Prior to studying abroad in England, I had an extreme prejudice for psychology. Having gone to several psychologists as a child during my parents’ divorce (court ordered), I learned that psychologists, or at least the ones I had to go to, failed to listen to anything that I had to say. I felt like I wasn’t valued, and since they showed me little respect (they meaning 5 different psychologists), I wasn’t going to give any psychologists respect. Naturally not consciously realizing that not all psychologists are the same.
So by the time I went off to college I felt like I had nothing to learn from psychology courses, which was a dramatically different view than the grades I received in psychology courses. In fact, apparently, although unconsciously, I misbehaved so much in Intro to Psych by challenging the professor too much, too often, that I was called into the department head’s office to explain and defend my behavior. This was easy to defend, since the first day of class the professor had written on the board ‘CHALLENGE EVERYTHING”. So I could hardly be at fault for following directions. I later amended the relationship with the professor by working one-on-one with him on a project, developing an amazing relationship.
Another example of the absurd way I treated professors comes from my Intro to Sociology course. I had heard that the professor was extremely strict and rude. Again, letting prejudice get the better of me, I decided on the first day of class that I couldn’t speak. I actually thought that this would make her call on me less and therefore I wouldn’t have to speak to someone I didn’t respect (all the while not even knowing her). I used various hand gestures that I created on the spot or wrote notes that were read aloud by the professor to elaborate on views that I wanted to share. One day, we had a substitute professor come in, and I opened my mouth, much to the chagrin of the class; most of whom didn’t know I could speak. When the professor came to our next class, and I continued not talking, many of my peers let out grunts and statements like “oh come on.” But still, I ended up going the entire semester without talking, until the final day of class, where I spoke with the professor, and apologized for my behavior. Since then we have remained in contact, and I strongly value her opinion and the way she conducts herself.
The key take away being–prejudice isn’t a recipe for success. (You would have thought that this would be a non-issue these days, but sadly, I was only taught to not be prejudice towards race, religion, sexuality, etc and not told that it was bad to be biased towards careers….lesson learned).