My first year as a psychology student!

When I was asked to write this blog for the School of Psychology initially I was overwhelmed; not because I didn’t have anything to say, but because I probably have too much. In the short 9 months that I have been here for, I have never felt more at home; not only in a University that is just so welcoming, a city that is so much more vibrant than my hometown Coventry, but mostly in a subject that I absolutely adore and continue to learn from every day!

I know it sounds hard to believe, but up until 3 years ago I didn’t even really know psychology existed as a subject. After 2 years of studying it at A level (with two incredible teachers that I can only thank for sparking my passion for psychology), I knew it was what I wanted to pursue further into university. And boy am I glad I made that decision! I have never really had a solid idea of what I wanted to do with my life; one week I want to join the police force, the next I’m thinking about being a teacher, then the next I want to work at Heathrow airport (don’t ask me why on that one, because I’m not sure even I know). But that’s what is so brilliant about psychology, there are so many aspects of the subject that I am constantly being given the opportunity to explore new areas and get new ideas of where I want to go in life.

Our last lecture of first year!

Our last lecture of first year!

The first year on this course is designed to give you an insight into a variety of areas in psychology, from psychobiology to social development, not one thing has been the same and I have honestly loved that. After what felt like the longest summer of my life after A levels, I thought that getting back into a ‘working mindset’ would be impossible, but I’ve not wanted to stop! In particular, I’d probably say (so far) my favourite module has been Cognition in Clinical Contexts; every lecture was on a different topic and I just felt like I was learning some really cool stuff that could totally make me sound like a much more interesting person (sounds lame I know).

At school I was always told that the step up from GCSE’s to A levels was a big jump, but nothing compared to the ginormous leap between A levels and university… but I don’t 100% agree with this. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think university is easy but I think it’s difficult to compare the two. When you get to university you’re not treated like a baby, you’re left to set your own work regime, your mum won’t get you out of bed for your 9am, you’re making your own dinners and you won’t get detention for not doing your homework (if you miss the deadline, you miss it, there isn’t any leeway). But saying this, you’re not abandoned and if you ask for help it is always there. The staff in the school of psychology are some of the most committed I think you could get, if you email or post on the online forum, sometimes you’ll get a reply within minutes!

This first year has absolutely flown by and there is so much more I could say. I know I’m not greatly experienced as a student just yet, if anything I’m still getting my feet off the ground, but I have a few bits of advice for oncoming psychology students that may be helpful…

  1. Don’t worry about not making any friends on the course, because you will. Psychology is full of the loveliest people and at the start of the year everyone is in the same boat as you, wanting to make friends. (Side note: I know Jack and Jamie will get sore if I don’t mention them at this point, so thankyou to them for making lectures that little bit more fun.)
  2. Find a work pattern that suits YOU best. If bashing out an essay two days before the deadline works best for you, don’t worry if someone else has got it submitted 2 weeks beforehand. Everyone works in different ways, you do you.
  3. Just because lectures are recorded, don’t use this as an excuse to always skip them, there’s something just that little bit more effective about being there in person.
  4. Don’t panic about the maths/research skills side of psychology. If I managed to go from a U in my AS statistics exam to a 1st in my research skills exam then anyone can do it, trust me.
  5. Enjoy yourself, enjoy the course, enjoy the university, enjoy Brighton, because 3 years are going to fly past before you know it…
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