After being a student ambassador for some Open Days at the University of York this week, I have realised that a particular worry people have when choosing a Psychology degree, is where it will take them in the future.
So… I thought I would give you an insight into some of the careers you could embark upon, my plans for a career, and why you should choose Psychology at York!
You don’t HAVE to do a degree purely for the JOB at the end of it
When I was in college, a guest speaker told us that we should do a degree in something we enjoy, something we are passionate about and want to delve deeper into. This was when I changed my mind from wanting to study MATHS to wanting to study PSYCHOLOGY!
I realised I wanted to do a maths degree for all the wrong reasons – the well paid jobs, the idea that someone studying maths ‘must be clever’… These may be important for some people, but for me I wanted to spend 3 years reading a subject that gripped and excited me, and Psychology at York certainly does that.
When I first decided to apply for a degree in Psychology, I was doing it because I loved it so much at A-Level. But once I started to receive offers and prepare to flee the nest, I began looking into careers.
I joined York wanting to become an Educational Psychologist
An Educational Psychologist works in educational settings, mainly with children, to ensure they are receiving the most effective schooling for them. They often encounter pupils who require additional needs such as being on the Autism Spectrum or having Dyslexia, and will assess those children to provide the right support for them in school and home environments.
For a while I felt sure I had a life plan sorted. Get my degree, do a Masters in Educational Psychology and then get a doctorate to become chartered. Little did I realise how much my degree at York was going to unearth a whole field of Psychology I never even knew existed.
Studying Psychology at York is so incredibly exciting because of the world-class research carried out by the same people who teach you. I began learning about face perception, hearing, dementia, colour blindness and so many other fascinating topics that I had no idea fell under the umbrella of Psychological Studies! I was HOOKED!
So after discovering all these new fields of research, I felt lost for a while about what career to take. I considered working in clinical settings with patients who suffered from various mental conditions such as Dementia or Depression. I also considered raising awareness of psychology in schools by teaching it at GCSE or A-Level.
Something that helped my massively throughout the process of not knowing what to do was the support available at this University. Not only is there a large Careers Service available to the whole University, but there are also dedicated Psychology staff for careers support who are happy to talk to you (or calm you down when you’re having a break-down) at any time. Being able to talk to people who were so encouraging and supportive really helped me to realise that I was in no rush, and under no pressure to make my decisions. I could take my time choosing the thing that was right for me. I think the warm, friendly environment that the Psychology Department provides is unique to The University of York.
After taking a back seat on career decisions, and obtaining volunteer and work experience in various contexts, I finally settled on a future pathway: Forensic Psychology. Forensics is in the field of crime and punishment. A forensic psychologist would work with the police to solve crimes and establish why they were committed, or would work with offenders in prison or being released from prison to help them reform and get back out into the world.
This area of Psychology has fascinated me for many years, and I never really considered taking it further. But I have now applied for Masters courses in Forensic Psychology and will hopefully become a chartered Forensic Psychologist in the not-too-distant future.
Psychology can take you on so many avenues! To name a few others – Clinical, Teaching, Counselling, Child, Vision, Sport, Occupational and Neurological! It is for this reason that a majority of graduates wanting to obtain careers as chartered psychologists will require further education such as Masters or PhD/Doctorate. It can be a long training process for careers in this field, but I have no doubt in my mind that the outcome, the job, the career, is 100% worth it.
It is important to also remember that you do not have to finish your degree with a plan. You could take some time out to work and save money or go travelling. Don’t make a choice that you’re not certain about just to make people think you have a career path planned out. It has to be right for YOU!
I hope this helps to ease any worries you may have. If you enjoy Psychology and want to study it further – then do! Have fun and be fascinated by the amazing subject that it is. Worry about your decisions when you really need to.
Please feel free to ask me any questions regarding careers in Psychology or studying the subjects, or the University. I am more than happy to help!