The Andover Psychology Club is a weekly, student-run club with a mission to enlighten students about topics in psychology, to promote health and wellness, and to invigorate their passions for the discipline. The club is a popular extracurricular destination for the students of Andover.
|[ Yearbook Picture of 2016-2017 Andover Psychology Club ]|
Topics are typically divided into three main themes throughout the year, which correspond to the academic term. In the Fall term, the topic is “Psych 101,”featuring “Pavlov’s Test, Sigmund Freud’s Psychosexual Stage Theory, the Rorschach Test, and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality inventory (MBTI). The purpose of Psyche 101 is to provide all members, regardless of previous exposure to psychology, the foundation to understand more advanced topics if they decide to pursue psychology in their academic careers. The meetings are typically very interactive and dynamic. For example, for the meeting covering the MBTI, we first have the participating students take a questionnaire that administers one of sixteen personality categories. These categories cover dichotomous aspects of our personality, such as extraversion vs. introversion, sensing vs. intuition, thinking vs. feeling, and judging vs. perceiving. Afterwards, we split the students into respective personality groups and ask them to plan their dream vacation. Then, we go over the vacation plans as a group, seeing how the aspects of each personality category covered by the MBTI questionnaire manifested themselves in the vacation plan.
|[ Diagram of the MBTI Categories ]|
In the Winter term, we move towards a more application-based aspect of psychology: “Health and Wellness.” During this period, the club attempts to promote health and wellness both of the mind and body. We cover mental health topics, such as depression and schizophrenia, as well other miscellaneous topics, such as body language, anxiety, and stress. We relate these topics specifically to student life. For example, in the stress and anxiety meeting, we cover common symptoms, causes, and remedies of stress in a presentation format. Then, we move onto a discussion about the stresses we deal with at Andover and how we can implement solutions to releasing stress in a healthy way. In the latter part of the Winter term, we also discuss efforts of breaking the stigma around mental health. We introduce them to Active Minds, a non-profit organization as well as Andover student club that “empowers students to speak openly about mental health in order to educate others and encourage help-seeking” according to http://www.activeminds.org.
|[ Diagram of Many Topics Covered During Winter Term ]|
|[ Active Minds Logo ]|
Finally, in parallel with the vibrancy of Spring term, we move onto more exciting psychological experiments. We test out simple experiments, such as the Stroop Effect, Marshmallow Test, and the Magical Number Seven (Plus or Minus 2). The Marshmallow Test, a test of delayed gratification, is a club favorite. Just like the actual test, we hand out one marshmallow to each student in the room and give those who haven’t eaten it another one throughout designated intervals of time. Although the experiment was originally designed for children around the age of 4 (http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/22/us/marshmallow-test/index.html), experiencing the experiment is a fun segway into a discussion of the significance of the study. In addition to the experiments, the club also tries to invite one speaker during the Spring to discuss their research. Last year, we invited Dr. Erik Cheries, the director of the Infant Cognition Lab at UMass Amherst. By doing so, we hope to show students future career paths in psychology and help them build professional connections in the field.
|[ Picture from an Adaptation of the Marshmallow Test ]|
Ultimately, I recommend every student to try attending—or even creating—a psychology club. Even for students not planning to major in it, psychology is a field with many applications to our lives. It is also one of the most popular undergraduate majors in the United States. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d16/tables/dt16_322.10.asp?current=yes), in 2013-2014, psychology was the fourth most popular major, with 117,000 bachelor’s degrees having been conferred. Those curious about creating a psychology club should reference online forums and reach out to teachers for more advice.
Picture 1 : Yearbook Picture of 2016-2017 Andover Psychology Club, Taken by Student at Andover
Picture 2 : Diagram of MBTI (found on https://zombiesruineverything.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/basics3.png), but prevalent throughout the Internet without original source.
Picture 3 : Diagram of Many Topics Covered in Winter Term, (found on https://www.stewartmedicine.com/patient-education/patient-education-2/depression-mental-health)
Picture 4 : Active Minds Logo, (found on http://www.activeminds.org/our-programming/chapters/chapter-resources/active-chapters/269)
Picture 5 : Picture from an Adaptation of the Marshmallow Test, (Found on https://www.thestar.com/life/2011/09/03/marshmallow_test_holds_firm.html)
Phillips Academy (Andover)
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