What To Do After Your Psychology Degree?
I think every Psychology student can agree that even before the final year has begun, worries about what to do next begin. I can admit that I too have been in that position, not knowing what the future would hold and how I would be affected by it. It didn’t occur to me that for all the time I had spent worrying and growing grey hairs, I could have focused on the start of my last year and how to make the most of it.
Third year Psychology students are almost immediately thrown into work and assignments the minute the year starts. It is up to each of us to have the determination and stamina to keep up and catch what is thrown at us. Balancing employment, university work and home life can get difficult. I had to drop some of my volunteering opportunities mid-year so I could use the time to focus on assignments and the almighty dissertation. Among all this is pressure from absolutely everyone to attend careers events and graduate fairs and make a decision about the future.
It can be really worrying as a final year Psychology student not knowing what your options are and wondering which path is best to take. So when the year began and people began to ask what I wanted to do next, I panicked. I didn’t know where to turn. For a consistent three weeks I was worried, stressed and very anxious. I didn’t have an answer to the question of what next? However, when the university organised a meet-and-greet with alumni students, I realised that what I was feeling in that moment was completely normal and that I wasn’t alone. This put my nerves to some degree of ease, though I wasn’t about to let that deter me from figuring out what it was I wanted out of life.
I spent some time reviewing my options, knowing I wanted something solid and definite straight out of my undergraduate years. I did not want to finish the year feeling uncertain and I definitely wasn’t going to depend on training courses such as the Doctorate for Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy) that I had a 50/50 chance of getting into. I knew for a fact that I enjoyed academic and life and I took some useful advice from a current postgraduate student who suggested I could look into the Masters (MSc) route. This could allow me to gain more education to put me in a better position whilst also giving me time to decide what to do. I did my homework on the idea and the PhD route really stood out to me.
I have heard stories of this route being very challenging and that people do drop out. However I believe that in the end the feeling of accomplishment and the title of Doctor attached to my name would be a fantastic result for years of hard work. Therefore, I aim to apply for a Masters course within the coming months as a stepping stone for my route to a PhD. I am also aiming to look for more voluntary work in the meantime to add to my CV. I am working to get the highest grades possible for my dissertation and overall year mark which will put me in a better position as well as making me eligible for bursaries for my postgraduate. I hope to be in employment whilst working, whether at university or elsewhere, to keep myself motivated and determined.
As much as deciding what to do about my future is scary, at the same time I am excited to get on with it. I have been preparing myself for any setbacks and hopefully those are slim to none but I aim to ensure that I can handle any hurdles this path may have. It is up to everyone as individuals to decide which steps to take to create their future. For me, learning from the experiences of others and thinking about what I want to gain from my future is helping me to calm my nerves during my final year of university and make some key decisions so I will be prepared by the time graduation comes around.