Sean Sokler
English 302

Why I Chose Psychology As My Major

I am Sean Sokler.  I am an unusual George Mason college student.  I am autistic.  I have virtually no verbal language.  I have to type or spell out everything I say and think.  I attend classes with the help of my assistant, Angela Natale.

When I first started George Mason in the fall of 1999, I was just happy and overjoyed about attending college.  My initial focus was figuring out how many classes I could handle at one time, and how I could do the work required for the courses.  What the courses were and what my major might be seemed less important.  However, my assistant, Angie, and I worked out those things pretty well, and therefore I was able to decide what my major should be.

Initially, I chose a general studies focus.  I finally decided, however, to major in Psychology.  I had taken some psychology courses at George Mason, and I had found them interesting.  Psychology is the social science that studies human behavior, human emotions, and the human mind.  Because I am autistic, my mind is very different than virtually everybody else.  I react in different ways, have different emotions, and have emotions that are probably more intense than everyone else.  There are some things I do not understand at all.  I thought that majoring in psychology might help me both understand my own mind and behavior better and also help me understand the world better.

I have been happy with my choice.  I have found many of the psychology courses, particularly behavior and adolescent psychology, interesting.  Because of my physical and emotional issues, I have found that taking the experimental psychology courses, along with their laboratories are more difficult.  I also like facts, which I find easier to learn, so I have also taken many history courses.

As to the future, that is a very, very difficult question.  I will always be autistic.  I will always need help.  I want to do something to assist, and advocate for, people like me.  I hope what I have learned in psychology will help me achieve that.  However, I still need to think, learn, and search more for what opportunities I will have in my future.