Or did it choose me?
I’ve been reading Parker Palmer’s book, “The Courage to Teach,” and as I expected it’s sparking many ideas. I teach psychology… but how did I get here? Why did I major in psychology as an undergrad? When I was first introduced to psychology (by Dr. Chris Burris, who still teaches at SJU at Waterloo) I was fresh out of high school and had no idea what to expect from university, especially because I was (am) the first generation in my immediate family to pursue such a degree. What I found in psychology was knowledge about people that I could connect to. But much more important than that — for the first time in my life I learned I didn’t have to believe everything I was told about how people work. Psychology gave me the tools and concepts and a language to question what I formerly thought was some sort of truth. There was a method to test whether these ideas were correct or not — huzzah! Learning about psychology helped me see through advertising scams and times when the media misinterpreted research (correlation does not imply causation!). It helped me point out flaws and assumptions in the reasoning of others (and, with time and maturity, my own reasoning). This ability to question using an established language and methodology was an immensely powerful experience for me, one that I had come to take for granted.