Having my first child at the age of seventeen temporarily prevented me from furthering my education; however, psychology has always been the subject that I knew I wanted to study and take up as a profession.
Being a young mother, along with many other life experiences I have come through, can only be seen as positives when considering my wish to study psychology. It is true to say that I have experienced a lot more than most people of my age are expected to have. I am fortunate that I have the ability to turn negative life experiences into positives and would like to be given the opportunity to help others do the same.
I was six years old when a very close relative of mine was diagnosed with having schizophrenia and for this reason from a very young age I have been aware of the effects of mental illness and the attitudes of people towards this subject.
I have a particular interest in, and admiration for, the work of Freud as he played a major part in changing general views towards the mentally ill. His application of self analysis as revealed in his book 'The Interpretation of Dreams' is also something I have great interest in.
The workings of the human mind and individual differences intrigue me, as do the treatments of abnormal behaviour and the rehabilitation of criminals and drug addicts via different methods of therapy.
My constant 'wild analysis', as Freud would suggest it be called, of people and situations are often noted by my friends and family and I would love the opportunity to turn this interest into a challenging and rewarding career.
My career aspirations are high and I hope to go on to postgraduate education, eventually enabling me to become a clinical psychologist. I am aware that this area of work is highly competitive and I feel I have the motivation, ambition and passion for psychology that is required.
I do not intend to use a psychology degree for anything other than working in the field of psychology and I am confident I have the dedication to achieve my dream.
Along with my personal interest the access to higher education course I am currently studying has given me a good insight into psychology and the different theories. My commitment and motivation to succeed are reflected by my being able to study and work part-time while also being a mother to two children.
During the end of term Christmas break I will be doing voluntary work at " " mental health and emotional support drop in centre.
Being given the opportunity to work with people with mental illness will give me great fulfilment and some relevant experience. I also hope to be able to gain work experience in different areas of psychology. My current employment as a colour technician requires excellent communication skills due to close client contact, the ability to work under pressure, on my own initiative or as part of a team.
One of my interests outside of college is keeping fit. I am a member of a gym which I attend daily and enjoy long distance running along with weight training. I am a firm believer that exercise helps to relieve stress and depression.
While working as a clinical psychologist I would like to apply my knowledge of gym exercise, where useful, as a therapy. Socialising with friends is something I enjoy, and as a lover of music I regularly attend events held at the student union in " ".
I also enjoy spending time with my daughters, who are eleven and thirteen, attending gymnastics and cheerleading events that they are involved in. As I am able to manage my time efficiently, I am able to enjoy a varied social life, yet still commit to producing a high standard of work at college.
The mind will never fully be conquered; therefore the world of psychology will always be expanding, allowing psychologists to continue learning about this fascinating subject. My dream is to be given the opportunity to prove I would be a committed, driven and dedicated psychologist.
Don’t assume your work experience is irrelevant
Due to confidentiality surrounding the industry, it can be hard to get experience in the area you're interested in. But don’t assume your work experience is unrelated just because you haven't shadowed a professional. Instead, focus on the skills you've developed.
If you’ve volunteered in a school, you can talk about development, learning, memory or learning disabilities, for example. If you spent two weeks helping out at a psychiatric hospital, you can discuss your responsibilities there.
If you’re applying to something more specific like criminology, even your part-time job might be more relevant than you think. Kim Sadique, interim head of community and criminal justice division at De Montfort University, explains:
"If you’re applying for criminology, make sure to tell us about your volunteering or employment - even if you think it’s not relevant. Working in a retail environment, a pub or shop for example, can be used to demonstrate criminology-related skills such as dealing with conflict/challenging behaviour as well as understanding and working within the law."
If you’ve still got some time before you need to complete your statement and you're worried about your lack of work experience, you could approach some local charities. Addiction charities; those for children with special educational needs; dementia charities or mental health charities will all provide invaluable experience, and usually are open all year round for volunteers.
Just remember to write what you gained or how you developed from any additional experience, so that you can add it to your personal statement. After all, binge-watching CSI or Law & Order unfortunately doesn’t count...
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