Psychology major benefits from journalistic experience

Story by Brenna Thompson, News Editor

Recently I was interviewed, rather than being the interviewer. It was an eye-opening experience, and I realized the quantity and quality of material I have accumulated as well as the concepts I have learned from reporting at a small university rather than a large one. My interviewer, who was from a much larger school, seemed nervous, pre-rehearsed and frazzled.

I had to elaborate on my own answers, and I realized how much I enjoy interviewing. This realization also made me think about my future schooling and occupation (which is coming faster than I am ready for).

I was having a conversation with my mom about my future after graduation next year. She was asking me what exactly I wanted to do, where I want to go, and what I want to specialize in. Obviously, my major is not related to journalism. I am a psychology major who wants to specialize in addiction therapy. Therefore, journalism I may not be dabbling in journalism after I graduate.

I took some time to reflect on journalism, why I love it, why I’ve stayed involved regardless of the fact that it isn’t related to my future dream occupation. I think a lot of the reasons I love journalism are also reasons I love psychology.

I love interaction, creativity and freedom. I don’t like structured, organized learning. I like the freedom to decide what I write about, what I learn about and how I write. Journalism has given me the outlet to make a difference. It has allowed me to write about the things that I am passionate about. These passions will hopefully make me a better therapist some day.

Therapy is, in a sense, an interview: two people getting to know one another, gather background information, personal narratives and facts. Both news reporters and clinical psychologists are frequently people we feel drawn to. They share a goal of wanting their source or client to feel comfortable in talking to and confiding in them.

Newspaper has been a channel through which I am able to pursue my love for both psychology and journalism and connect the two. For example, my passion for sexual assault awareness, mental illness and prescription drug use are all topics I have covered through my articles for the Baker Orange. They are the same topics I am passionate about in psychology.

Even though journalism and psychology at first may not appear to be connected, I have found myself utilizing my position on the Baker Orange to further my credibility in psychology. I have written stories that I can discuss during graduate interviews, which may set me apart from other candidates and distinguish me from other students who have only studied psychology. Journalism has made me a more well-rounded, dynamic student.

Did my position as staff writer, then assistant news editor, then news editor count toward a fulfillment of a psych major requirement? Heck no. Did it only add one extra hour class credit per semester toward my academic standing? Heck yes.

Regardless of the time commitment, the hassle of interview scheduling, and two night classes a week; newspaper is not only bettering my chances I get into my dream grad school but also making me a better psychology student and a better future therapist.