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Hannah’s blog

A psychologist wannabe with the moves like Jagger - It's all in the mind!

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It’s Not about the Letters on a Piece of Paper.

I feel that this is going to be quite a deep and reflective entry. It’s probably because I’m nearing the end of my degree – it’s that last week of lectures, all that’s left is my dissertation and finals – and because of that, my thoughts are becoming quite reminiscent of my time at Cardiff. Those thoughts are (naturally) contrasted by imaginings of the future. It’s scary to think I have no idea what I am going to be doing with my life in 3 months time. Anyway, so that’s where my head’s at – hence the heavier blog this month.

I came into my degree with the ambition to get a first. This has remained solid over the past three years,  and coming back from placement fuelled this drive and I became even more determined to break that 2:1/1st boundary. Everything was going fine, until I hit revision time over Christmas. Exams have never really been my strong point, I have always felt a lot more comfortable with coursework. However in final year apart from the dissertation, we’ve only had 1 piece of coursework. That means that some exam marks counted for 100% of the module. In addition, my final year has the heaviest weighting and is worth 60% of my whole degree. That meant my degree mark would be heavily influenced by how I would perform. Now those numbers are daunting even if you do usually perform well in exams – so it may come as no surprise that I was pretty nervous going into my January exams.

Like I said, everything was going fine until it got to revision. I had put a huge amount of pressure on myself, and revision was the first time I felt that I really couldn’t live up to it. I panicked at how much I had to do, and how little time I had. So I let revision consume me. I stopped doing anything and everything that I loved. I would sit and revise for an average of 14 hours a day. My only breaks would be for food and the occasional Facebook break. Needless to say, this was not a healthy way to revise.

But then it happened….it was weird, and it happened very suddenly and came out of nowhere. I don’t think I can even pinpoint what lead up to it. Halfway through my crazy schedule, I had (what I guess you could call) an epiphany. I had this sudden realisation.

It revolved around asking myself questions:
Why am I doing this degree?
Is it to give myself a BSc? ….Partly.
Is it to show what i’ve done? ….Partly.

But they’re only minor parts. It’s actually much bigger than that.

There’s something that I want to do. No. There’s something I have to do with my degree… If I asked you to name a few global issues the world is facing, I am sure you would have no problem reeling off a list to me (e.g. poverty, terrorism, global warming). Similar issue also exist at the individual level, the community level and the societal level. These are issues that need solutions. The solutions are out there, they just haven’t been formulated yet. Or at least formulated in such a way that solves the problem.  I believe that psychology has a significant role to play in solving these issues and I believe that it can help bring the change that is needed.

So that’s what my degree is about. My degree is my training. That’s why I’ve come to uni, and that’s why I chose Cardiff. This course is helping me to build up my skill set, to build up my knowledge and develop me in such a way so that I may go on to use what I have learnt to help solve these problems. This self-development is not something that I can’t achieve on my own. THAT is why I am doing this degree.

My degree life is no longer about getting a particular letter on a piece of paper. If I do achieve a first, then great. But that’s not what life is about. I now want to develop myself to be the best that I can be, in order to do the job I want to.

Don’t get me wrong, I am still working hard! Neither am I saying that grades aren’t important – I realise that (at the minute) exams are the best measure we’ve got of someone’s academic abilities. What I have realised is that life doesn’t end if you get a bad result. It’s an experience that you can learn from. Life isn’t going to go swimmingly 100% of the time. But I believe that if you have the passion and the drive to be somewhere and to do something important, you can make it happen. It takes hard work and it takes resilience, and it takes training. And those things (I feel) are far more important than one single letter on a piece of paper.

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