumblr_msn8pdYPAs1ql2603o1_500 d

Someone Like You.

 I fully intend it to be dumb and hence funny. In my defense, I was sleep deprived at the time of writing. Anyway, Read and Review. Image

I heard that you’re settled down
That you found a girl and you’re married now.
I heard that your dreams came true.
Guess she gave you things I didn’t give to you.

It had been three months sitting at home, almost in peace, as she walked through the doors of what will be home to her for the next five years. New beginnings awaited her as she was leaving old friends behind to carve new memories. College life, indeed, would be much different from school life. She would be a new person, entirely and would thankfully leave behind old things which she hated, and voluntarily, for that matter. She was excited to leave behind the enemy she loved the most- Math.

Old friend, why are you so shy?
Ain’t like you to hold back or hide from the light.

She hated everything about Math-the fact that there was only one right answer and the fact that she couldn’t find the right answers most of the times. She just wanted to get rid of it, and every passing moment of enduring it agonized her further. The fact that she couldn’t find meaning in it; and the fact that she couldn’t interpret it in a way that suited her did not help her at all. The fact that now she got to drop it with honour made her happy. New subjects which were more interpretive such as Literature and Psychology made her feel elated.

I hate to turn up out of the blue uninvited
But I couldn’t stay away, I couldn’t fight it.
I had hoped you’d see my face and that you’d be reminded
That for me it isn’t over.


But it seemed that Math didn’t want to leave her at all. Probably it was reminded of the great times they spent together, locked up in a room, all alone. Probably it loved her so much, that it must have felt like crying on a pillow when she decided to break it off with it. So it followed her, where she was uniting with the new love of her life- Economics. And also Psychology. It seemed that Economics was best friends with Math, and they were such great friends that they always went hand in hand. She didn’t realize it until it was too late-and why not! Economics had only showed her its Marshallian side for the time she interacted with it for the first few years. It wasn’t until she fell in love that it showed her its other sides.

Never mind, I’ll find someone like you
I wish nothing but the best for you too
Don’t forget me, I beg
I remember you said,
“Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead,
Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead”

But she was trapped. She loved Economics too much to leave it and carry on. She decided to ignore Math as much as she could, but also to treat it with maturity. So she interacted with it in the most minimal way. She decided to treat it with civility-or as much civility as it could muster. Math, on the other hand was so miserable, that it never left her. It wasn’t mature enough, and out of the blue threw Calculus at her, even though it knew it made her uncomfortable. She knew it wasn’t over her, but she didn’t harbor much feeling for it anymore. She thought the period of interaction with it-which was most of her life, was something she only wanted to look back and laugh upon. Sadly, it never allowed her to be that person.

You know how the time flies
Only yesterday was the time of our lives
We were born and raised
In a summer haze
Bound by the surprise of our glory days

It wasn’t that there weren’t others, Math knew. But it was her. Something about making people who didn’t love you to love you. And as it thought of the times they had fun hurt it. And their relationship wasn’t as much of as a disaster, either. She was glorious in its company most of the times. There were times when they were best of friends, and sometimes she fell asleep in its loving arms. The best part about her was that she tried her best to solve all of its problems. She did her best to try and solve all the problems it threw at her for most of her life. It didn’t know time flew from when she was almost a toddler, when they were first introduced formally to the time when she officially broke up with it, to embrace new subjects in her life. New friends.

I hate to turn up out of the blue uninvited
But I couldn’t stay away, I couldn’t fight it.
I’d hoped you’d see my face and that you’d be reminded
That for me it isn’t over.

So when she took it off with Economics and Psychology, it was happy-because at least for the next two years it’d still have some kind of interactions with her, at least through Statistics. At least it was still in her mind. That made it happy enough.

Never mind, I’ll find someone like you
I wish nothing but the best for you too
Don’t forget me, I beg
I remember you said,
“Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead.”

There were millions who fell at its feet, worshiping it like it were an incarnation of God, but it hurt it that she didn’t think of it like that. It wished her luck, but it hoped that she never forgot it. At least she loved it, even if it was more because she hated it so much. She also thought about the times they spent together. She thought of how she dedicated so much of her time to it, trying to solve all its problems, but it never seemed to get over! It also drained her physically and emotionally, so much so that she didn’t have enough energy to spend time with other friends of her.

Nothing compares
No worries or cares
Regrets and mistakes
They are memories made.
Who would have known how bittersweet this would taste?

Yet, when she wasn’t faced with it, she thought of all the good times she had with it. She thought of the funny problems it had. She failed to understand why would anybody eat up 250 mangoes at one time? Apart from that hurting the Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility (although some people would call it an exception to the law-because of it being irrational, she had other explanations to give them, one of which was how Economics didn’t show its complete self to her till she loved it way too much, but she didn’t wish to go there.), wouldn’t that person fall sick? Or even die?

Yet, she didn’t regret having Math in her life. It made her realize who she was and what she wasn’t. The memories were bittersweet, especially when she didn’t have to directly deal with it.

Never mind, I’ll find someone like you
I wish nothing but the best for you too
Don’t forget me, I beg
I remember you said,
“Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead.”

She hoped it would just let go of her, like she has. At least now she has the loving company of people who got her and whom she understood as easily. Although it wasn’t a very easy and smooth friendship, she at least felt the connection- so much that she was willing to go the extra mile just to satisfy both their interests, something she never felt with Math.

Never mind, I’ll find someone like you
I wish nothing but the best for you too
Don’t forget me, I beg
I remember you said,
“Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead,
Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead.”


Math knew that it would know her for the rest of her life, even though she didn’t know it yet. It knew it’d be able to follow her to her grave. But probably it didn’t know that this relationship only hurt her. Although it was benefiting from being exposed to another person, it failed to understand how much of an impact it had on her, and not necessarily the good kind either. 

Loving, Leaving, Knowing: Part 1.


Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

She’d known love for a long time now. Every passing moment, it was expanding and growing; the heart sometimes missing a beat when she thought of him; her eyes lighting up, as if under starlight and her lips curling up into a smile. They’d professed their love, yes; but it only hurt her more, for it was only a day too late. They both were shocked to hear what they were waiting to hear since the past couple of months. They were both embarrassed about not letting the other know earlier, when it was possible for them to figure out what to do with it. But now, after all this wait, it just felt pointless. Probably something else could have been the matter, had they had the guts. If only.


When she heard the news that he was going to leave the small town, she was shattered. She wished she could do something to make him stop. To just hold him and never let him go. Would he miss her? Would he keep in touch? She was in love with him, of course. But was he? She wished she could know.

She met him, that night, just outside his gate. She couldn’t help it, help holding that piercing thought to herself. She could feel the butterflies in her stomach as she breathed in the cool sea air. She closed her eyes and took a deeper breath. She imagined the worst possible thing, as she resolved to tell him.

‘You may hate me for this, or you may laugh’, she said, ‘but I’ve had a massive crush on you for the longest time.’

‘I’m sorry?’ he laughed. ‘You what?’

“I’m serious. You may want to believe me when I say something of this magnitude,’ she complained.

He stopped laughing and held her hand, giving her goosebumps.

‘I’ve been meaning to tell you this for a long time too.’

‘Say what?’ she asked, deepening her breaths, trying to concentrate, to think right.

‘That I’ve loved you,’ he confessed.

She laughed bitterly, thinking of the irony of it all.

‘Now what?’ she asked him, praying that he’d not leave the next morning.

They held hands and talked all night, yet the dead weight of farewell holding them down, unknowingly.


‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?’ he asked her.

‘Your mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun,’ she laughed.

‘Thou art more lovely and more temperate,’ he insisted.

She couldn’t help but giggle and give in.

‘It’s been a year since I’ve met you, you know that, don’t you?’ she complained. ‘How are we to keep going if this is continues.’

‘I know. You think I don’t keep count? Furthermore, you think I’d act this pansy if we met everyday?’ he teased, ‘And you do know I’ll fly in the moment I’m free for a longer time than an hour at a stretch.’

‘Oh,’ she laughed, ‘I was afraid you were keeping a dirty mistress,’ she teased.

‘Ah! How well you know me!’ he teased.


It had been a month since they’d been in contact and she wondered every minute what was wrong. He’d told her she was busier now, more than ever, but she had a bad feeling about it. She tried to ignore the urge to call him and ask what’s wrong, for the fer of disturbing him. But she decided to be patient, and give him all the time he needed.


‘I have nothing left to tell you,’ he said in a voice so cold, it scared her.

‘I’m sorry?’

“I don’t want to talk to you ever in my life,’ he said, just as he hung up.

If she was shattered, she hadn’t started feeling it yet. For now, she was only shocked. She hurriedly called him up again. And again. After sometime, she decided to give him time, which she believed was all he needed; till she got a text message from him:

“If you try to disturb me ever again, you see what I’ll do to you.’

And then she panicked.


To be continued.