5 things I love about being a psychology major at Illinois

Elena sits on the Main QuadHere are five reasons I love being a psychology major at the University of Illinois:

1. The research opportunities

The Department of Psychology has incredible research opportunities available for undergraduates. I started out as a PSYC 290 research assistant for the STEPP Lab my sophomore year and was able to further my own research by participating in the Psychology Honors Program and writing a bachelors thesis.

University of Illinois is an R1 institution, which means if you are at all interested in research, you will have the opportunities and resources to try it out! My research experience is what prepared me to apply to post-baccalaureate RA positions, and that experience is likely why I have a job after graduating.

2. My advisor

Gary was one of the first staff I met at Illinois and helped me register for my first semester freshmen year. He has been incredibly helpful every step of my college experience, from helping me decide whether I wanted to stick with the psychology major, to which concentration made sense, to how to explore career options.

3. Field-specific internships

There are a variety of internships within the psychology major. I had the opportunity to intern at Cunningham Children’s Home my junior year. While there, I worked with youth ages 13-17 that had experienced early life adversities and trauma. I think this is a really unique and helpful way to gain clinical experience while still in undergrad.

4. My professors

The psychology faculty are truly passionate about what they are studying, so taking their classes is really interesting. I remember taking Child Psychology and realizing our textbook was citing studies of the professor teaching the class. Two of my psychology professors ended up writing my letters of recommendation and were really helpful in discerning my academic and professional goals.

5. The versatility

The psychology major is so applicable to a variety of different career paths, so I was really able to explore my options within psychology classes, while still maintaining part-time jobs, RSO involvement, research, completing a minor, and trying out classes in other fields. Within this major, I have interned in Human Resources, participated in a developmental psychopathology research lab, interned at a Children’s Home, taken neuroscience classes, and more. I really liked being able to pick my major and still have the flexibility to explore a variety of career options.

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Elena Cannova