Going to a psychology lecture as a non-psych student felt more like therapy

Do you need a reality check? Head to a psych lecture


In respect to it being break-up season, that weird time where nothing is really going on (except the Six Nations and Love Island…which to be honest, rugby has become more appealing to me than Will the farmer), and that period when everyone is losing motivation to finish the academic year – I decided to sit through a lecture I wasn’t meant to go to.

I am sure many can relate to my complaining of handling a part-time job, (kind of) treating uni like a 9-5, going to the gym, attending club training and socialising with friends and flat-mates, all while trying to not lose yourself in the mix.

Nonetheless, I sat through an hour of what I initially thought was going to be a waste of time but instead was a well-timed reality-check that I didn’t know I needed. I was wrong thinking I could do my own uni work during that hour as I got pulled into the discussion, making me have a small existential crisis.

Sitting through an hour of the soft-spoken, relaxing professor teaching a 1B Psychology lecture on ‘Test Anxiety’ calmed my nerves more than I thought possible. While I agree we should all focus on ourselves and do well in uni, the lesson on ‘Test Anxiety’ prompted me to think about how the world will always go on, and it won’t care if you’re struggling to finish three books a week. If anything, education, money, and jobs will always exist whether you think you can manage everything right now or not, but time, people, places may perhaps not.

The lecture put everything into perspective, reminding me that nothing is or shall ever be more important than our physical and mental well-being…including the ‘Test Anxiety’ which can lead to physical illnesses and perhaps causing students to lean towards substances in order to relax.

The lecture began with the professor professing her sadness for the tickets of Eurovision semi-finals being sold out for about five minutes. She then went on telling her students how good it was to be back after her first time having Covid-19, thanking them for being present, and for giving the university feedback about her. Now I don’t know about your professors, but some of mine are striking and/or don’t show up, and none have ever expressed themselves so empathetically or spent that much time saying how much they love their job and their students.

The lecturer went on by asking for a show of hands on who compares themselves to others – once again, this was a sign to me that I needed to attend this lecture. I started questioning myself psychoanalytically, asking if I actually do tend to compare myself to others. Yet, it was becoming something more and more relatable to others in the room, as over 100 people admittedly raised their hands knowing that yes, sadly, almost everyone compares themselves to someone.

“Good for you if you don’t”, she said, “if you don’t, could you bottle it up and sell it to us?”

She mentioned how comparing ourselves to others creates anxiety, impacting our motivation and self-concept. Not comparing ourselves and our progress to others however “is a lot easier said than done”, said the professor. “Viewing ourselves in reference to ourselves” is the only way we can progress in ourselves.

While I do compare my own life to others’, it is crucial that you, myself and everyone else sticks to their own path, “the one less traveled by” if you will, because it truly does “make all the difference”.

Overall, if you’re too broke for counselling I recommend going to a psychology lecture. Not only do you see that your feelings are valid but you’re sat in a room where everyone’s in the same boat. Despite trying to adult at university post-pandemic, during strikes, and with a recession going on, you are getting a degree while living independently, feeding yourself, maintaining friendships, attending university and doing whatever it is you love in your idle-time, all of which makes you stronger than you think you are.

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