Talk to Everybody: Video Transcript

Alexandria (Alex) Intorcio (BA Psychology, Miami, 2010) [Research and Evaluation Assistant in Miami's Center for School-based Mental Health Programs]: I think that psychology majors have so many career paths open to them, and I feel that my experience is evidence of that. When I came here, I would never have thought I would work at P&G, and when I tell people that I worked at Procter & Gamble, they kind look at me like, "But you were a psychology major!" And I say, "Yeah, but, here's the thing: Consumers are humans." Psychology is the study of humans, so it makes a lot of sense that they want to hire psychologists so that they can learn about, "Why would Tide sell better than the store brand?" And it seems really tedious, but it ends up being really interesting. There are so many factors that go into judgment and decision making, and all sorts of social decisions about status and why you buy one brand over another. And those are just two examples of why psychology is helpful in the private sector, and those are things that you can do as a psych major.

There are people who have judgment and decision making labs. There are people who study power and status. All of those things are open to you if you just know the doors to open. So, go to office hours, talk to faculty about what research they're doing. If they bring up a study that they've written in class and you think it's interesting, ask them about it. They're, more likely than not, going to be super, super excited to talk to you about it.

Political science is a huge psychology field right now. It's very up and coming with social and implicit psychology. I mean those are just my experiences. I know people who have gone into completely different fields. You can go into law school; you can go to medical school; you can work with kids; you can work with adults; you can do therapy; you can do counseling; you can do hard science in a lab all day, or some combination thereof. So really, the amount of options a psychology major has are limitless - you just have to be creative.

The biggest advice I can give is to not confine yourself to traditional paths. Graduate school and getting additional degrees are great, but you don't have to do that. There are so many things that you can do and so many resources within the department to help you. And even though your professors have PhDs, they know that there are other paths that you can take, and they can help you find those. Talk to people, talk to your fellow students, talk to your professors. Seriously, just talk to everybody. The more relationships you make, the better and the easier your path is going to be once you graduate.

My biggest thing that I tell undergraduates is to get involved in research—and it doesn't have to be in your department. I know students who are physical therapy majors, and they work in our psychology lab. So, get out there, learn about the research process, because it's going to be so helpful moving forward when you know how to take a problem and research a solution. And it doesn't matter what field you go into - you are always going to have a client or a boss who says, "Hey, I've got this data, I’ve got this problem, and we need you to reason through to a solution." And the research process, whether it's in your field or not, is going to be the biggest help that you can have.

[September 2015]