My first experience in the field of psychology was in year 9, I was asked to complete a project of my choosing that I would later present. During my research, I found out about Milgram’s Electric Shock Experiment, I was fascinated by ordinary people being able to administer fatal shocks to an innocent person. I also researched the effect of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine on an individual’s state of mind. This was the initial spark that lit my love of psychology.
In my early teenage years I saw a psychiatrist, this experience gave me a passion to pursue psychology, I would like to specialise more in child developmental psychology in order to help people, like my psychiatrist helped me, to overcome their own internal struggles. This was reinforced when I took the opportunity to become a reading mentor to a group of children aged 11 and 12, one of which was autistic. This developed my ability to work with many children at once and taught me to be very patient as capabilities and needs of the group differed. An interesting aspect as a reading mentor is seeing firsthand the effectiveness of different learning styles with different children, especially the child with autism as he required special one-to-one help with absolutely no distractions in order to improve his reading ability. Additionally, I initiated the mentoring of children in lower school who, like me, live with Type 1 Diabetes. It was a relief to hear they are dealing with many of the same issues I experienced myself and so I found I was well equipped to help them and bring reassurance and encouragement. I also spent a week working in a Pharmacy, talking with customers and recommending treatment for those with diabetes. This taught me how to further work with patients and listen to their individual needs.
As well as taking Psychology at A level, I am also currently studying Sociology, Business Studies and and at AS I studied Government and Politics. Many of my lessons include group work resulting in presentations so I am well accustomed to working together with peers and able to take a lead role when putting together and delivering presentations both verbally and visually. My favourite theory researched in psychology lessons was the attachment theory proposed by Bowlby as it shows how children form attachments and how it affects their development, which is instrumental in forming the person the child will grow up to become.
Over the last 3 years I have volunteered in a local independent charity shop on Saturdays and during my last 3 summer holidays I volunteered three times week. I am given a lot of responsibility including the banking at the end of the day. I am also involved in campaigning for more funding into diabetes research, this includes going on walks to raise funds and awareness, as well as writing letters to my local MP, Ken Clarke. I also enjoy listening to psychology podcasts from the University of Oxford, such as ‘How is depression treated?’. This gave me and insight into how treatments have changed over time and the varying effects of physical and psychological treatments, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
Other experiences have involved being in a joint study by the University of Nottingham and the University of Leeds about cyber-safety. I saw firsthand the practicalities of how to collect qualitative and quantitative data, this taught me a lot about research methods which will be helpful when conducting my own studies. I also attended the University of Nottingham’s Brain Week where we listened to lectures and worked with some current final-year undergraduates on their projects, for example, one student was researching the effects of drinking alcohol on coordination whilst driving. Even though this time was brief, it was very insightful and made me very excited about the possibility of going to University, deepening my knowledge and understanding, especially getting the opportunity to conduct my very own study.