As a psychology major but also just as a human being in general, I find it funny how people behave. For example, I arrived pretty early to my first class of the semester yesterday morning. The class started at 9:30am and I was there about 20 minutes early. When I first arrived, I wasn’t convinced it was the right class since the room was so dark inside. But as I peered through the door’s little window and my eyes adjusted, I could make out little round heads scattered all about the lecture hall.
“Lol,” I thought to myself and opened the door. Everyone looked up at once when I entered the room. I don’t have some kind of amazing presence about me; the room was just so dark and quiet that any noise at all was bound to turn heads.
I let the door close behind me and found a seat, but let’s all take note of the fact that I totally neglected to make any moves on the lights. The lights stayed off, even though it was kind of ridiculous that a room full of 20-somethings were all too chicken to turn on the light.
((Psych. major in action: analyzing why none of us turned on the light. I’m gonna guess it’s something to do with normative social influence. Also, hilarious.))
Fast forward: lights on. (To anyone interested, it was the teaching assistant who made the move, coming from a position of more power than any of the students. Sweet, thanks, J.)
My next observation was how demographically skewed the class was. Mostly white female, way more white female than any of my other classes. It’s a level 2 research methods and statistics class, so I wasn’t particularly foreseeing any kind of skew.
Fast forward: professor arrives, syllabus day begins. I’m actually pleasantly surprised by his personality…I mean he has one, which is great and I’ve learned not to take for granted at big universities.
Glancing at the schedule on the syllabus, I’m definitely, yeah 100%, growing a pit of dread inside my stomach. I’m in this class only because it’s required for my major. Flashbacks of last year’s spring semester and the absolutely agonizing statistics class I took then flood my mind as I read the words: “…SPSS data analysis…” It’s tear-worthy. I already need help.
But I’ll end on a good note, something that made me laugh. As my professor was explaining how the Psychology department has always had a hard time getting support from the University to be recognized as an actual, empirical science (which it is), he said:
“There are all these misconceptions about psychology and psychological research that people outside of psychology have. Outsiders, skeptics, they say: ‘All you do is show people pictures of blue triangles and butterflies!’ And to that I say: ‘First of all, no, we don’t. And second of all, that’s not a butterfly, it’s a picture of my step-mother strangling my younger brother.”
So there you have it. Perfect psychology joke + flawless execution. These are the notes on my first class.