By Veronica Dominicis
According to the welcome page of the department’s site, psychology is one of the most useful majors at VSU.
The Department of Psychology and Counseling here at VSU is program-designed to help students understand people.
Dr. Steven Kohn, professor of psychology, said that students enroll in the program for many reasons.
“Some of our students go on to career-track master’s degree programs such as psychology, clinical counseling, school counseling, social work and marriage and family therapy,” Dr. Kohn said. “Some students also pursue doctoral level training – often with a goal of conducting research and teaching at the university/college level.”
As well as pursuing psychology and counseling directly, Dr. Kohn also said that there are many other reasons for a student to forgo studies in psychology. Life issues as well as long term life and career goals are some reasons why Dr. Kohn sees students in his development classes.
“Many of the students that have taken my developmental psychology classes have commented that the material and the course itself have helped them in terms of life issues that go beyond the scope of a career,” Dr. Kohn said. “For example, child care, being a better parent or baby sitter, intergenerational relationships, dealing with care giving situations including care of an elder parent or grandparent.”
Many psychology majors and professors pursue psychology to study the dynamic of people in the changing world.
Ivan Morales, a junior psychology major, and Tika Murphy, also a junior psychology major, described what life is like as a psychology major and what they hope to pursue.
“The reason I pursued psychology is because I find the human mind fascinating,” Morales said. “How everything around us from the time of birth affects us–that is seeing how the environment makes us the people who we are, but more importantly seeing how nature affects us.”
Murphy also believes that pursuing psychology has provided great experience.
“I wanted to pursue psychology because in high school it was interesting to learn about different disorders and why people do the things they do,” she said.
Morales hopes to specialize in the diagnosis of mental health illnesses, or clinical psychology.
“I plan to work in a clinic or in a laboratory studying people with mental health illnesses and seeing what I can do to aid them,” he said. “That is, whether we can see early signs of whatever illness they may have or trying to cure an illnesses -whatever it may be to help the individual. If I were to work in a clinic I would like to help people through whatever problems they may have, but this time I will be working with them one on one.”
Murphy, on the other hand, has hopes of dealing with children after graduating.
“After graduation, I would like to be a school counselor, as well as further my education and be a child psychologist,” she said.
Morales explained his commitment to being a psychology major.
“It requires expensive books, then again which major does not,” he said. “It also requires working with people very well.”
VSU has a psychology club that any student can join.
“The purpose of the Psychology Club is to provide a forum in which students from any major can interact with others who have similar interests,” Taylor Butenschon, a senior psychology major and president of the Psychology Club, said.
The club looks at giving students a chance to share experiences and work towards future goals.
According to Butenschon, the club gives its members opportunities to learn about volunteer work, graduate school and professional conferences.
Butenschon also said that the club participates in community events including Relay for life, Alzheimer’s Awareness Walk, canned food drives and The Happening.
Although life in the psychology department can be competitive, Dr. Kohn hopes that students will leave knowledgeable about the track they would like to take.
“A primary goal for me is to help prepare students for wherever their post-VSU experiences take them,” Dr. Kohn said. “For example, prep for grad school; developing useful and marketable skills for the current job market; and being able to use psychological science to be a good consumer of information in the real world.”