Virtuous Prom Scholarship 2019 Entry by Sara Zampino

In today’s world and throughout history, misunderstandings about groups of people have lead to horrific displays of violence and destruction. This performance of violence leads to even more misconceptions about groups of people thought to be behind them. With the way current events are progressing, it seems inevitable that each terrible act will lead to more violence, as if in retaliation. If we wish to change the direction the world is headed in, it is necessary that the developing generations are taught to understand how people, societies, and cultures work. By spreading knowledge of such matters, misunderstandings can be eradicated in order to develop a world that is willing to admire differences rather than squash them.

As someone who is majoring in psychology and has taken numerous classes in similar fields, I understand the dramatic shift of mindset that comes with learning to understand the way people work. Psychology, the scientific study of the human mind, allows us to observe scientific
evidence of similarities and differences between people. These studies open up the mind to understanding the ways in which people are the same, regardless of dissimilarities in religion or ethnicity. In the case of cultural psychology, studies can even provide possible answers as to why there are differences between people and how cultures play a hand in creating these differences. Pursuing an education in such a field is the key to creating a world that radiates peace, understanding, tolerance, and kindness. Through studying the human mind, one begins to see
connections between how a person’s cognition, traits, and environments can all play a role in their behaviors. This connection allows for the analyzation of all types of behavior, even ones such as violence. An education in psychology gives people the ability to find an answer to the question of “why did that person or group act violently?”. If a psychological factor can be found that connects violent acts together, then psychology could possibly provide a hypothesis for the solution to the world’s violence. Therefore, studying psychology is imperative in the struggle for a world of peace.

In my experience of taking classes for my psychology major, I have witnessed the ways in which learning the subject can provide great clarity to external situations. During my time in my current cultural psychology course, I have studied how people’s cultures can be an influence
to their behavior and their thinking patterns. Having an education in such concepts has given me the gift of understanding and tolerance; I have gained a better understanding of why people of different religions, ethnicities, or other cultural groups may behave and think differently than I do which has granted me tolerance and appreciation of the differences surrounding me. This has affected the way I go about my day to day life by influencing me to be more compassionate to others who are different from me.

Given the world’s past and current tensions, there is a need for the compassion that an education in psychology and similar fields would bring. Having an understanding of how people work paves the way for the appreciation of difference. This is why it is my dream to pursue the field of psychology throughout college and even post-graduation. Psychologists are crucial in promoting peace, kindness, understanding, and tolerance because of their ability to understand the minds of people. I wish to take on the challenge of following this important career path in order to help others and to ignite as much change in the world as possible. Even if my future actions might immediately appear small in scale, I hope to spread that impact as much as possible and to use myself to influence others to take on an education in psychology themselves.

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