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Should I Take Online Psychology Courses?

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student life blog

When I was in university, I studied writing and history. I never considered myself in any way scientific or mathematical and avoided those classes whenever possible. It’s difficult, though, to avoid General Education courses required by your school. So in order to satisfy requirements, I took psychology courses since the science was softer than chemistry or biology and I thought it would be much more interesting. It definitely was riveting enough that I took a few extra psychology courses for fun, which made friends question my judgement. Why waste time on courses that won’t benefit your degree or that you aren’t pursuing for career purposes? I enjoyed learning so it wasn’t a waste of time for me, but I felt it was for fun and that’s about it. At least until many years later when I realized that much of the information I retained from those classes informed my personal and professional life every day. If you’re asking yourself if you should take online psychology courses, my answer is: absolutely. Here’s why!

Understanding yourself and others. If you have any interest in psychology (you must, because you’re thinking about taking a class or two!), you may be familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. This is a theory in psychology that proposes humans all strive for self-actualization and that other needs, like physiological or esteem needs, fall below that. Assuming that self-actualization, which is the realization or fulfillment of one’s talents and potentialities, is everyone’s goal you’re then able to apply this to your own motivations and that of others. Outside of Maslow’s work, there are other significant theories and thoughts learned in psychology courses that can help you work with people you would normally clash with or understand why you always avoid certain tasks so you can attempt to correct the behavior.

Another popular theory that is making waves on social media and in the workforce for the last few years is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality assessment. Though certainly not new (it was developed in the 1940s by a mother/daughter team), in recent days the Myers-Briggs test has helped human resources departments and supervisors to better understand their employees in order to offer individuals different types of motivation and incentives. It also comes in handy when you need to do a project with a coworker you don’t see eye-to-eye with or if you’re struggling to perform well at work. For example, my test result is INTP, which means I’m naturally Introverted, iNtuitive, Thinking, and Perceptive. I tend to work better when I have a fair amount of autonomy and I have a fear of failure which can hold me back from completing projects. Knowing this about myself, I can take steps to prevent overdue work and stress which allows me to do my best.

Without doubt, knowing yourself and understanding those around you (whether or not you like them), makes an impact with friends and in your career. By being able to see and address weaknesses and strengths, you’re able to take the appropriate steps to adjust and make striving for continued success a bit easier. Adult Psychology classes can lend you valuable knowledge and insight that can help your career, no matter the field.

Raising your children and working with children. Unlike studying Adult Psychology, Child Psychology doesn’t necessarily teach you how to understand yourself. It can, however, help you with your children, nieces and nephews, and grandchildren. If you work in a child-centric field such as a teacher aide or day care manager, a grasp of child psychology can help you work with and comfort the children you work with through the small daily traumas we experience at that age. I still recall with perfect clarity losing my favorite pencil in kindergarten and being viciously upset. Little things can matter quite a bit to little children and being able to speak to them and work with them in a manner that is helpful can make your career in the childcare field a bit easier.

In raising your own children, should you have them or plan to one day, child psychology can help you keep an eye out for certain things that can become problems. Psychology classes won’t tell you the “right” way to raise a child. It can, however, help you recognize warning signs of certain mental diseases and issues, from autism disorders to dyslexia, allowing you to step in early to adjust and get them the care they need.

No matter where your personal path or career goals take you, studying psychology can make an impact on your success. I can safely say, even five or six years later, that knowing some of what I do from those classes I took just for fun has helped me to improve in work and life. Without understanding certain ugly (and not so ugly) habits I fall into, I wouldn’t be able to address them and would find myself “forgetting” to complete projects like this post so I wouldn’t have to worry about failing. An online psychology course offers many benefits and little risk; if you’re even slightly considering it, I recommend diving in and soaking up everything you can.

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