The Big 5 S2 Ep.8 - Juli on being a psychology 3year rep student
9:40AM Jan 20, 2023
Hello and welcome to the Big Five podcast from Northumbria psychology department, where we learn big facts about human behavior and experience. My name is Dr. Genavee Brown and I'll be your guide into the minds of psychology students, alumni and researchers at Northumbria University. I'm a lecturer and social psychology researcher in the psychology department and I love learning more about all fields of psychology. Each week on this podcast, I'll speak to a guest who is either student, alumni or researcher in the Northumbria psychology department. By asking them five big questions we'll learn about their time studying psychology and hopefully learn some big facts about human behavior and experience. Today I have the pleasure of speaking to Julie after very long cada Hi Julie. Hi, Julie is in her third year of study at Northumbria University on our BSc in Psychology program as an international student. She's currently acting as a program representative who listens to student concerns on the program and conveys those to the lecturers and program leaders so they can make changes to improve student success. So, Julie, to start with, why did you get interested in studying psychology
I got interested in studying in psychology because I wanted to work with people. And most of all, I wanted to find ways to help them solve their problems, but also understand them.
Awesome. Are there any specific problems you're kind of interested in when you first started studying
psychology. Um, so as an international student, I've noticed that in some cultures speaking out against their experiences, or kind of like talking about their mental health, it was just not something that was done. And so I really wanted to change that. And I myself have been trying to break that stigma. Because you come from these families that obviously you work really hard to get to where you are, and having, like having a lot of like opportunities is seen as such a great thing, but you can't complain about it. So one of the main reasons that I've kind of got into it to work with other people's mental health and my own and improve the community. Really, yeah,
that reminds me a bit of Encanto I don't know if you've seen it yet. But that kind of argument about how immigrants have to, you know, appear perfect, and not to kind of show any kind of weakness. Yeah, I
mean, you see a lot with Louise's character. Ironically, that's also my mom's name really is, it is something that I've kind of seen in different like with family and with friends, I grew up in an international school in the Middle East. So mental health was something that was brought on later like it was seen as this new thing at the cage da which is the the educational board, like creating events to talk about well being student well being how to flourish in your education. And we saw a rise in like, like school counselors, we had a CBT specialist come in and and she would teach us how to manage our stress. And so I thought it was interesting in it, like from an early age, I wanted to try and make a difference and understand what more could be done. So yeah,
great goal for any psychology student. What has been your favorite class or thing that you've learned at uni so far?
Oh, I don't want to sound biased, but we're doing intimacy of psychology, or psychology of intimacy. And I love it. I've been messaging my friends back home. And I'm like, Guys, the reason that we're friends and we've stayed friends this long is because we were at the same school. And so proximity, the theory of proximity and disclosure, because with my friends, we used to do the 30 questions, but it wasn't the 30 questions to fall in love. It was the 30 questions just to get closer. And so I really enjoyed it. So that yeah, that's been one. And then I think we did a module and we did a topic on sleep and health and I really liked that to learning about how decreased sleep, obviously, like it causes a like their abuse if you don't sleep that much. There is like okay, don't quote me because obviously, I don't have my back me up. But reduced sleep for a long time can cause low amyloid production and so that has links to neurodegenerative illnesses. So I thought I thought that was interesting as an avid sleep fan. So
it's nice to know when your hobbies are healthy, like sleeping. Yeah, and just full disclosure, I do teach psychology of intimacy. So it's a class about relationships from a social psychology perspective. So we talk about the lifecycle of romantic relationships, but also friendships and how we maintain those through self disclosure. So if any students out there considering psychology of intimacy as an option, so one of the reasons I wanted to talk to you today is because You have a very special role on your program. And not everybody gets to do that. It's I think it's a great honor. And it's a great responsibility. So can you tell us a bit about what it's like being a student? Rep.
Oh, it's, it's great. I've done similar roles in the past. And one of the reasons that I applied back over the summer was because, I mean, in university universities, so it's, I can't even explain it like, you can do so much in university. But most of all, you can make a positive impact. And so one of the reasons that I wanted to really go into it was to kind of meet the people on my course and like, say, Okay, well, if there's an issue, like it can easily be fixed, because you don't want to go on like, and think that you have to go on with certain issues. Like, if there's something wrong with the campus, you can do something about it, you don't need to rely on like, the people that, that manage it. So that's, that's really like one of the things that I really wanted to do. And especially as someone that's been both online and in person with my education, I know that you can, you really can make a difference whether you're online or not. And this opportunity has let me like meet a lot of individuals get closer to the Psychology Department, which honestly, an unbiased opinion, I love all of them. They're, they're absolutely so supportive, and they're just so interested in their research. So it's really inspiring to kind of also get into my own research that way.
So you know, you said you talked about making positive changes. Can you give us an example of a problem that you've helped solved as a student? Rep. I mean, obviously, keeping things anonymous. But yeah, can you give us an example of how you've worked through an issue.
So as of right now, one of my projects is to start including more support for students. So one of my ideas is to create visual content to display in bathrooms. Because a bathroom is normally used to kind of concealed, like, sometimes at school, if I wanted to like to have a cry, I would go and lock myself in a bathroom. And so I noticed that, yes, we do have loads of visual content around the university, but not in the places where someone vulnerable would go. And so that's one of the things that I want to change. And we have, we have talked about it with the SU at the university. So as of right now, that's what I proposed. But I've also I mean, I, I've been able to gather information on how people are going through their course. And so far, people really enjoy it. And I'm just trying to make sure that everyone's having a positive experience with their dissertation. So we have had some comments about it, and we're trying to fix them at the moment. Okay,
awesome. Yeah, that's content, I assume signposting towards, like mental health support and like mentorship and things like that.
Yeah. Yeah, I think that's true. The university does provide a lot of support, but sometimes, you know, students, faculty, as well get bogged down in, like the amount of information that comes at you. And maybe you get told about these things, but not at a time when you're in crisis. So it's good to Yeah, to make sure that everybody is aware of the support that the university offers.
Yeah, that's a great, an excellent mission. I guess my next question will be what are your future plans? How do you plan on using your psychology degree?
I plan on using my psychology degree by looking for a BPS accredited Master's in clinical psychology. For context, I am eligible for the clinical pathway which Northumbria offers. One of the things that I actually discussed with one of the program leaders is that I call it a designer degree, as I've been able to pick and choose what I want and what I don't want. And I think Northumbria is one of the like, I think it's one of the few that let you specialize so early on. And so I've been looking at masters and other cities, just because like I want to explore the UK. But if I want like if I wanted to stay Newcastle, Northumbria would be the top choice.
Awesome. Yeah, well, best of luck on your applications. And finally, since you have gotten so involved in the university, you studied remotely, you've studied in person, you've been a student rep. Do you have any advice for students who are considering studying psychology at Northumbria who are who are currently studying about how to get the best out of their experience? Or any advice really that you have for them?
I would say meet the department like I know it seems intimidating to me professors. But trust me if you're interested Then a particular area in psychology or if you want to get involved with research, the university offers the VRA program, which is the volunteer research assistant program, and that's going to get you into the schools that you want to go into research is so important, especially at Northumbria and I if I'm not wrong, Northumbria just got a recognition for, for research.
Yeah, for the Research Excellence Framework. Yes.
So I would say take, like, take advantage of these networking opportunities, because look, you never know, in a year's time, whether like, your professors can help you with a job, or get you involved in research. And so that's, that's my main advice. Really?
Yeah, definitely. Yeah, the voluntary research assistant scheme is excellent. I talked about that before on the podcast. But you can contact michael craig about that. And I'll include a link in the show notes. But you're absolutely right. Getting to know, professors in the department is so key because one, they can write you really great reference letters if they know you. And two, they can help you get publications, for example, if you want to go on to do a PhD or a master's. And they can also, you know, tell you about opportunities for research paid research assistantships, and things like that. If they know you, and they they know that you're, you're a good worker, so yeah, absolutely. I think that is excellent advice. So sometimes we have trouble finding students who want to be student reps, what would you say to anybody who is considering becoming a student rep,
I would say that it's good to consider what this role in terms of skills can provide you with, if you're not in it to make a change, you could think that it's a great addition to your CV, you're getting opportunities to work with different people in different positions that they can give, like, if you check out the Su's website, it does talk about how some students have been able to make great networking opportunities, like I was given the upper leg, I've been running for the National Student Union Conference, and I'm going to be able to make great changes if elected. And so like you get to work with the SU you get to work with the university, you just get tons of opportunities.
Yeah, I think that networking opportunity, you can't understate that enough, because like you said, you get to understand how the SU works. The Student Union works, you get to understand how the university runs, you get to kind of see the behind the scenes that most students don't see or understand. And that can be that can be really value and provide you with great opportunities, like you said, like you're running for the the Student Union Conference. So that's great. Awesome. Thank you so much, Julie. This has been fascinating. Is there anything you would like to add before we go?
Well, if you see something wrong with your university, do something about it, be kind to one another, and just take care of one another? All right. Well,
thank you so much, Julie. If people would like to follow you on social media, where can they find you?
You can find me on LinkedIn. I will share my LinkedIn with glenavy and hopefully you guys can give me a follow or connect
Awesome. Okay, I will share that in the show notes. listeners. If you are interested in Northumbria psychology, you can check out our psychology department blog at Northumbria psy.com. You can also follow us on Twitter at Northumbria Psy. If you want you can follow me on Twitter at Brown G N A E if you'd like to be interviewed on the podcast or know someone who would please email me at Genavee firstname.lastname@example.org Finally, if you like podcast make sure to subscribe to our podcasts on your listening app and give us a review and rating. I hope you learned something on this voyage in the mind. Take care till next time