My desire for wanting to pursue psychology in higher education not only stems from a personal perspective but also from hearing and reading about people not receiving adequate treatment for various psychological illnesses such as depression, eating disorders and substance abuse. In the same way research into attachment has helped to improve childcare practices I would like to use my degree in psychology to improve the treatment of mentally ill patients, especially in third world countries where mental health care is restrained by resource constraints.
Psychology is a subject that really stimulates my mind and my desire to challenge my perception of mental health. As well as this, my interest has come from a personal point. Witnessing a family member with mental health issues has made me want to understand why he behaves that way and why his illness cannot be treated in the same way we treat a common cold. There is so much information on the anatomy of the human body however I feel like we have not explored far enough into the human mind to find out the underlying causes that explain our daily behaviour. Furthermore, coming from an African background whereby there is a stigma surrounding mental health or what is considered abnormal behaviour has only pushed me to further educate myself on a topic that may not be understood my many.
Spending a week of my summer holidays at a summer school at I was able to go into more depth and detail on topics in psychology than I had been able to in college. During this week I learnt about evolutionary psychology which explained the concept of mate selection. Prior to the summer school it had never occurred to me that there were deeper underlying factors that influenced how we select our partners. A session on social psychology proved to be very intriguing as it applied social identity to the consumer and from this I was able to gain an understanding on why we are drawn to certain brands. I found these taster sessions to be highly interesting as I realised that psychology can be applied to various areas of life. This further reinforced my decision that psychology is something I want to do at degree level.
Furthermore, I took the initiative to find a mental health expert and discuss their job. They informed me that their occupation involved assessing and talking to patients about their problems and discussing the best way to plan and deliver their care. I found this to be relevant to my aspiration to be a counselling psychologist as it would involve similar duties. Seeking further information helped me to look beyond more than university and to begin considering a variety of career paths that I could pursue with my degree. This as well as attending the summer school and open days at different universities has been very helpful in providing an insight to what studying psychology will be like and what careers a degree in psychology could lead to.
Being a prefect and a class representative has helped me learn how to deal with different personalities and how to handle difficult situations which I believe to be useful skills for a degree that largely involves interaction with people. These leadership positions have taught me how to manage my time and how to deal with conflicting priorities as well as moral dilemmas. Studying in university will require good time management in order to deal with an increased workload and having roles of responsibility from an early age has prepared me well enough to be able to deal with the jump of going from sixth form to university.
In conclusion, with my personal interest in understanding human psychology as well as my academic background, I am convinced that I will enjoy and excel studying a degree in psychology. I intend to use this degree to pursue a career as a professional in mental health or counselling.