Pavlov's Couch

A Psychology Student's Mental Experience

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Personal Tutors

I wasn’t too happy with my results at the end of last term. I set myself high standards, driven in part by the knowledge of how competitive it is – an insane 15% acceptance rate last year! So having a C and a C plus in my grades at the end of term was obviously not something I was happy about. I realised that I need to put more effort in this term – and dropping out of all societies and such last term didn’t help the way I expected it to. In fact I suspect it made things worse, because it allowed me to be less organised which soon descended into plain disorganised and lazy!

One of the things I have decided to do this term to improve things is make more use of my personal tutor. I am generally pretty good at sorting my own mess out so speaking to my PT has, in the past, tended to be him confirming that am already doing the right thing or me just saying everything is fine. So I haven’t made much effort to keep my PT up to date in the past, only seeing him at the start of each term. But I am going to make an effort from now on to keep in regular contact.

So I started already. This week I had a very good session with my PT who was kind enough to put up with me for almost an hour and a half rather than the traditional fifteen minutes! He made a very good point after listening to me list the things I think I did wrong and how I’m trying to fix them: I need to be careful that I don’t get so caught up looking back at what I did wrong last term that I am stop paying attention to this term! Especially since I am so critical of myself I can get caught up thinking that anything less than perfect is a disaster!

Other than supporting you and giving you advice through your degree, personal tutors do something else for you possibly even more important than that: they write your reference at the end of you degree! If you haven’t kept up with your tutor, if you haven’t built a relationship and got to know each other, then that will show in your reference. So yes, it’s important to meet with your personal tutor regularly even if everything is going fine.

Being an Ambassador

I have been a Student Ambassador for Widening Participation pretty much since my first week at Brunel. I was introduced to the scheme by the ambassadors that facilitated Head Start Week that I attended in my first year (a week before freshers week where certain students have the opportunity to come in, experience various lectures and seminars, and get to explore the campus and services). As a ambassador for widening participation I get to talk to younger students from under represented backgrounds about the benefits and experience of higher education. I give short talks on my experience as a student, take groups on tours of the campus, and try to fill young students with an interest and enthusiasm for higher education that they might not otherwise have.

And there are days like today, where I am at a higher education fayre at a college. I am here to talk to students and parents and there are a lot more practical questions to answer (most groups on campus are primary or middle school so much more general interest).

I love this work, I love having the opportunity to encourage people from a more difficult background (like myself) to aim higher, to believe in themselves and aspire to be better than the opportunities given to them. And as a student I have to admit that, being paid work, the money is certainly welcome!

We Are The Champions!

I seem to have become a different person. From the anxiety and complete lack of confidence I have had for some time (very much reinforced by my experiences in my previous job), I have made a complete turn around. This week I have been confident and outgoing, spoken to and made friends with lots of people.

Not only that, but other things have changed too. All my life I have been disorganised. So much so that every single teacher, and every boss, has brought it up as an issue. My general organisation and time management skills have always been laughably bad. But this week I was specifically complimented on my organisation skills, both in my own organisation and my ability to organise our group! It is amazing what happens when you have some real passion for something 🙂

This week has been great, and incredibly useful. I now feel far more comfortable with the start of freshers fayre next week thanks to already being familiar with the campus, already knowing some students, and having already got things like my network login sorted. On top of this the lectures on study skills and so on that I have had this have really boosted my confidence, and I now know where to get plenty more help. Not to mention knowing where all the other support such as counselling, advice, and so on are. If you are a new student and your university runs a head start programme, I highly recommend it!

I have been so enthused by this week that I have even signed up to be a student ambassador, doing things like helping out with weeks like this one (our student ambassadors were fantastic!). As well as being paid work that looks to be very rewarding, it will also help me improve my presentation skills, and look great on my CV (alongside Student Rep for Student Member Group of BPS which I have also applied for!).

Talking about presentations, our group project went fantastic! We finished bang on time, everyone presented their part brilliantly, and the video interview we put in seemed to impress everyone. We got lots of compliments all round 🙂

I feel great!

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