When I tried to write this assignment out in essay format, it sounded too
conversational, so I decided it would be best to write it as a letter.
I enjoyed the Principles of Psychology class this semester, and I learned a great
deal from you. I initially signed up for the course because I needed to satisfy the social
science requirement for my degree, and I was hoping to have an experience similar to that
of your Social Psychology course. Unfortunately, the classroom dynamics were a little
different and we didn’t have the same group chemistry in this semester’s class.
Nevertheless, I was able to learn some things that I will be able to take with me and apply
throughout my life.
First, I was able to understand the different kinds of therapies, the types of
psychologists, and the education required for each profession. I think this is extremely
important information to be aware of in case I or someone close to me needs to seek
psychological treatment. Most people probably have no idea what to look for or what
questions to ask prospective therapists and doctors. I would probably lean more towards
treatment based on Humanistic theories. I like how this type focuses on one’s full
potential and becoming aware of and striving to reach that potential. I also like that
Humanistic theories encourage patients to take personal responsibility. I think a lot of
other psychotherapy methods have the tendency to create excuses for maladaptive
behaviors or thinking.
I also found the bio-psychology material that we covered in the class to be very
valuable. Because I am planning to study human biology and medicine, it was very
useful for me to relate this course’s subject matter to what I am passionate about. I was
honestly surprised at how much biology is involved in the study of psychology. I
especially enjoyed studying neurotransmitters and genetics in this class; those two areas
really fascinate me. Another thing that sticks out to me is circadian rhythms. I think I had
an understanding of the concept, but I didn’t know the actual term prior to this class. I
find myself using the term a lot now.
Principles of Psychology provided me with the foundation I’ll need to further my
education. Most medical schools require several psychology courses. A pre-med student
usually needs to take Principles of Psychology, Developmental Psychology, and
Abnormal Psychology. I plan to take all of these and probably will end up with a minor
in Psychology. Another class I would be very interested in taking is Positive Psychology.
I never knew this field of the discipline existed until I heard you discuss it in class. I
hope that this will eventually be offered in colleges because I think many students,
including myself, would benefit from it.
Relating this class to my own career goals again, I was able to receive a better
understanding of the business aspect involved in the helping professions. I loved hearing
about your experiences as a therapist. It’s very obvious that you found your career
rewarding and that you truly were an advocate for your clients. I would like to apply
those same principles in my own career and make a positive impression on people as I’m
sure you have. I will definitely remember your discussions about insurance companies
and the control they have over a patient’s treatment. This is something I will need to be
aware of as a physician, and it will be helpful to have an understanding of this sad reality
prior to entering the profession.
Due to the nature of a “survey course”, I received a very basic knowledge on a
variety of subjects relating to psychology. What I gained most from this was the
inspiration to further explore certain areas of the discipline and the desire to continue on
with my psychology education. There were many areas of the course that I would have
liked to explore in more depth. Specifically, learning and memory interested me, and I
will look to learn more about these specific areas in the future.
I am delighted anytime I can use classroom material to broaden my own interests.
I was happy to discover a new author, Tich Nhat Hanh, per your recommendation. I also
am able to apply some of the philosophies I learned in class to my own life. I use
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as a sort of personal checklist for myself. Whenever I am
feeling upset or overwhelmed, I start at the bottom of Maslow’s pyramid and see which
need I have neglected. Usually, it’s the very basic things like hunger or sleepiness. I
often try to complete insurmountable tasks while skipping the necessary basics.
I have to say, one of the most applicable pieces of information I have been given
at Lord Fairfax Community College was your discussion on “mirror imaging” in our
Social Psychology class. You talked about the impact we can have on others by our own
behavior, and the impact that other’s behavior has on us. What stood out to me was the
emphasis you placed on creating a positive mirror image for others to see. The way that
you relayed the information to us, made the concept seem very profound to me. I think
about this often, and I try to be a positive mirror image so that those images will be
reflected back to me.
I am grateful to have had the opportunity to spend another semester with you, and
I thank you for everything you have taught me. I hope to keep in touch with you, as you
have made a lasting impression on me.