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The 5 things I wish I'd known as a psychology undergraduate
Episode 1044th December 2023 • The Aspiring Psychologist Podcast • Dr Marianne Trent
00:00:00 00:20:16

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Show Notes for The Aspiring Psychologist Podcast Episode 104: The 5 things I wish I had known as a Psychology Undergraduate

Thank you for listening to the Aspiring Psychologist Podcast.

I hope application season has gone well this year, for whatever type of psychologist you are aspiring to be. In our previous episode, I spoke about failures and reflected on what that means to me. In this episode, I discuss some of the things I wish I had known as a psychology undergraduate. Join us as I reflect on my experiences in my younger years, roles, jobs and the value of research before graduating. I reflect on support and how therapy has transformed me as a person too. This episode also features some resources for your own psychology journeys which I hope you find helpful.

I’d love any feedback you might have, and I’d love to be connected with you on socials so I can help you to celebrate your wins!

The Highlights:

  • (00:00): Summary
  • (02:13): The value of real-life experience during your undergraduate course
  • (03:28): Could honorary placements work during university?
  • (04:36): Taking more research opportunities
  • (06:08): Reflecting on my own research experiences
  • (07:27): Finding spaces to publish before graduation – is it possible?
  • (09:07): Thinking outside of the box
  • (10:16): The beauty of studying and its reflections
  • (11:28): Navigating failures
  • (12:33): Therapy is not JUST helpful to the client
  • (13:35): Free resources to help you with the Dclin
  • (14:42): Pressures, adventures and living life
  • (16:42): Summary and close


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Dr Marianne Trent (:

Coming up in today's episode, we are looking at what you might often hear as hindsight being 20:20 vision. And I'm asking myself the question about the five things that I wish I'd known as an undergraduate psychology student. It's going to be a journey through personal and professional reflections, and I hope it is one that you will find so useful. Stay tuned because it's coming up right now.

Jingle Guy (:

If you're looking to become a psychologist, then let this be with this podcast to be on your way to being qualified. Be psychologist. Podcast.

Dr Marianne Trent (:

Hello, welcome along to the Aspiring Psychologist Podcast. I am Dr. Marianne Trent, and I'm a qualified clinical psychologist. So what are we up to today? Well, today we are going to be looking at the five things, five top things I wish I had known as a psychology undergraduate student. I think this is a really interesting conversation to have and I hope that some of my reflections might well help you maybe if you are an earlier stage of your career or even if you are at a similar or maybe even a more advanced stage of your career. These are in no particular order. These are just my general musings. If you are watching on YouTube, please do take a moment to subscribe, like the video, maybe pop a comment in, share it with your friends. And yeah, with no further ado, let's crack on with number one.


So what I wish I known was that it's possible to do a sandwich course or replacement course basically to get out there into the world and do some psychology. Before I was graduated, I think that would've been really, really useful for me in learning more about what psychology is, how it translates in the real world, and it probably would've fueled my fire to know more explicitly during my undergrad which direction I wanted to go in. When I was in the NHS, we would sometimes have people come in and do summer placements with us from their psychology degree, or we'd have master's level students coming in to do a clinical placement in clinical applications of psychology. But I know that had I pride or had I known to try, but I could have sorted out something myself, maybe even using one of the days that I wasn't in university.


So I know in my first and second year, I have Wednesdays and Thursdays off. I could technically one of those days to do like an honorary placement one day a week for a whole year, and that would've paid me rich dividends as it was in my second and third year. And I did end up working in a clinically relevant setting. But that's a story for another episode because I kind of wish I'd had something more explicitly, psychology perhaps within a psychology team because that certainly wasn't what I had when I was doing my paid work. So point number two comes to me pretty regularly, I have to say. So in the work that I do talking to and supporting aspiring psychologists, I often get to learn of the research that people have done at undergraduate level. And I'm often blown away by how brilliant it sounds by how clinically useful, clinically interesting, how robust.


It sounds like their research was using proper methodology, proper research methods, maybe using granny theory or IPA or getting your SPSS crunching for something more quantitative. And it just makes me shudder a little bit to think about what me and my cohort got away with the university undergrad research. I mean, it was an interesting concept. So my undergrad research was looking at babyface ness of people and whether they're smiling or unsmiling faces affected how people kind of saw them and rated them. And it is all right as a piece of social psychology, but when I compare it to what other people were doing, it pulls apart. And I guess with that as part of 0.2, I would say I wish I'd taken myself more seriously. I wish I'd really had a think about myself as a psychology researcher and ultimately is a psychology professional that's going to have a career beyond this three years in psychology because of course we can't know that when we're at university.


But I wish I'd really known more about research before going on to create my own. So when I was at A Level, we'd start to do psychology tests and write them up as little research projects, and that felt kind of cool, but really I don't think my undergrad research really was much more advanced than that. Other than that, I had a slightly wider sample survey, but even then, my sample survey was just people that I met around the university campus. So the population of my research was highly skewed because they were all hanging out on the campus really, or were friends of friends living with people that I already knew. So it was highly skewed. So I wish I'd taken myself more seriously, immersed myself more in research and done something a little bit more robust at my undergraduate level. Point number three was something that only really came to me in about 2007, which was five years after I graduated.


And it's something that I commonly introduce people to maybe as part of my aspiring psychologist membership or in any of my compassionate q and a sessions that I run, that you have an interesting, useful, valid voice to be able to get things published before you qualify. I think I had the idea that it's only professionally qualified psychologists who have anything interesting to say that I might want to read or other people might want to read. But publications such as psychology magazines do need content from people, a range of career expectations. And so I wish I'd cottoned onto that a little bit sooner. I will be back along with my two final points about the things I wish I'd known before I graduated. I'll be back very soon

Jingle Guy (:

Reflective. So many things that you can try.

Dr Marianne Trent (:

Lovely. Thank you for listening to that. Hope you like that little song. Yeah, do grab yourself a copy of the Clinical Psychologist Collective and for that matter, the Aspiring Psychologist Collective because they're rather good following on from that point that we did before the break. That is a way that aspiring psychologists did get publications before they became professionally qualified as well. So yeah, thinking outside the box can pay rich dividends for you in terms of your CV and your expertise. So with no further ado, let's have a look at my fourth point for the things that I wish I'd known before I graduated. So we wish I'd really known and taken on board that it's to ask for help if things aren't coming naturally to me or if I feel like I just need a little bit more consolidation, a little bit more of a thorough understanding things I was learning or of the way to help that be translated in the essays I was writing.


And also that it's not geeky to study. So when I was at secondary school, I was often called AB. It might not be a term that's used anymore, a boffin because I found learning relatively straightforward and I often knew the answers, but because it was used as a criticism, as an insult, I guess it made me think it was not cool to be brainy that that was not an okay thing to do. And so when I found myself on the rare occasion that I was in the library studying, I didn't feel like that was cool at university. I felt like that was a really sad thing to do and that people thought I was sad. But of course, I was there to get an undergraduate degree. And of course studying is quite important for doing that. And so I wish I'd just given myself permission to really lean into that and to play that psychology undergraduate schema to the max really, and probably planned my time a little bit better, used my diary better.


Probably didn't even have a diary in those days just to plan in my deadlines and to really think about maximising my time so that I had a better experience ultimately with higher grades, but asking for that support and perhaps asking for some of that accountability. So that perhaps maps on a little bit to our most recent episode, which was episode 103 where I was talking about the times I've failed in psychology in my life. So if that resonates with you, do check out that episode as well. So Point 4 was a little bit of a double handed point, and Point 5 is a little bit of a double as well, but six or seven things I wish I'd known as an undergrad psychologist might not be quite as catchy as five. So yeah, I've cobbled two together, but I wish I'd known how transformational compassion focused therapy was going to be to me, both as an individual but also as a professional.


I wish I'd picked up some books about that sooner. And I will link in the show notes to the books that I think have really, really helped me and helped my understanding, which in turn have helped shape my clients and their experience, but also has given me a much gentler journey on myself since I started embracing that. And of course, it's helped me have the name for the free compassionate q and a series, which I run across my socials at psychology application form, and psychology interview stages as well. So if you feel like you can do a little bit more compassion and do consider coming across to YouTube channel and watching some of those free q and a series, some of my advice has been collated as well into a free DClinPsy guide, which you can get by if you're watching on YouTube scanning the QR code, which is on screen now.


And then following the link to download your free DClinPsy guide, which is all about top tips for your application form. And I know that the season has now passed for applications, but it's never too early to start thinking about future applications and to think about just making sure that when it comes to interviews that you're going to be able to talk about yourself and your experiences. And the DClinPsy guide is great for that too if you are not watching on YouTube and so you cannot see the QR code. If you go to my website, www good thinking and then head along to the tab that says Free resources, you will see it there. The second part of that is linked to my Compassionate journey. I wish I'd known that I won't get assistant psychologist jobs straight from graduation. I know it's possible, some people do, and if you've had a placement year, it's more likely that you will get that.


But I didn't, and of course I found myself in a slightly weird position where I felt the pressure to apply for those, even though I didn't have the to do a job if I got the job. So I found myself looking for and applying for assistant psychologist job roles when I was actually saving up to go travelling. And so I don't know why I did that. Why didn't I just lean into my experiences of working as a home carer and as doing temping? I think I just felt that pressure to use my degree and to do something advanced to where I was going to go ultimately. But that wasn't what that stage of my career was about. That stage of my career was about earning enough money so that I could go backpacking around the world for six months, and that was enough. And I still think about those experiences of that time around the world as being really, really nourishing.


I still draw on some of those memories. I was talking about it in the episode where I was talking about driving recently of my experiences being on Fraser Island, driving around on the sand island. There really, really great experiences. I've seen some beautiful sites, I've met some wonderful people, made wonderful memories, and that was what that stage of my career was about. It wasn't about getting an assistant psychologist post, so I wish I'd given myself permission to just do what I was doing then without that need to do something relevant. Okay, so we've reached the end of my five Ward slash seven top Things I Wish I'd known as a psychology undergraduate. I'd love to know how this resonates with you, whether it's similar, whether it's different to what you wish you'd known, or maybe you are an undergraduate oncologist right now. I'd love to know what you think.


Maybe you are heading towards doing your Psychology undergraduate soon. Let me know. Come and connect with me on socials, which you can do by scanning the QR code on your screen. Or you can and or you can come along to my free Facebook group, the Aspiring Psychologist Community with Dr. Marianne Trent, and do consider coming along and joining us in the Aspiring Psychologist membership too, because wonderful things happen in there. Hope you found this episode helpful. I'll look forward to catching up with you for the next episode of the Aspiring Psychologist Podcast, which will be along to you from 6:00 AM on Monday. Thank you so much for being part of my world. See you soon.

Jingle Guy (:

If you're looking to become a psychologist, then let with this podcast.



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