Spotlight Society: Psych Soc

Ella-Bleu Kiely speaks to Psych Soc President Charlie Conner on the society that cares for the mind

Believe it or not, not all psychologists just sit analysing people’s personal issues, and neither do members of Trinity’s Psych Soc. The term “psychology” refers to the scientific study of the human mind and its functions, but Psych Soc strives to broaden this in what they do. Speaking with the society’s president, Charlie Conner, we discussed his Psych Soc journey, the society’s themed events and the goal in which they always strive towards. 

Now a third year psychology student, Conner originally joined Psych Soc to get to know people as a newcomer to Dublin. “I really came into Trinity not knowing anyone, and as a Psychology student, I thought it would just make sense for me to join. I ran for first year rep so I could get to know people better I think it’s definitely worked out for me being president and all, but I’ve made so many great friends along the way.” Conner also expressed that this is what Psych Soc is really about: “common interest and getting people together to have a real good time.”

Naturally, a lot of the society’s body is made up of psychology students, but they are “obviously so open to everyone”, Conner stated. He explained that this year there is a shockingly large number of Erasmus and exchange students, from all courses of study. “There definitely is a variety this year […] the society is so much broader than just psychology.”

The Psych Soc president expressed that he believes a lot of people have an interest in psychology, whether they know it or not. During the recent Freshers Fair the society really wanted to reveal to students how enlightening hearing others’ insights into psychological matters can be and what psychology, itself, can be. “It may come across very mathematical sometimes, but there’s so much you can do with it,” Conner said. “I think opening up people’s minds to topics that they know and are interested in can be great. I think Psych Soc is definitely a launch-pack for getting interested in the field.”

When asked if the society’s events are always psychology themed, Conner laughed: “Well, yes we always try to make them so! I think this past year we’ve been so starved for social interaction and it’s been so great starting to actually meet people. We’re going to start some educational events in the coming weeks, but they will be psych themed.” Every week, the society holds Psych Answer, where a chosen psychological topic is chosen and discussed over tea and coffee in the morning an intellectual start to your day. Conner explained that despite the chat being educational it’s rather laid back: “At no point would anyone feel like they’re in a lecture or feel completely lost.” Described as being “pretty chill”, it is a nice way to learn more about psychology and human behaviour through social interaction. 

“The society invites speakers from across the field to bestow insights into the many paths that can be taken with an interest and/or degree in psychology.”

Psych Soc also offers academic and career driven guidance to its members all year long. The society invites speakers from across the field to bestow insights into the many paths that can be taken with an interest and/or degree in psychology. “Psychology careers can definitely be hazy,” Conner admitted. “We always like to remind everyone that there are so many options.” 

The society has previously invited local Irish influencers to speak with members about mindfulness, and more recently reached out to YouTube personalities Ella Ringrose (a thought leader who has devoted her life to help ambitious women rise to their truest potential) and Sinead O’Hegarty (motivational speaker and meditation guide). “Of course we try to reach out to people relevant in the field, but also people who are less educationally driven. I think the influencers can be much more appealing to some of the society’s members. They are still speaking about things relevant to the field, just with a less scientific approach. It’s important to keep your eyes open,” Conner said. 

Psych Soc takes pride in the work they do alongside LGBTQ+ charities and those that focus on psychological issues. “We also aim to work alongside charities that deal with homelessness in Ireland and mental health. I think it’s just so important to get them in and speak.” Last week the society held an event in conjunction with LGBTQ+ Ireland, an organisation Conner revealed the society loves to work with. 

The ultimate goal of Psych Soc this year is to inform members of the importance of mental health and how to better understand it. “Especially this year, coming out of a pandemic, you hear ‘mental health matters’ being kind of thrown around a lot, and it isn’t really given an explanation to what mental health looks like. I think Psych Soc is really trying to educate people in a fun and social way about what mental health is and what psychology is and can be,” Conner added. 

The society wants to show students exactly how psychology ties to mental health and to be graciously aware of it. “If you don’t know what symptoms of poor mental health look like and what to look out for then how can you help yourself and others? We encourage getting to know yourself better and as a result of that having a good time as you’re more comfortable in your skin,” Conner said. He also admitted that this may sound like a lot for a society to achieve, “but through events we’ve had with discussing how the brain works we’ve found it surprisingly doable.”

Psych Soc is open to everyone, and despite many of the society’s members hailing from a psychological course of study, other students should never feel unwelcome. There is always room for new members. “All you need is an interest and open mind,” Conner remarked. To finish, when asked what he enjoys most about the society, Conner laughed and said: “Personally, I think one of the greatest things about Psych Soc is that we get to be so vague with it.” 

Ella-Bleu Kiely

Ella-Bleu Kiely is the current Deputy Life Editor of Trinity News, and a Senior Sophister Classics and English Literature student.