PSYC 201 orientation: A guidance initiative

Hadi Afif

The PSYC 201 Fall orientation took place Monday, September 11 at 6:00 pm in the Charles Hostler Auditorium as part of the Department of Psychology’s ongoing initiative to provide guidance for its students.

The orientation first took place in the Spring semester of 2016 as a result of the increasing number of admissions to the major in recent years, as well as the increasing popularity of the course, that is supervised by course coordinator May Awaida, Ph.D.

Catering to Psychology majors and even non-majors, the orientation introduced course objectives and gave insight into the field of Psychology, tackling questions that are often asked by new students about the major and future career opportunities.

The instructors dedicated a considerable portion of the event to demonstrating the importance of Psychology as a science to real life situations. Through interaction with the audience and with the help of visual aids, course instructors provided statistics and facts about mental health in the region, a topic often shrouded with stigma.

“72% of Lebanese think that mental illness is a result of lack of discipline and willpower,” read one of the presentation slides. In addition, instructors shared statistics about the prevalence of mental illness in Lebanon, stating that “one out of four people will experience a mental illness at some point in their lives,” and that only “one out of 10 people will seek help.”

PSYC 201 orientation presenters and instructors, (credits: Hadi Afif).

The session continued to discuss the warning signs of mental illness with the students, highlighting the importance of awareness and seeking psychological and medical help through the university’s counselling center and AUBMC’s Department of Psychiatry.

The event also focused on guidance for pre-medical students, who take the course as part of their preparation for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).

Dr. Kamal Badr, the Associate Dean for Medical Education, discussed the criteria for admission to AUB’s Faculty of Medicine. He emphasized the importance of Psychology for the MCAT and the increase in the acceptances of Psychology students into AUB’s medical school. He went on to discuss the importance of Psychology in the field of Medicine.

Sinine Nakhle, PSYC 201 instructor and FAS Career Services Officer, closed the event by informing FAS students of the work of the FAS Career Services Office and the various assets they can benefit from.

“This [event] is important for students because there are some issues they were not aware of. It gives them a bird’s eye view of the major itself, and I think that the reason that the Psychology department is the only department which has [taken such an initiative] is because we get a lot of requests for transfers into Psychology.

“The trend has been that student take PSYC 201 and find it very interesting, so they decide to transfer. When they come to this event, we tell them about the importance of having a Psychology minor, and the opportunities that it opens for them. In a sense it is not only an orientation for the course, but an orientation for the field as well,” explained Nakhle in an interview with Outlook.

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