So you want to study psychology?

Hi everyone, thought I’d do a slightly different post today – I’m just about to start my last term as a psychology student and I wanted to do a kind of reflection/why psychology/what next post to look back at my time at university and to look forward at what I want to do after.

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To start with, without sounding too negative, let’s start with The Bad:

1. statistics

2. statistics on a computer

This is definitely the bit of my degree which did not come naturally to me. I’d dread stats, but if you want to get into psychology, you need to accept that they’re never going to go away. So after lots of practice (and stress) I’m proud to say I can now work out the means/statistical significance/outcomes from an experiment using SPSS (statistics software).

Luckily, I’ve got a lot more to say about The Good:

1. Learning a subject that I find fascinating

2. Learning a subject that other people are interested about, and will ask you questions on

3. Carrying out my own experiment

4. Being able to choose to write my dissertation on almost anything

5. Doing things that are pretty out of the ordinary, e.g. taking part in an experiment where I had to smell things and write down what colour they smelt like.. I held an ACTUAL human brain (smaller, but heavier than I expected).

And I also learnt some pretty cool things as well:

1. How autobiographical memories are formed and where they are stored in the brain – through a process called ‘long-term potentiation’ and the hippocampus and cerebral cortex.

2. Why men are more likely to be colourblind – abnormality on the X chromosome, women have a spare.

3. Babies about a month old can distinguish between speech sounds older infants and adults can’t.

4. Why phantom limbs can hurt, and how to treat this pain.

5. That treating mental illness can actually save the country money (more on this in a future post).

I really, really enjoyed my degree, and I’d definitely recommend studying psychology for someone who finds my blog, and other things about the subject interesting. You learn a lot, covering a lot of different fields, from social psychology to neuroscience, and you can go into almost any profession afterwards.

So what next? During my degree, I’ve realised that I can’t really see myself doing a job that doesn’t involve psychology. My aim eventually is to become a Clinical Psychologist, and work in a hospital helping patients. Until then I’d like to get involved with some research, volunteer with a mental health charity, and get experience as an Assistant Psychologist.

Until then, I’ve just got to get through finals – wish me luck!

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