Like many Wheaton students, I came in to college with no idea what I wanted to do – so I came in as a Business/Economics major. Through the course of my first year of study, I really enjoyed the challenges of economic theory classes, but I felt I needed something more. Having come in with a few credits from high school, I faced a choice between graduating early and adding another major. Given that I was heavily involved in extracurricular activities as a Varsity Women’s Golfer, I had to think hard about what the added work load would do to my college experience. In the end, I decided to pick up a second major.
The natural choice for me was psychology. Sitting through the Psychology 101 lecture and soaking it all in like a sponge made it clear to me that I was in love with psychology. As I continued to pursue both majors, I began to see the threads of business and psychology weave together.
A Theoretical Conflict
Economics makes the assumption that individuals will act rationally. Psychology says something very different – individuals are predictable, but they are certainly not always rational. What was I supposed to do with this?
Having studied the two side by side, I have come to understand that while humans have a tendency to act rationally, the myriad of stimuli, persons of influence, and societal factors confuse what is rational for an individual. As such, each person behaves in a particular way as a sum of all the environmental influences that act upon that person. Many of these influences come from the world of business, especially from marketing. The world a consumer lives in is not the simple one shown in economics, but rather it is a world with thousands of messages bombarding an individual each day. Do this, not that. Be this, not that. Wear these clothes, drive this car, and care about this cause. At the end of the day, psychology and business are so closely interrelated that studying both has made perfect sense. It has also reinforced that the messages I create for others to see can have lasting impact. Every decision I make as a businesswoman and as a person is important and must be made with integrity.
Upon graduation this May, I will be working at a bank where I intend to bring my education to life. The business connection is easy because it’s through these classes that I learned all the financial concepts I need to do my job well. However, I feel especially prepared to succeed thanks to my psychology classes which have taught me that data is created by people who behave in certain ways because of the way they experience being human. Understanding how people think, whether it be customers, coworkers, or bosses, has given me the foundation I need to effect change in the work place and make a difference. The biblical call to be fruitful comes also with a call to stewardship. So as I go forth from Wheaton and produce, I must do so in a manner than honors God’s good creation, treating all with dignity and respect.
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