A few weeks ago we wrote a text to help future students of Psychology to reflect on 10 elementary points about their vocation, some specific doubts about the career, etc.:
- “Why study psychology? 10 points to value”
However, having enrolled in the career does not make you a good student of psychology. That’s why we’ve put together this little guide to help you succeed in your studies.
“I want to be a psychologist”, a guide to make the most of my studies in Psychology
Psychology , due to its versatility and the amount of contributions it can make to different disciplines and areas of life, is one of the most popular university careers in many countries of the world. However, the life of students can be hard if they do not have references to follow in these tidal waves of information that are usually the faculties of Psychology .
If this is your case, you will find this mini-guide “I want to be a psychologist” , with 10 keys to making your time at university profitable .
1. Study when it’s time to study
At university you don’t have a boss who watches you every day to see if you study , but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Moreover, psychology is a grateful university career, in the sense that those who invest time in study and training are rewarded. However, to know how to make good use of that time you have to practice.
- Here are some tips to help you perform better: “10 tips to study better and more efficiently”
Knowing how to use time well is one of those skills that every student must polish. If you don’t, you’ll watch the hours, days and weeks go by as your to-do list increases and your stress levels increase. If you don’t think you’re very good at getting on with your studying, you might find it useful to read the next point.
2. Learn to manage your study time
Okay, you’ve already made studying a regular part of your daily routine, but… are you optimizing that time well?
Maybe you could learn the same thing in half the time, or maybe studying at a certain time is causing you problems. For example, it’s known that concentrating on a computer screen just before you go to sleep is not good for your sleep, and it can cause you to have problems with insomnia because of the light you’ve been exposed to.
Also, keep in mind that you’ll hardly be able to concentrate on your study for more than 40 minutes at a time, so it’s worthwhile not to beat yourself up trying to read long texts. It’s also known that getting out of your chair will do you good to stretch your legs and make you feel better. Studying is fine, but take your breaks!
3. Beware of the Internet!
The Internet is an important tool for finding other study tools and resources, but it is also an endless source of distractions. Consider studying on paper so as not to fall into temptation, and go to the computer to consult specific doubts.
On the other hand, and as you must have noticed, the network of networks is overflowing with unreliable information , when it is not gross lies or fables. Therefore, when you consult sources on the Internet to complete your psychological theses, take into account which references are true and which are not.
4. Slides are not everything
In an ideal world this would not need to be emphasized, but no one learns just by reading slides . These are a visual support to follow the classes and contain some fundamental concepts, but through them it is impossible to know how these ideas relate to each other, nor how the logics underlying the psychological processes are articulated.
5. Notes are not everything
No, the notes taken during the classes are not sufficient either . Most of the subjects are also composed of readings that are not explained in class, due to the limited time in which teaching takes place. Consider very seriously reading all the readings you are asked to do at least once (read and understand them, of course). In addition, these readings will help you to understand the things that have been said in class, reinforcing the concepts that you are learning in your mind .
6. Read about psychology for pleasure!
The field of study of psychology is a veritable ocean of information. Every year thousands of books and articles are published about new research in psychology and neuroscience, and if you don’t feel like spending many hours reading really thick texts, there are excellent popular books (or even websites: does one called Psychology and Mind ring a bell?) that are waiting for you. You can start by trying this little list of titles:
- “The 20 Best Books on Psychology You Can’t Miss”
- “5 books to give to a psychologist for Christmas”
- “5 books on psychology to read in summer”
And if you want to go deeper and have a profile created on Facebook, don’t miss out:
- “Top 18 Facebook Groups for Learning Psychology”
7. Find people with the same interest in psychology
There are a lot of people who love psychology, and if you go to college you’ll be in touch with quite a few. Take advantage of it! An environment of friends with the same interests as you can make you learn things even if you don’t intend to.
You can also follow blogs about psychology , visit study groups, etc. Whatever you see necessary to be in constant contact with the herd!
As for the blogs and websites dedicated to psychology and neuroscience, we have recently compiled a list that may be useful to you:
- “Top 70 Psychology Blogs”
8. Have a good scientific paper search engine on hand
Probably because you are enrolled in the university you have access to a search engine for scientific papers that allows you to consult whole articles without having to pay. Find out which are these search engines and use them! They will be very useful when you are looking for information and doing well documented work.
9. Take mental tests
Just because you have memorized a text does not mean that you have understood it . Quantitative is not the same as qualitative. When you have studied a lesson, be sure to ask yourself some possible exam questions. This will help you to detect doubts you didn’t know you had and to optimize your review time.
10. Baby from other disciplines
Psychology is a very complex discipline, and it straddles many sciences and areas of study. Soak up these to get a richer view of what you study . You can start by reading basics about biology, medicine, philosophy or anthropology… even if you don’t have a hard-on!
Bonus: Enjoy learning
It is ironic that this can be understood as an order, but it is worth remembering that you are studying psychology because you want to, because you are interested .
Don’t let bad time management make you hate the race. If there are subjects or branches of psychology that don’t interest you as much, spend less time on them than on those you do enjoy. You learn best when you learn without stress and without rushing, savouring the knowledge, and growing intellectually and personally while acquiring new learnings.