Course, Future, Graduation

Graduation

The day we were all excited about (but secretly dreading it at the same time) has arrived. Graduation. Possibly the most important day for every student. For it is then when it all officially ends…

My graduation took place on Thursday, 25th July, and was the last graduation of the year. It was a very important and exciting day, mainly because my grandparents travelled over 1000 miles to see me graduate, and it meant the world to me to have them there.

I was really impressed with the graduation ceremony. After collecting and putting on our robes (which look even fancier in real life!) we made our way to the Guildhall square and spent some time catching up with course mates and taking photos. When the time came, we entered Guildhall through a student only entrance, sat down in our assigned seats and waited for the ceremony to start.

It started with the Vice-Chancellor and departments’ representatives entering the Guildhall. The Vice-Chancellor then opened the ceremony with a short speech and following that, the presentation of degrees and graduates began. We were required to quietly leave the Guildhall and make our way backstage to prepare for our appearance on stage. We queued in line, waiting for our turn while the graduation assistants adjusted our robes and checked the order in which we were standing. They checked the order at least 3 times with the last check right by the edge of the stage.

I have to say, waiting backstage is kind of nerve wrecking. All I could think about was that I could not embarrass myself by tripping, or falling, or dropping my hat, or having my hood slide off… in front of everyone in Guildhall (and everyone outside, watching me on the big screen, AND everyone watching online. No pressure, right?) The tripping part was especially important for girls, as majority of us wore high heels. The good news is: no one tripped! Some people even did little victory dances! It felt very good to get out there and be congratulated in front of so many people for our hard work and effort over the past three years. I was proud of myself and all my course mates.

The ceremony ended with closing speech from the Vice-Chancellor and a short video from the Chancellor Sandi Toksvig (who unfortunately could not be with us on that day due to work commitments). After we exited Guildhall, our entire department gathered around on Guildhall steps to take a final photo.

Afterwards, there was time for final goodbyes and even more photos. This was definitely the saddest part of the day – realising that our University experience is officially over. What is awaiting us right now, is the real life out there. The life of grown ups, with full time jobs and council tax to pay. But we will be okay.

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Course, Exams, Free time, Future, Job hunting

Job Hunting is a real pain in the neck.

First of all, apologies for not being very active here.

Since my last post, what my life mainly consisted of was revision. And more revision, then a couple of exams and A LOT of stress. Quite honestly, I don’t remember ever being this stressed over anything! But the 28th of May marked the day of my last exam, which essentially meant end of my official student duty at the University of Portsmouth. Scary, huh?

I bet most of you just answered “meh, not really” in your student heads. But trust me, it is and you will only begin to understand it when you get to where I am right now. I feel like I am not ready to leave University yet… I have come to love my life here in Portsmouth; I feel like there’s still a lot to do, a lot to be discovered. Unfortunately, everything ends eventually and this is my cue to man up and move on.

I have previously mentioned that I applied for a Master’s course at King’s College, but unfortunately I did not get in. I am not giving up on this, however this means that I will have to find something else to do over the next year or so. So I started job hunting…

And trust me when I say this, I am already tired of this! It’s hard and discouraging. You have to make sure that the type of job you’re going for is really what you are capable of, and that you fit the person specification. So that’s what I’ve been doing, going through the person specs, getting more excited with every single point mentioned because I believe I fit in… until I get to the end, where it says “Essentials – car owner and driver”. I think it goes without saying that I don’t drive… And that, unfortunately, is my biggest disadvantage! In my current situation the experience I have is meaningless if I don’t fulfil this particular requirement.

In Year 2 I completed a module called Occupational Choice for Psychology Students, and it’s main aim was to provide us with information about what will be required of us once we leave University and choose a psychology related career path. There was a lot of talk about how important experience is (obviously) but nothing about the ability to drive! If I were told about this then, I guess I would have had a driving licence by now…Oh well, this is currently item number 1 on my to do list for when I get a job. But I need to get it first…

And this is kind of how I feel right about now…

source: http://makemethink.imgfave.com/page:5?after=15464878

But we’ll see how it goes…

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Clubs and societies, Course, Exams, Free time, Future, Nightlife, Travels

“The last week back…”

So here it is. The last week back to University for this year, or for life for some. Coming back to University after Easter means no more lectures; it means a lot of free time, where we have hardly any responsibilities, apart from paying bills and revision (duh!), but students are experts at working around these 😉 I was looking forward to my week back, but it proved to be very busy and EXTREMELY stressful!

This week was the week when I had two interviews to attend. On Thursday I had my dissertation interview, which is similar to vivas the PhD students need to do. Everyone was really nervous about them, as our year group was the first one to do them in our department. What definitely didn’t help the stress levels were the people on facebook who complained about how badly their interviews went.

I personally think my interview went really well. As soon as they called me into the interview room, I felt calmer. I think it’s the wait that made me anxious more than the actual interview. It is also worth mentioning here that I’ve now learnt not to listen to other people when it comes to individual assessments like this one. If their interview didn’t go well, why should it mean that mine will be a flop as well? I left the interview relaxed, but unfortunately this was not the end of stressful events for me…

Friday was the day I had my postgraduate interview with King’s College. I don’t think I’ve ever been so stressed about anything before. Not even that one exam last year when I was convinced I was going to fail it (I got 40 so I was so close!). In the interview, I had to present a research proposal, which unfortunately was a total flop. I was losing all my hope until we got to the more practical questions. These went okay, so I’m hoping I at least got an average number of points. But trust me, words cannot describe how happy and relieved I was after I left the Institute of Psychiatry.

To release all the stress and frustration, as well as to forget about my questionable performance at the interview, I spent the rest of the day in London. In the evening I went to see one of my favourite bands at the O2 Academy Islington! This was exactly what I needed! Jumping, dancing and singing along to your favourite songs is by far the best way to get rid of negative energy! To add to that experience, I was lucky enough to meet the band after the show. We had our photo taken, and they signed my poster, which already hangs on my wall in a special place 🙂 I don’t think I need to say how knackered I was at the end of the day!

Saturday was the first day during the week when I could actually sleep in for a little bit longer. It was also a good time to finally get together with my friends, who I haven’t seen since before Easter! We ended up going to the Union for Psychology Society’s Summer Blowout event, with the summer being in the name only. For the end of April it was quite cold… But as long as you have your friends around you, nothing else matters. These get togethers will be one of the things I will miss next year. But for now, we need to make the most of the time we’ve got left.

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Course, Coursework, Future

DOs and DON’Ts of coursework.

It took me over two weeks of doing nothing to recover from the not-sleeping-till-i-finish-this-coursework phase I was in at the end of term. Luckily, after spending another sleepless night with my theories of self, I managed to complete, print off and hand in two 4000 word pieces of coursework by Wednesday morning – a day before the final deadline. Then I hopped on the train home.

The next morning I received an email from King’s College inviting me for an interview! The fact they’re giving me an interview means a lot, and I now believe in my chances of actually getting in even more! Now I have to prepare a research proposal presentation, which isn’t going that great… But I still have time!

Anyway, back to the point. Now that I have officially finished all coursework I thought it was only fair to reflect on the entire experience over the last three years of my degree. Although the coursework pieces differed from each other, I found that there are some general rules that cover all of them. So I prepared a list of DOs and DON’Ts of coursework. Yes, I know you’ve heard it all before! I have too, but I never took it seriously enough. I guess you really have to experience something to be able to take it all on board. Anyway, here it is.

 

DO:

plan in advance! Seems obvious that you need to plan, right? Not necessarily. What I mean is plan what you’re going to write about weeks before the deadline, not right before you’re about to write it. Some essay questions are easy, and you know exactly what points you’d like to get across; however, often lecturers give topics that are very broad, so they can be answered in many ways, and that’s when it might get difficult to concentrate on a specific aspect. And it WILL give you a panic attack if you leave it too late.

–  research! Lecturers always give us core readings that can be used to answer the essay questions, but one book and lecture slides are not enough to write a strong 2:1 answer! Psychology department encourages its students to think critically about any given issue in psychology, and without evidencing further reading and independent research, you cannot show this ability. I am sure this is the case for any course out there; after all, University is meant to teach us to think for ourselves.

make notes! There is nothing more distracting than trying to navigate between numbers of papers, journals, websites and books all while trying to get your points across. What always worked for me was making notes on only the things I needed for the essay. It really does cut down on the time you spend on a piece of coursework, makes it easier to organise the facts and thoughts, and most importantly, helps you focus.

avoid all-nighters! Personally, I find that I work best at night, but staying up all night doing work really messes with your body clock. Especially if you do more than one in a row. You might think that by staying up you’re buying yourself more time, but the truth is that it makes you more tired and it is harder to concentrate. Instead, get a good night sleep and get up earlier than normally to get more time.

set yourself mini-deadlines! For example, if you have an essay due on a Friday, aim to have if finished by Monday so you have time to read through it a couple of times, and make changes where necessary. If you have to do a portfolio made up of sections or a dissertation, set yourself deadlines for specific sections, so you can do them throughout the year.

use formative assessment! If you have an opportunity to hand in a piece of work for a formative assessment, do it! It will make it so much easier to finish the whole thing and it will give you tips and some peace of mind when you come to writing the rest of it, as you will now know how to go about it.

 

DON’T:

leave things till the last minute! Some may find it more helpful to work under pressure (I was one of those), but you really don’t need all that stress! It only makes it worse, and panicking is quite common. Always leave yourself some extra time in case of any emergency changes you need to make.

procrastinate! Of course, scrubbing your bathroom floor is more important than your coursework at any given time, but let’s face it, you’re not getting anywhere with it. Have breaks, but don’t let them turn into movie marathons or 3-hour naps. Just get the coursework over with, and you’ll have all the time in the world to do whatever you want.

proof read when you’re tired! By tired I don’t mean after a long day of reading/notes making/writing. I mean tired after an all-nighter and a few (not enough) hours of sleep. Trust me when I say this, no matter how many times you try to proof read, there will always be something you missed! It wasn’t until recently that I realised that one of my pieces of coursework that I’ve handed in reads: “The effectiveness of goal setting on human performance has been established in many studies (Locke & Latham, cited by Cochran & Tesser, year)“. Yes, I said “year” instead of inserting an actual year of the publication. And I promise you, I proof read it many times!

compare yourself to your friends! Just because they finished sooner than you, doesn’t mean you’re behind. Just keep working at your own pace and make sure your coursework represents a high standard. Their work may not, especially if it was rushed.

 

I hope someone will find this useful. I wish I knew all these things earlier!

Good luck to everyone in their dissertations, dissertation interviews, courseworks and exams. We can do this!

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Course, Coursework

Who needs sleep when there is coursework to do?!

It’s Tuesday, 5:45am and I haven’t slept in over 20 hours.

I guess I have done it again. I procrastinated. I procrastinated big time! However, the good news is that I have now completed 3 out of 4 pieces of a four thousand word portfolio. Bad news is that the last piece is actually the longest… I have a feeling I won’t be sleeping tomorrow night either.

But things will get better eventually… they will, right?

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Course, Coursework, Future

The end is near (but let’s not be too dramatic)

It recently dawned on me that my University experience is coming to an end. Who would’ve thought, right? I mean, I was aware of this since the beginning of Year 3 (or Level 6 as they now call it), but now that the moment has come I can’t help but feel that the past three years have gone a little too fast and I have missed out on many things. But now it’s not the time to evaluate my time here. Now it’s time to get organised and finish all that needs to be done.

But first things first. Having finished my dissertation I now need to concentrate on my coursework which is due in on 28th of March. I need to pull myself together and finish before then, to avoid the crowded trains. I’m sure I can accomplish that, but it might involve some all-nighters at the library (which we’ve all done before) and litres of tea, which I’m slowly but surely becoming addicted to! 🙂 But it can be done! Speaking of all-nighters, I remember that once I spent a total of 16 hours straight at the library (starting from 6pm) and I was the first customer at the Union Co-op at 7am! But I got the work done and crashed immediately after getting home…

Moving on… Once a period of your life is ending, another one will start. Having said that, I am proud to announce that today I have submitted my Master’s application to King’s College London! The deadline for submission is tomorrow, so I can hear from them anytime soon! And I hope I at least get an interview with them! I am very excited about this, but at the same time I’m extremely worried. King’s College is the only place I’m applying to this year as it has the perfect course for me, but it’s very competitive and if I don’t get in… Well, I’m gonna have to organise my time somehow. I am already looking at graduate psychology jobs so I know what to expect, but I guess we’ll see what happens once I heard back from King’s College.

I’m having a lazy evening tonight, but I’m back to coursework from tomorrow – the work will not do itself after all! (Although sometimes I wish it would 😉 )

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Course, Coursework, Free time, Future, Work experience

Done and dusted.

It is the 3rd of March and I’m proud to announce that  my dissertation is printed, bound and on my desk since Friday, together with all additional materials, ready to be handed in tomorrow – ONE FULL DAY before the actual deadline! And that is quite an achievement, especially for a person who usually finishes assignments at 5am on the day of the hand in. Having said that, while I was waiting in the queue to get my work printed, a girl behind me asked to be let through in front of all of us, as her dissertation was due in an hour! If I was in her shoes, I’d probably have a breakdown! I never felt so calm about my work.

It’s a funny feeling, but once  I got it printed, I became extremely bored. For the past few weeks all I did was working on my dissertation, and suddenly that work is done and I have nothing left to do… What can I say, it has been a very lazy weekend. But I deserved it 🙂

I’m aiming to have a few relaxed days and then back to work it is! Unfortunately there is still another deadline I have to make and two pieces of coursework to hand in. And I’m not gonna lie, they are quite extensive. One of them is a number of “blog entry” type short essays, centering around the idea of self. The other is a portfolio for my work placement. I’m guessing this will be the one I’m going to start with, as the deadline for the Master’s course application is fast approaching and my personal statement is still to be written. And that placement is the experience I am relying on to get onto that course, so… fingers crossed!

And once that coursework is done, it will be time for a break! And I’m really looking forward to that. I can’t wait to see my family and the new house they’re moving into. Just over 3 weeks to go…

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