For many students, this time of year will be the time they have finished their A-levels or are in their final year, and are looking at applying to Universities. Have you thought about what you want to do?
What degree do they want to do, whether you want to go to University or not?
Remember going to University is not the only option—there are many opportunities out there.
Sometimes it's best to take a gap year if you really have no idea about your future, so you can explore your options and gain a bit of experience. You don't want to start a degree for you to realise it's not for you.
I have recently graduated from University studying Psychology, and I'm here to offer my wisdom and advice to anyone who wants to pursue a career in this field.
One of the things I wish I did before I did Psychology as a degree was research what options I had in terms of the jobs I could go into. Until my first year of doing the degree, I didn't realise how many doors this degree could open for me.
There are so many things you can do. For example, go into counselling and therapy, forensics psychology where you analyse criminal behaviour, health psychology where you look at different interventions and policies in the health department and how we can improve this.
You can even work in the army as a military psychologist; however, it takes hard work and dedication.
Another option that I have realised through job opportunities is that you can go into recruitment or even marketing. However, this option wasn't right for me as I find it daunting having to sell products to people and standing in front of a big audience.
Moving on, once you find a field that you think you would be interested in, research universities that would cater to your career goals. For example, I did not know until after I did my psychology degree that for the counselling route I could have done a part-time 3-year undergraduate course in integrative counselling, which could have helped me become a therapist. If only I did my research.
I only found this out when I was volunteering in a counselling service, and speaking to the therapists that worked there.
Another thing I would recommend not only to psychology students but all students, in general, is to get as much experience as they can, whether this is voluntary or paid.
Any experience is better than no experience at all. Even volunteering or working in retail can be a great experience, as you gain communication skills, which is a great transferable skill to have for any job.
No industry will take you if you don't have experience. You are pretty lucky if they do with just your grades.
So try to get experience in whatever field you want to go into. With psychology, you will need to have experience working with both adult and children with mental health and learning disabilities. It's ideal if it is in a clinical setting. I would start off as a healthcare assistant and try to work my way up.
In addition to this if you're feeling really lucky, you should try and see if you could get a voluntary role, or even paid, as an assistant psychologist. This is an ideal role for any psychology student or graduates to have as a starting point in their career.
Thus, I can't stress enough that experience is key to helping you in this field.
I hope this will set you in the right direction when looking for university courses and whilst completing your studies.
I wish you all the best! :)