Psychology Personal Statement
Submitted by Antoinette
Every few minutes since the age of 9 I have put on hand cream. It was however, only last year that I was diagnosed with xerophobia, the irrational fear of dryness. When I tell people what I suffer from, a typical response starts with “On the plus side” and ends with something like “It could be worse”. For me, “On the plus side” ends with “that is what got me interested in psychology”. I gave a talk about irrational phobias at my school’s Psychology Society. I wanted to talk about my own experience with “phobias” as well as the science that was being used to explain them, so I began to read articles on phobia diagnosis and causes. This led me to look into therapy using subliminal messaging, which enriched my talk and was interesting for me personally due to my own condition. I began to think more about how important psychology really is. A body is the physical representation of a person, but take away the brain and that body becomes nothing at all because who every person is and what every person does exists there.
Volunteering at a primary school unexpectedly increased my interest in studying Psychology. One lunch, I handed a child a slice of pizza which he refused due to some tomato that was visible on the top. When I removed the tomato, the pizza received a warm welcome. His perception of the almost identical slices was altered by negative feelings towards the tomato on top of the first and I was reminded of an article I had read about how visible perception of food can influence its taste. Applying my knowledge of the brain to explain an everyday situation was very gratifying and I am excited to continue expanding this knowledge. In Art, I produced a soundscape using recorded fragments of people recounting their dreams. I spent a lot of time focusing on Surrealism, an artistic movement in which painters used automatism to access their subconscious minds and create their work. I was intrigued by Surrealism because it brought together two of my passions, art and psychology and I followed up my intrigue by writing an essay on the work of Dalí, an artist very concerned with his own perception of the world and how others would then perceive his work in the context of their own emotions. At school, I am taking Biology, French and Art but I also studied English literature last year. Each of my subjects has helped me to acquire skills, such as essay writing and focussed creativity as well as scientific and mathematical skills that have broadened my abilities in psychology. I love the experimental side of biology and so my favourite part of the A-level has been the ecology topic because we had the opportunity to design and carry out our own experiments and then assess our data statistically.
Outside of my studies, I am a keen cook, love to walk and have an interest in theatre which led me to take on the task of directing a play. I was in charge of everything from finance to publicity to directing the actors and in the end, ‘The 39 Steps’ was a huge success, selling 400 tickets and making £1,400 in profit, donated to charity. Putting myself forward for the role of director was unquestionably one of the best decisions I have ever made. It allowed me to work with a variety of different people and I developed skills in leadership, teamwork and organisation which will continue being useful for the rest of my life. Something I have enjoyed about the senior school is being able to study things that interest me outside of the syllabus. Over summer, I wrote an essay entitled “What are the effects of faith healing on American people and to what extent are these effects negative?”. It gave me a chance to further explore my love of psychology because it allowed me to write about both the psychological techniques used to perform the “healings” and the effect that that had on people. I particularly enjoyed the research and taking the time to look more deeply into something that I am passionate about was a valuable experience.