Happy July/August! Despite all of the weirdness in the world, I hope you’ve been able to enjoy a little bit of the beautiful sunshine that has been hitting us in the U.K, whether it was from a balcony, a garden, or a nice (socially distanced) walk. This month I’m going to be talking about my next steps, but first things first… A massive congratulations to the King’s College London Class of 2020! It has been a challenging end to an incredible journey, and I wish everyone all the best in your future. So, future, let’s talk about that!
When I first started my degree, I thought I had a clear path in mind. You go into psychology, to become a clinical psychologist, right? I was soon surprised and enthusiastic to hear all of the different directions and opportunities you could take with this degree! Psychology is such a versatile degree that teaches you a broad range of transferable skills, from data analysis and statistics, to report writing and communicating to different audiences, and a solid theoretical background and ability to critically evaluate information. Really, there are few roles that don’t require at least a few of those skills! From our graduating cohort, there are people going forward with clinical training, research positions, some are going into banking and consultancy, education, human resources, and many others. The sky is the limit!
Personally, I spent most of my degree exploring the research aspect of psychology and even that is quite a broad term. Initially, I took up some more ‘traditionally academic’ research experience within the department, which really helped me solidify my knowledge of research methods. During my third year, I continued getting work experience in research, but this time outside of university and in a mental health education organisation. This was a fascinating new take on what I thought I knew about research, since it felt more applied to specific contexts in the real world and involved being more pragmatic with methods and interpretation. I really loved this new side I was getting to see of research, and I’m really excited to continue exploring this as a full time research assistant in the same organisation.
If there are a few pieces of advice I can give to current students it would be this: Firstly, take the opportunities that come your way, even if they don’t seem to be the perfect fit. You might change your mind about your future 15 ways to tomorrow, and the best way to see if you truly like something is to put yourself into that experience. It will really help boost your CV too, again, most skills are transferable! Secondly, be open to a little uncertainty. It can be an uncomfortable feeling to change your mind about your original future plans, but that doesn’t mean you are abandoning your dreams, dreams can change and transform! And finally, and more practically, make a note of all of the experience you get within your degree and outside. When it comes to writing CVs and applying for jobs later on, you will thank me if you followed this step! It can be such a nightmare to try to recall everything you’ve done in the past years and what you learned, so try to keep tab on your position, main responsibilities, skills, and key contact. You can also always consult with King’s Careers and Employability for more advice on working towards those future goals.
But before thinking of the future, take some time to enjoy a couple weeks of the summer, you’ve earned them!