July 31, 2013, by Yvonne Teoh
The School of Psychology – A Closer Look
Approximately two years ago when I had received my admission offer from UNMC, a feeling of apprehension took over me as I wondered what my university experience would be like. I tried getting hold of any source that would help me gauge what studying at UNMC is like. After a few initial attempts of finding Psychology students at UNMC, whom I could talk to, failed, I resorted to the reliable social media and used Facebook instead. Luckily, I managed to speak to some students about their experiences and that prepared me for what seemed like a daunting yet fun-filled experience. And that is exactly how my time at UNMC over the past two years has been like.
Firstly, to anyone who wants to pursue Psychology as a degree, especially at UNMC, two things should be kept in mind – that Psychology is not only about treating mental disorders or reading people’s minds, and that statistics does not only involve complicated mathematical calculations, but is rather interesting, fun and there are short cuts to it (or what seems so with the help of the program named SPSS). Moreover, the way the course is structured not only gives us students the theoretical perspective of psychological phenomena observed, but also enables us to gain hands on experience in conducting research using various programs, technologies (we have our own laboratory) and methods (example eye tracking machines).
As a student pursuing Psychology at UNMC, you are made to plan, design and program experiments, recruit participants, collect and analyse data, present the findings of your very own research to your class mates and lecturers, as well as write a scientific paper about it, using a given format. Theoretically, this means that we students are already carrying out ‘cutting edge research’ like the ones mentioned in documentaries by the BBC, Discovery Channel, etc. before we even complete our undergraduate degree.
That’s enough for the academic talk and details about the course content. Apart from having a holistic approach to education, one of the things that makes studying Psychology at UNMC exciting is the fact that our lecturers have a very friendly and helpful outlook towards students. Each lecturer has his/her own unique presence on the students. I will just mention a few of them here. But before I do so, apologies well in advance to the lecturers who might read this.
One of my personal favourites is Dr. Jess’s laugh. She has a unique style of laughing that could be heard miles apart and makes us students laugh with her, indeed. Moving on, Prof. Mitchell’s way of explaining things and promoting developmental psychology to students is actually worth mentioning. Here we are not only learning about Psychology, but also learning how to market ourselves and our course, and above all, boast about being taught by one of the lead researchers on developmental psychology himself.
Even the lecturers that look intimidating like Dr. Neil are soft at heart and remind us about the miss-match between appearance and reality, much like the errors observed in typically developing children and their perceptions. The fact that we know our lecturers and understand them, show the bond we share and the respect we have for them. Apart from asking for help during class, students can also ask lecturers and tutors for help outside classrooms. Additionally, the small lecturer to student ratio promotes communication with our lecturers and peers as well as increases understanding in the class.
PsychSoc, our very own Psychology Society has made a tremendous impact in the way people perceive Psychology as, and attracts students and lecturers from all over campus, irrespective of the field they are studying in. By being part of this society, we learn to hone skills such as managerial, communication, strategy and decision making, delegation and time management skills. I for once became more creative than I would have ever thought and designed the first ever constitution of the society.
This blog post would not do justice to how I feel towards my School of Psychology, my course, my peers and my lecturers. This is just a summary of my experiences so far at UNMC. It gets me emotional (or wait the proper terminology is ‘aroused’) to think that I would be graduating next year. However, let us not get saddened by this and cherish all the lovely moments and experiences that we as students have lived here at UNMC.
Looking forward to our graduating year. Here is to all of us. Cheers!
(Year 2 Student in BSc (Hons.) Psychology & Neuroscience)