Science, Career Advice, Now + Beyond

20 things every psychology major in Pakistan has to go through

We didn't sign up to be disrespected like this.

Psychology may be the science of the mind and behavior, but it doesn’t exactly tickle everyone’s fancy. Skeptics tend to subject it to immense criticism and jokes that in today’s world won’t tickle your funny-bone.

Bearing in mind that Pakistani people have a knack for being quite critical of life choices, here are some experiences those of us who chose this science as part of our career plan go through.

1. We’re asked to read minds the SECOND our major is found out…

reading. .. ASIANS CAN ACTUALLY READ MINDS!!!!!!!!!!!! they can hear, and see what your visually thinking this is the complete truth The reason a lot of Asians have complet
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With creepy challenging smiles, others expect us to be able to know exactly what they’re thinking and tell them on the spot. We aren’t exactly 20 Questions devices or Akinators!

2. …along with being asked to read FACES.

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Seriously?! Everyone assumes they’re open books to us! No offense, but we’d rather go with our syllabi.

3. We’re labeled as “The Ones who treat the Pagals (Psychos)” like a freaking F.R.I.E.N.D.S. episode!

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We help EVERYONE who needs it. Also, don’t EVER refer to our clients as “psychos” or “abnormal.” It’s plain freaking rude.

4. We’re also told how we’ll eventually turn mentally ill ourselves.

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The sad part is that “psycho” is what we’re immediately branded as being when we argue against certain beliefs we think are wrong. Crazy world, isn’t it folks?

5. Being part of a predominantly female class since it’s “not a science for men.”

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The few brave men who’ve taken this road must either feel like the loneliest or the luckiest in the world surrounded by all of us women.

6. Others become awkward around us, as they presume we’re psychoanalyzing everything.

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Referencing points 1 and 2, we are expert mind and face readers after all who know your deepest darkest secrets. We’re also killjoys thanks to the reservoir of explanations and arguments.

7. Sigmund Freud’s domination over our lives.

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His egotistical and sex-fuelled perspective is so big it takes up EVERY SINGLE ONE of our courses. Many just assume that if you know Freud, you basically know everything about psychology.

“Psychology, huh? So you study Freud, right? Must be, well, interesting… *dirty smirk*”

8. Those who know us bombard us with requests for free treatment.

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“Hey, when you become a psychologist, we know who to come to for freebies eh?”

Think you can play the “family/buddy-pal” card to save your money from us, eh? Too bad we’re ethically prevented from doing so..

9. Others become INCREDIBLY nosy about our future plans because naturally…

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Allow me to quote Harry Styles and tell you IT’S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!

10. We’re told how psychology is just an easy “time-pass” and not considered a serious major like the STEM majors.

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We didn’t sign up to be disrespected like this!

11. Ending the constant confusion between psychiatry and psychology…

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In a nutshell, the former has an MBBS degree and can prescribe medicines and the latter uses therapeutic techniques. Please don’t ask us if we’ll give you medicines for depression and other disorders.

12. Oftentimes teachers, particularly female teachers with female students, incorporate Desi domesticity into psychology lectures!

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Educational psychology = teaching the right values to your children. Health psychology = diffusing a stressful situation with your spouse and in-laws. My brain = mush.

13. We’re told how mental illnesses are nothing more than fake dramatics…

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That they are mere products of self-induced stress and sadness coupled with an overactive imagination. Now THAT sounds fake, but okay…

14. …and how the ultimate cure for all ailments is religion.

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“This therapy-sherapy is all useless and unneeded, dear. People should just turn their minds to God and they’ll all be fine.”

15. Speaking of which, we have to deal with the superstitious ones too.

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Granted most of these people are likely poor and haven’t had access to proper education, but they really must know mental disorders are not due to black magic from a malicious relative or latched jinns.

16. There’s also the taboo surrounding therapy that makes the poor soul hesitant to seek the help they need.

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Referring to point #3, as if stereotypes haven’t made enough messes in our lives.

17. Our own personal therapy is questioned because what can possibly go wrong in our lives?

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“Why are YOU going to therapy?? There’s nothing wrong with you or your life…….is there?” We’re human and need help too. Plus, the experience can be a bonus for our career.

18. We’re often depicted as incompetent, over-helpful strangers who will never know the clients like their family or God does.

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It’s incredibly infuriating how this very kind of thinking is further reinforced by the depiction of therapists in films such as “Side Effects” and in series such as “13 Reasons Why!”

19. Our Master’s prospects are severely limited to psychiatry, clinical psychology and counseling.

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What if we want to go for forensic, legal, business or any other kind of specialization?

20. Considering our country’s current state of affairs, we’ll likely be in high demand in the future.

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As more people need help, more helpers will be required, and hopefully the need to get better, healthier and happier will triumph over the fear of what others will think about them.

  • Arsh Khan

    Graduated with an Honours degree in Applied Psychology from Kinnaird College for Women University. Partnerships & Community Manager at The Tempest. Just your sassy, classy, and very smart-assy Pakistani woman whose dream is to sip on some good chai while she watches the patriarchy burn to the ground.