Hi Everyone, we are Aisha and Shabani, Student Ambassadors for the IoPPN. Each month we will be sharing our experience of studying at King’s. Find out more about why we chose King’s, our courses and studying in London.
Hi everyone, I’m Aisha Walker a postgraduate student doing an MSc in Mental Health Studies at the IoPPN. I was born and raised in a suburb of Toronto, Canada. For my undergraduate degree, I moved to Montreal where I studied Cognitive Science at McGill University. After graduation, I worked in Montreal as a Research Assistant. I started to realise that although I was passionate about psychology research, cognition wasn’t the right focus for me. I wanted to transition towards clinical work and decided a Master’s degree would be the right next step. Since my Dad was born in London, I’m a dual citizen and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to take advantage of that! I got into King’s in 2016, but deferred and took a year long detour back to Toronto (including an administrative job with the Toronto Police Service!) This past December, I finally started my journey at the IoPPN.
The IoPPN offers so many interesting and different Master’s courses. It was hard for me to choose, but ultimately, I settled on the Mental Health Studies MSc for two main reasons.
- A clinical placement is offered as a non-credit optional module and I appreciated the opportunity to gain some practical experience. I have secured a placement with the South London and Maudsley Community Mental Health Service in Brixton. I’m currently going through the paperwork phase, but I’m eager to get started!
- The chance to select optional modules that are of particular interest to me, I chose women’s mental health and psychological therapies.
I’m also excited about my dissertation as it’s a departure from the research I’ve done in the past. I’m helping to develop a questionnaire to measure gendered behaviour in childhood/adolescence and how it relates to sexual orientation in adulthood.
My time outside of academia opened my eyes to all the great opportunities university offers, so I vowed to take advantage once I got to King’s. In my first few weeks in London I attended the international student orientation, where I met other students from all over the world. They try to group you by faculty so I ended up meeting other students studying at the IoPPN! I’m participating in the King’s Leadership and Professional Skills award (KLPSA) where I’m learning and reflecting on my skills for employability. For example, last term I did a workshop on problem solving and an online course about application forms. Plus, there’s so many events happening all the time, my favourite so far has been the Maudsley Debate. This year they discussed the reformation of the Mental Health Act.
Once my course work is finished in May, and my dissertation submitted in August, I see myself staying in London for the near future. I’m currently trying to familiarise myself with the types of roles that are available, both privately and within the NHS. I want to work with patients in a clinical setting ideally as an Assistant Psychologist. On the other hand, I’d also enjoy a job as a Research Assistant working with a clinical population. As you can see I don’t quite have it all figured out but I’m sure things will come together in the next few months. Although I love Toronto (besides the harsh winters) I want to continue to explore London, the UK and Europe for a while once my time at the IoPPN comes to a close.
Hi, I’m Shabani Chaudry, and am currently studying MSc Neuroscience at the IoPPN. Originally from Bournemouth, I moved to London for my undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences at Medipathways College (part of the University of Buckingham). Originally, I had the intention of studying dentistry, however, through studying neuroscience as part of my BSc I began questioning this decision and realised that myotivations for becoming a dentist were superficial. I realised that the study of the brain and behaviour is what drives me and is the kind of research that I have always enjoyed doing in my spare time. So despite the objections from my family, I decided on doing an MSc in Neuroscience, which has been one of the best choices I have ever made.
I chose the IoPPN because of the multidisciplinary environment it provides. I have always wanted to merge neuroscience and psychology, finding it very difficult to choose between the two. However the IoPPN specialises in both, so although I study neuroscience I have insight into the latest psychology research. Additionally, I am very interested in the research conducted at King’s regarding Psychopathy, IQ and Autism Spectrum Disorder and hope to do my MSc dissertation on such a topic. All KCL students may also undertake the Associates of Kings College (AKC) course alongside their studies, which covers topics of philosophy and politics, which was very appealing to me. I love the ability to intercalate philosophy and neuroscience, in order to better approach questions regarding morality, the soul and free will.
MSc Neuroscience is one of the biggest courses at the IoPPN having a large cohort of around 150 people of all different nationalities and backgrounds, ranging from Psychology and Law to Biology and Maths. Being able to interact and discuss topics with such a wide range of different people that have so many different skills to offer is what I particularly appreciate about this course. Furthermore, the curriculum is designed for all people as it starts with very basic Biology and progresses to more complex subjects like epigenetics and psychiatric illnesses. This widespread of topics has allowed me to really find my niche, giving me a lot of freedom to explore what I am passionate about. I thoroughly enjoy the fact that I am able to choose an optional module as well, which include Neurodegenerative disorders, Psychiatric Genetics and of course Cognitive Neuroscience (my favourite!). I am very much looking forward to doing my dissertation since I will have the freedom to explore and create something original and thought-provoking, on a topic that I am passionate about.
After my MSc, I hope to do a PhD which I am currently in the application process of (so please feel free to ask me any questions regarding this). Ideally I would love to gain a PhD role at the IoPPN as a continuation of my MSc dissertation (which often happens), however, I am open to other options as well, since places are very competitive. Although the PhD application process is tough I have attended many application support classes that the IoPPN offer, as well as meetings with my personal tutor, all of which have made the process much easier! Following my PhD, I hope to become a researcher and lecturer in the field of Cognitive Neuroscience.
We hope you’re excited to start your own journey with the IoPPN! We will be writing monthly blog posts and hosting weekly Q&A sessions on the facebook group.
Aisha and Shabani