University of Minnesota

Psychology Student Profile

Name: Kayla Hanzsek-Brill
Anticipated Graduation Year:
Major: Psychology BA

How and why did you choose your major?

I've always been interested in psychology-- what is the reason for behavior? Why do we do the things we do? Along with those questions that I am constantly asking myself, I have had my own experience with mental health and therapy, and because of the amazing work my therapists have helped me accomplish, I was drawn to this as well. My goal is to be a therapist so I can help and watch others grow to and be at a happier, healthier life. After taking a counseling psychology class, I absolutely knew that I wanted to become a therapist.

Please give a description (in your words) of your major including the things you learn, favorite classes, and any challenges you have faced.

Well, there's so much in psychology. If you're like me, you may not realize how many ways you can use psychology. I've taken psychology classes for statistics, research, counseling, and neuroscience. My favorites have been Introduction to Counseling Psychology and Sensation and Perception. Counseling Psychology taught me about the ethics and methods of therapy, and Sensation and Perception taught me more about the nervous system and five senses. I wouldn't have thought that the last one would have ended up being one of my favorites, as I have never felt that I am a "science person", yet it is so amazing to see what our body and brain does and how that may affect behavior. It's sometimes the classes that you're most nervous about that are the most fun!

What types of experiences outside of the classroom have you had relating to your major? (i.e. clubs, jobs, internships, volunteering, study abroad etc.)

I am a volunteer administrative assistant at a mental health clinic in downtown Minneapolis. I have learned about the ins and outs of working in a clinical setting. I am assigned tasks ranging from scanning inventories for mental health to keep stocked in the offices to helping clients set up appointments to entering data about client satisfaction and suggestions for change. I also get to talk to current therapists about what they like about their job, their educational path, and challenges they may face while they are in session with a client. It has been a great opportunity! I am also a member of the Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC), where twice a month, members of different groups on campus sit down with health administrators and discuss the needs of students on campus. Again, I have gained knowledge, but in a different way. I have learned more about the insurance system from a more administrative point of view. I have spoken to health care professionals about the problems we see on campus and how SHAC can help in creating change. I am also a founding member of SHAC's Mental Health subcommittee, so we meet and discuss what students want and need for mental health services and what other groups have proposed to administration so that we can help them in their mission as well.

In your opinion, what is one thing, or one piece of advice that other students pursuing your major should know?

Be ready for a large variety of information! You will not just get to focus on what you want for a future career in psychology; there are different areas you must fulfill so that you get a more well-rounded understanding of all the different branches that go into psychology. I was nervous at first about the cognitive and brain sciences, but like I said before, it has become one of my favorite classes because I am learning so much!

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