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Shaun Oliver

BSc (Hons) Psychology

I’ve been surprised by how scientific the course is. It’s much more quantitative than I expected, but that has turned out to be a good thing.

For me, helping people is most meaningful thing I can imagine being able to do as a career. I’ve always been interested in people and was inspired by one of my leaders at Air Cadets who was a Clinical Psychologist. It was from talking to her that I thought psychology would suit me. I like the idea of being able to support people with their issues and find meaning, instead of suffering needlessly.

I’ve been surprised by how scientific the course is. I expected to learn about theories, but in a more qualitative way. It’s much more quantitative than I expected, but that has turned out to be a good thing. I think having a scientific psychological background will be really useful for getting a job in psychology. And studying a course accredited by the British Psychological Society will give you lots of opportunities.

I’ve had the chance to get paid experience carrying out psychological research through an internship within the psychology department. We’re running a series of experiments to investigate how emotional reactions in group situations are affected by alcohol. As part of this project, I’ve worked with participants to ensure control for ethical issues, and administer tests – all of which are excellent skills to put on my CV and discuss at interviews.

Having this experience was a major factor in securing a sandwich placement next year. I’ll be spending a year with an NHS community mental health team in Cornwall. I’ll have the chance to work with a range of professionals including counsellors, mental health nurses, psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, and psychotherapists. I think this will be a great way to give more thought to what I want to do in the future. I’m really looking forward to doing a bit of everything and meeting lots of people in their various job roles and client groups.