Dr. Jennifer Wosmek and students in supervised study class

Unique psychology class offers look toward the future

Let your mind wander back to your college days. Did you ever question, “Where will I be in ten, twenty, or even thirty years from now?” Were you concerned about making the correct career choice? What happens if I don’t like my work? A course developed by Dr. Jennifer Wosmek (psychology), helps to alleviate some of the uncertainty for psychology students at Bethany Lutheran College. 

At the broadest level, the goal of Wosmek’s supervised study course in psychology is to help students identify where they are going and how they are going to get there. 

The course requirements are arranged to provide students with experiences that will improve the likelihood that their plans will become a reality. Students meet weekly as a group to network with each other regarding weekly tasks and progress. They also meet weekly with the instructor in private to develop and discuss individual weekly tasks. To make such individualized instruction possible, the enrollment for this course is purposely kept under ten students. 

“Supervised study gave me the chance to sharpen my time management skills. We often had five to ten tasks due for the week on top of the homework from all our other classes. I had to learn various strategies in order to complete everything on time,” said student Sarah Doebbeling. “Supervised study was definitely the most challenging course of my college career, but also one of the most valuable.” 

Supervised study in psychology offers an opportunity for first-hand learning experience within an area of interest. Designed specifically for psychology students, the course consists of both individual and group work. Students first become familiar with the range of career options available in psychology and, based on their talents, go on to develop areas of interest. Students engage in professional development within psychology, establish contacts within their areas of interest, and gain hands-on experiences in applied settings. 

In addition to their individualized career development, the class also entails a spiritual component. As a group, the students learn about the doctrine of Christian vocation, as described by Gene Veith in his book God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life. This book stresses the concept of doing everything for God’s glory in all aspects of life; personal and professional. 

“Of course everything in the class was of importance, but the most important aspect (which helped all of us survive the mental and emotional intensity of the class) was Veith’s book God at Work, which essentially emphasizes the recognition of the importance of our various vocations throughout life and ultimately serving God through everything we are and do,” said student Abigail Lecy.   

This course even comes with its own dress code. Throughout the course students are required to come to each of the group meetings in professional attire. To keep this simple and equitable, Wosmek has defined this as “black and white clothing, formal, and no frills.” 

This unique course was designed to avoid the “deer in the headlights” feeling some students (and their parents) fear they will experience upon graduation. Through the experiences provided in this course, students emerge prepared and confident in their ability to tackle current and future career challenges. 

Christa Redmann said of the class, “Many people will say the class was extremely hard and time-consuming and yes it probably was. However, I was pushed to my very limits and for that I will be forever grateful.” And she added, “In the end this class challenged me physically, emotionally, and spiritually all for the better.”

The semester concludes with “journey presentations” wherein students present a review of their “journey” through the semester to friends, family, and faculty. This provides students with the opportunity to reflect on the experiences they have had and celebrate how far they have come. 

Michah Teisberg offered her summary of the class, “Through taking this course, I feel more self confident that I am able to accomplish what I set out to do, and have the tools to succeed in my field of psychology and in my personal life in general. Though it was challenging at times, when you finish this class you feel like you can accomplish anything, and it is so rewarding to finish something that many students don’t even want to attempt to do. The greatest part of the class was our final presentations, because through these you really saw how far you and everyone in the class had come.”