So it’s that time of year again, Freshers. It’s been three years since I did my final ‘back to uni’ drive with a car crammed full of all my essentials. God do I miss it. So here I am, entering my third year as a Psychology graduate and I realised that this weekend is move in weekend for many, including those attending my alumnus. If you’re just starting, or just finishing, your Psychology degree, here are the five things you need to know.
1. Fields is your friend, keep him close.
Whether you have no idea what SPSS is or you’re just about to start your dissertation and you’re dreading the thought of statistics, this book is your Bible. It is the size and weight of a small dog but it will be the one thing to survive your course besides yourself and hopefully your sanity. A lot of graduates will be glad to see the back of this tome and will be selling it off second hand, so you don’t need to break the bank. Covering every single aspect of statistical analysis and research methods an undergrad could need, you’d be a fool to ignore him. He’s also pretty funny too.
2. You have time, enjoy it.
Three years will fly by and between essay deadlines and exams you will probably think a social life is a luxury, but that’s just first semester. I remember having 9-5 lectures every Monday and a compulsory stats tutorial 3-5 on a Friday every week, plus being told I had 5 pieces of coursework and 5 exams to look forward to. They like to throw everything at you in your first week to see who can manage it, it only gets easier and more manageable as time goes on. Trust me when I tell you that the further into your course you get, the less contact time you have. So make the most of it!
3. Your degree should be no more than 75% of the experience.
Seriously. Make friends, join societies, gain work experience, earn some extra money. Don’t tie yourself to lectures and coursework, especially in first year. By all means, try your hardest and do your best but don’t miss out on what will absolutely be the best three years of your life! Even if the nightclub scene or sports socials aren’t your thing, I can promise you that there will be a society for EVERYTHING. Try something new and find your passions. Blog about your experiences, make a YouTube channel, build a club or society of your own! No employer is interested in someone who didn’t make the most of a fantastic opportunity.
4. Clinical Psychology isn’t your only option.
You will soon be shown statistics of how many psychology graduates pursue clinical psychology. The professional doctorate will appear like the holy grail. It isn’t the only way, and you shouldn’t feel corralled into a profession that is hugely competitive. Counselling, Forensic, Educational, Occupational, and Health Psychology are worth a glance, too! Not every psychology graduate stays within psychology, some become teachers or HR managers, or even work in branding and marketing. If you’re a blogger, use that to your advantage. It could get you quite far in a non-clinical world.
5. You‘ll love it.
I loved my degree. That doesn’t mean I didn’t stress out or I didn’t get upset. That definitely doesn’t mean I got a first or ever felt like I was a genius. What it does mean is that the challenges I faced made me so much smarter and more aware of what psychology is and does. If you make the most of these three years you will honestly come out of it with such a sense of pride and achievement. Whether you get a first and end up on the Clinical Doctorate two years later or get a 2:2 and decide to work in an entirely different field, it doesn’t matter. Your happiness does. So for all us graduates out here trying to adult and being hugely envious of your frivolous lives – enjoy it!
If you do want to chat about psychology or the clinical route please do visit me on Instagram or Twitter.
Are you studying Psychology? Did you recently graduate and think there’s something else our successors should know? Let me know what you think in the comments!