I chose my course because I knew it would be wide-ranging and really interesting! When going to the open day, the lecturer was so interesting and I was impressed with the university as a whole.
More about Helena
What inspired you to study BSc (Hons) Psychology (Forensic Psychology)?
"When deciding what degree you want to do, it can become a massive challenge in picking the ‘right’ degree, and yes to an extent you have to do that. For example, if you want to become a doctor you have to do medicine. But for me, I had no obvious career path when I was 18 so I picked a degree purely based on what I enjoyed.
I love understanding why people decide to behave or act in certain ways and have always had an interest in the thought processes behind that. From biopsychology to the psychology of the criminal justice system, I have found it all fascinating.
The main thing is to do something you enjoy, and you find with that everything else should fall into place."
Why did you choose your course and NTU?
"I chose my course because I knew it would be wide-ranging and really interesting!
When going to the open day, the lecturer was so interesting and I was impressed with the university as a whole. I liked that the campuses were spread around the city, so if you want a day away you can always get on the tram to Clifton. But I also loved that the City Campus was right in the heart of the city, the nightlife and the shops!
The facilities seemed great too, and they definitely are. The library and the Students’ Union are great study spaces. It’s always clean, it’s modern and just a nice working environment. I knew with the amount of time I spent in university I had to enjoy the working environment, and I felt that instantly with NTU."
What’s your experience been like of your course so far?
"In my first and second years, I always really enjoyed the labs and working in groups doing experiments, and then writing up reports. The support you get as a group is great in the labs, and it’s the perfect opportunity to ask loads of questions.
Statistics is challenging, and I think the majority of students find this, but I always thought it was fun to challenge myself and learn something new.
The tutor groups are a helpful and productive place to ask questions and meet people on a one-to-one basis. It was an enjoyable and safe space to learn new skills.
Coming into third year, I’ve found that asking loads of questions and getting as much support in these first two years really does help with the independent work you have to complete. For example, the labs in years one and two set you up really well for your third year, and you can go in with confidence you are getting it right."
Have you been involved in any projects or extra-curricular activities that have supplemented your studies run through NTU?
"In first year, I was a course representative, so was part of a small team that helped student voices be heard. It was a great experience to know more people on my course as well as lecturers.
In my second year, I was part of the intramural netball team, I knew I wasn’t the strongest player but really enjoyed the sport, so this was the perfect opportunity. I also joined the psychology society and enjoyed the social events that came along with that.
In third year, I knew my time would be restricted, so I decided to dedicate my time to the psychology society. I knew I wanted to play a more integral part in the society, so put myself forward as the health and well-being officer. Now with 316 members, I make sure our society is a safe space and holds regular well-being events. Sport is still an important part of my university experience, so decided I would try something new and join the ice-skating society. It’s a nice break from anything psychology related, and the people are all so friendly."
What does Social Sciences mean to you?
"I think social sciences play an integral part in everyone’s lives, whether you know it or not. It helps us understand ourselves, our relationships with others and our relationships with the world. It is where everything starts, from economics to social relations. It can also be applied to every field and discipline, and I think that’s what makes social sciences so unique. The ability to apply your degree in any field of work is amazing, and employers seem to love it!"
What do you think of the support available from tutors and staff at NTU?
"It’s amazing! As long as you put yourself out there and are not afraid to ask questions, you will receive all the help you need.
I would say there are four main sources of help I would recommend to people. Firstly, your personal tutor. You will be assigned one every year and these are your first port of call for anything.
Secondly, the university itself has a great support system on the Student Hub, and this runs across all student services from employability to the students’ union. You can also anonymously refer a friend if you’re concerned about their welfare, it’s a really useful and information-packed webpage.
Thirdly, the lecturers are always happy to answer questions either at the end of a lecture or usually on Microsoft Teams. Never be unsure about that- they’re teaching us because they love it as much as we do!
Lastly, the library support is so great! I went in second year having struggled with an essay and didn’t really know where to go next. There’s a great team on hand and I still use them over a year later. They really know their stuff about what the marker wants to hear and whether your writing actually makes sense!"
Outside of the Lecture Theatre
Did you find it easy to make friends and settle in at NTU?
"I think I had a unique experience going to university in 2020 as it was during the pandemic and the ability to go out and experience everything was prohibited. But, despite the massive restrictions, I still managed to make friends that I have to this day. I would say for anyone worried about it, the best thing to do is speak to everyone. On the first night in your accommodation, go and make dinner and sit in the kitchen and speak to people. In lectures, sit next to people and introduce yourself. Join societies and attend the first events they put on. Ask for people’s social media and meet up for a coffee or study session. It feels unnatural at the start to speak to strangers, but everyone’s in the same position.
I decided at the start of third year I wanted to join the ice-skating society, it looked so fun and was great exercise. None of my friends could make it or wanted to go, so I went by myself. Whilst I was putting my skates on, a girl came and sat next to me and we started chatting. I was so thankful she did and knew others probably felt like that when I approached them. I’m still friends with her now."
The Next Steps
What’s next for you after NTU?
"This is possibly the most daunting prospect because you’re so focussed on getting a degree that life after university becomes almost unthinkable. I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to do a masters, so spoke to my tutor and she advised me not to rush into it and come back to it if I’m still thinking about it in a year. So, I knew I needed to get a full-time job but had no idea what I wanted to do, all I had decided was that I love working with people. I am now in the interview process in recruitment consultancy, a competitive but social environment. My degree may not have led me directly to psychology, but it has given me the confidence to enter into a competitive workplace."
How is NTU helping you to achieve your career goals?
"Especially in third year, there is extra support for future prospects, and the employability team at NTU make sure they are always on hand to help with any issues. Firstly, each term lectures are given looking at career prospects. Not only does this give you an idea of what you want to do, but it also makes you so excited for the future!
The employability team have their own page with brilliant help on how to construct a CV, cover letter, etc. You can also go into Newton, where the employability team are from Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm to have in-person appointments. Here you can speak about your personal experiences with employability. There is also a chat system online. The NTU Employability website has helped me massively to find graduate schemes, and I am currently in the interview process for a couple of jobs. Not only do they have graduate jobs, but part-time roles (perfect if you need a job when starting university), placement opportunities and NTU enterprise. Take a look at the website, it’s amazing! There’re events, workshops, experiences, NTSU opportunities and more. Having no clue what career path I once wanted, I have never felt more supportive and confident when applying to competitive placements."
What top tips would you give anyone thinking about studying your course at NTU?
"There are a few things I would say to consider before applying to the course. Firstly, reading! It’s so important to do a lot of independent reading to help your understanding and also every time you write an essay or report, extra reading is vital. Secondly, the best thing alongside extra reading is to manage your time. University is designed to be flexible, but work to your strengths. If you work best in the morning then do your most challenging task first thing. It’s all up to you and what you make of it. Lastly, I would say attend the lectures, engage as much as possible and ask a million questions. The more you work in the first two years, the easier third year will be! Consolidate that knowledge and use it to your advantage where you can in third year. Enjoy it, enter into everything, and take it all in! At the end of the day, university is supposed to be fun, stimulating and rewarding."
Still need help?
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