STUDY: Featuring Gustav Nelson–in his own words

Gustav Nelson (photo credit: Christine Remedios)

“My journey to becoming an Honours psychology student has been a little unconventional. This is my third attempt at going to the University of Winnipeg. My first inclination out of high school was to become a lawyer followed by thinking I wanted to become an economist. In both cases I did not care much for what I was learning, so I stayed wondering about in life. I always had a propensity to learn about the dynamics of humans and more specifically the mind, the brain, and behaviour. My typical downtime readings involved Scientific American and Scientific American: Mind. It was after being introduced to the work of cognitive psychologist, Steven Pinker, and most specifically his book How the Mind Works, along with being very unhappy in life, that I said ‘Screw it: I’m going to pursue becoming a psychologist (or die trying).’ Five years later, here I am today and never happier with what I am doing and learning.

My ambition is to become a clinical psychologist. I enjoy studying and learning about the hardships that we as humans face stemming from our minds. Life is hard. It has many challenges. We feel pain, heartbreak, loss, and so much more, and we’re not given instruction manuals for ourselves. Some are better able to make it through life, while some are not.  I like to look at those hardships and ask ‘how do we make that better?’ or ‘how can we improve the lives of those facing challenges?’ As much as there are hardships, there are many good things and feelings to experience. It is just a matter of getting there. I feel a lot of the ways to make life better is for us to make ourselves better people; to be better communicators with one another, to be more compassionate, to be more understanding, to forgive more, to be better friends or family members, to give more to one another, to overcome our own struggles, to push ourselves just a little bit harder, and there’s so much more to write, but space is limited. After deciding to come back to university I wasn’t sure what I would gain from my education. I tried to approach my learning as absorbing as much as I can from wherever I can. Each one of my professors and classmates added something to that along the way. I feel I will be leaving a better person.”