Are you interested in doing a minor that looks more at the cognitive aspects of thinking and human behaviour? Then you should definitely read further! Third year Media Studies student Amber Beijer tells about her experiences with the University Minor Psychology in Society.
You did the minor Psychology in Society, how did you decide to do this specific minor and why?
“I’m in my third year of Media Studies now, and I figured out that I was very interested in the marketing and communication aspect of it. While I was at the open day for minors day, they told me that one of the very few minors suitable for this was psychology. Of course, because that’s very much the aspect of the communication between people and how that works and the cognitive aspects of that as well. So, I figured that that would be my thing.”
“I think it is very interesting to do a minor from another faculty, because you can really tell the difference between faculties. For instance, the way they test you is very interesting in the faculty of Psychology, as the exams are very different. For Psychology it is all multiple choice, although we are of course used to the open questions in Media Studies. Psychology is also very broad. There are a lot of students in Psychology, so you’re kind of one of the thousands. I thought that was interesting as well, because Media Studies is a very small study, you know almost everyone and for Psychology that is of course very different. So, I thought that it was very interesting to do something from a different faculty.”
And why did you want to do a University minor (and not something from the faculty of arts or abroad)?
What did you expect from the study beforehand?
“I didn’t expect that you would go into these psychological issues that much. I mean it’s a minor, you expect that it is very limited information and not that deep. That was very different for me. I also had one subject that was called Research Instruments Critically Considered, and that was focused on how to do research and stuff, which I did not expect that much for Psychology. But it was actually a very helpful course for me, because I am writing my thesis right now and I actually use the book that I had for that course a lot right now. So, that’s pretty nice.”
“A lot of aspects very much matched. For instance, I took a course in Social Influence, which was very interesting and it matches a lot with Media Studies. But I had another course, which was Introduction to Psychological Theories, and that was very much on psychological aspects like diseases and all the scary stuff. So, it was something very different, but very interesting as well. That was very new information, let’s say.”
Was it difficult to switch from Media Studies to Psychology?
Were your expectations correct about what you are doing now, and what you expected beforehand?
“During the open day for the minor I was told that the minor is very easy, even if you’re from another university faculty. It’s going to be fine, and it’s all pretty easy, they said. But especially if you come from a study that is not used to multiple choice questions, you have to really get used to that. Because at first I was like: ooh multiple choice questions that’s easy. You know like at least you always have a choice so it’s around 20% choice always, so that’s fine. But that was something I really had to get used to, because you start doubting a lot during the exam. So, it is a very different way of studying. For us, in Media Studies, we study more the broad aspect of what it means, and then for Psychology you study much more into the facts, like what does this mean and how is that connected to this.”
“I am not necessarily sure about harder, but at one point you get so frustrated about these doubts that you may have during the exam that you start to study very hard, because you’re scared of these doubts. Especially in the first block I was like o my god this is very difficult, but then in the second block, you slowly get used to it and then it’s fine.”
So, do you think it is harder to do than Media Studies?
What were your positive experiences with the minor?
“I learned a lot. I feel like I learned in two blocks pretty much the same as I learn in one year Media Studies. The thing for a minor is that you make a lot of new friends, which is very fun as well. For the Psychology in Society minor you only have lectures, so no seminars, but still you make a lot of friends because pretty much everyone in this minor is a minor student. There are a few third year or second year students sometimes, but almost everyone is a minor student, so everyone is pretty much open to making new contacts and being social. So that was very fun.
Especially with Psychology that’s a positive aspect, because the study is so big that everyone is still very much open to making new contacts. It is very fun because like 60 percent is a minor student, so everyone is kind of hoping for new contacts and it is fun because you meet people from other faculties, which is really nice.”
“I kind of disliked one course but that was more because of the lecturer, so not sure if that is relevant. As I said, I sort of struggled in the first block with the multiple choice, but that’s it pretty much. I actually kind of liked it, it’s not too difficult. And all courses were in the city as well, so I didn’t have to go all the way to Zernike, so that was really nice.”
And what were your negative experiences?
Was there enough information about the study beforehand?
“Yes I thought it was pretty clear, honestly. We of course had two open days, which you kind of miss right now probably, but yes. I knew another girl who did the minor, so she told me some stuff as well and she send me some summaries which was really nice. So, it felt like I knew what I was getting into.”
“No, I pretty much already knew. I was doubting at first between the minor Psychology in Society and Datafication, but I heard that the Datafication minor was very much into the numbers and all that, and I was more interested in the social aspect, so I went for the minor Psychology in Society.”
Did you go to the study adviser for help in choosing your minor?
How did the application process go?
“I think you just had to apply via ProgressWWW, like you usually would apply for certain courses of Media Studies in the second semester. You would now just apply for another faculty, which is actually the exact same process.”
“Yeah right. Because a friend of mine, she did the Minor Abroad and she had a lot of paperwork. I think she had like two months of very intensively looking for papers, stamps and signatures of people and stuff like that. But for the University Minor it’s like pretty much applying for different subjects, as you would for Media Studies.”
That’s actually very nice, because then you don’t really have to show your motivation, if you just be on time, you’re sure of a place in the minor.
Because you can choose courses from the minor?
“Yes. For the first block you at least have Introduction to Psychological Theories, and then there are three subjects, where you have to choose two of. I chose for the first block Research Instruments critically considered, like I said the one that was very convenient for writing my thesis, and then the second one I chose was the Social Psychology of Communication. For the second block it is the same idea; so you have one subject that you have to do, and then you can choose two out of three. For the second term I chose Human Error, Social Influence, and Consumer and Economic Psychology.”
“Yeah, it’s very convenient. For instance, in the second term I chose Consumer and Economic Psychology, because that’s aimed at marketing, which is something I am very interested in. So, you can actually very personalize it, which is really nice.”
That’s also pretty nice, that you can personalize your minor.
Do you think it’s too difficult for Media Studies students to do (are there more readings or less)?
“No, equally as much I think. It’s not necessary more difficult or anything, it’s just that you really have to get used to the multiple-choice exams. Overall, the pressure of having to study and stuff like that is not that different or anything.”
“Yeah, exactly. It’s a more factual study. I feel like it actually had less readings throughout the study itself as in weekly readings and stuff. It’s more that the pressure really comes in the exam period, so I think it will kind of balance it out with Media Studies. Because at Media Studies you have more readings throughout the weeks, and you don’t have that in Psychology.”
So, it’s more about getting used to studying a bit differently?
Did you also have other assignments besides the exams?
“Yes, I had one group assignment in Human Error and I think I had an essay for Social Psychology, and that was all. So, you have one group assignment and one essay and that’s it.”
“You don’t really get the cognitive idea of what people think in Media Studies, because it is more like on the surface that kind of information, such as how do I use R and how do I do this. Not really how do people really think about this and what is the influence, like if you show them this image, what do they really think and what happens in their brain. So that really added to the knowledge I had. In Media Studies, we would learn for instance: if you show this, it has influence on people. But Psychology looks more at what is this influence and what is really the effect of the influence. So, it really adds something to your knowledge already, so that’s really nice.”
About this specific study, what does it add to your education, like what do you gain from it, what was useful?
Do you have any other experiences with the minor, like you said meeting new people or the University?
“So, all my classes were pretty much in the same building. I had one lecture in the UMCG building, and that was new. But the rest was all in the city, so very much the same. And there were actually four or five people from Media Studies who did the same minor, so that was kind of fun as well that you meet other people that you usually wouldn’t necessarily talk to or whatever. I have like two friends who are now still in Media Studies third year and I really hang around with them, but I know them from my minor, so that’s really nice. It is really fun to have other teachers as well, because we from Media Studies really know our teachers by first name and stuff like that. But that is very different in the Psychology minor, because it is a lecture, so you only see them. What is also really nice from the lectures of Psychology, is that they are all recorded so you don’t necessarily have to go (but you still have to go to all lectures). That’s really nice as well. So if you miss one, or you want to check one before the exam, you can see them all, they are all on Nestor, all recorded. We don’t have that in Media Studies, so that was really nice when I started. I wish they did that in Media Studies, but unfortunately no. The rest is different, but of course it is, you’re in a different study.”
“I thought about going abroad. I wanted to go to Vancouver at first, but I couldn’t because that is not a partner University of RUG. But no, I actually really liked the minor I chose, because I feel like even in your daily life you can explain the reactions of people more. And like I said the research course that I had is really useful as I can use it really well for my thesis right now and I still have the book which is really nice. So, no I don’t really regret it or anything.”
If you had the opportunity would choose something different, like a different minor?
What advice would you give to a person signing up for this study?
“Do not underestimate the multiple-choice exams, do not. Because I did and I kind of wish I did not. But yeah, study hard, go to all lectures, like I should say. If anyone has any further questions, they can always email me. I feel like when you read about the minor, you already pretty much know what you want to do. If you already know what you want to do after studying, then you already know. Yeah, don’t take it too harsh.”
“I would usually say go to the open day and talk to people, but that is now very difficult. I think you should at least make a list for yourself with your interests and pick a minor around your interest. Because I feel like that’s what a minor is for as well, to maybe extend your hobby into a minor, or some interest that you have that you can explore into a minor. Because with a minor you still have to get your 30 ECTS, but it is also kind of like exploring what you really like and get some further information. So, I feel like you should really pursue your interest a bit more.”
Do you have an advice in general that you would give, applying to all minors?
More technical information about the minor can be found here.
If you have further questions about the Psychology in Society minor, you can contact Amber by sending an email to A.M.Beijer@student.rug.nl