What did you study at undergraduate level and when did you graduate? What are you studying now? Are you studying and working at the same time?
I graduated from a Bachelor of Psychology with Honours in 2016 from Curtin University. Now, I'm a Provisonal Psychologist working for the Department of Communities. In my first six months with this job, I also completed a Graduate Certificate in Autism Diagnosis at the University of Western Australia. It was hard juggling full time work and study, but I wanted to learn more!
What have been the most important stages of your life?
I was born in the country and went to primary school there. Due to the lack of high schooling options where I lived, I went to Boarding School in Perth for high school. I loved this opportunity and feel like it has made me who I am today. I then went on to study a Bachelor of Psychology at Curtin University, and complete my Honours in 2016. During this degree, I travelled overseas three times, and also completed a volunteering program in Fiji. I worked part time throughout my university degree, which included working in hospitality, babysitting, tutoring, and seasonal work on the Wheat bins in my home town.
How did you get to your current (or most recent) job position and how long have you been working there?
When I finished a Graduate Diploma in Education from the University of Western Australia in 2017, I was seeking full-time employment in the Psychology field. I was interested in school psychology, but wanted a challenge. This is why I work in Child Protection: It is challenging, but also so rewarding. I applied on JobsWA and was successful in the recruitment process. I have been employed here since January 2018.
What made you decide to progress with further study?
I wanted to learn more! I felt that my undergraduate degree gave me an excellent foundation of knowledge and skills, but I wanted to grow this and develop more knowledge in the diverse world that is psychology. I studied a Graduate Diploma in Education from the University of Western Australia in 2017, which allowed me to see the useful overlap of psychological intervention and schooling. The Autism course I completed in 2018 provided me with clinical and practical skills that I was not exposed to in my employment, but that I was highly interested in.
How did you choose your particular further study course (compared to others)? / Were you weighing up any alternative degrees or career pathways before choosing this qualification?
I actually was going to be an Accountant for most of my final year at high school! I did Accounting as a subject and loved it, although upon reflection, it did not align strongly with my values and interests which included why people think and behave the way they do. I think our society tells us what we should want in a job - money, security, stability, but really, we need to be encouraged to follow what we are interested in and what motivates us. This is the key to long-term happiness and success in any job.
What was the process to get accepted into your course? What were the prerequisites?
I followed a fairly boring pathway of entering the course straight after I completed my Western Australian Certificate of Education in Year 12. This gave me an ATAR, which allowed admission into university. I think my course required an ATAR of at least 70, which I exceeded easily. I applied online and it was a very easy process.
What does your study involve? Can you describe a typical day? (if it’s difficult to describe a typical day, tell us about the last thing you worked on?)
Studying was great, I loved it! What was great about it was that every day was different, and also so flexible. Depending what day of the week, my day probably looked like going to the gym, eating breakfast and then heading into Uni early to beat the parking rush. Then I would go to classes, study in the library, and meet up with peers for coffee or to study together. Some days of the week, I would work either before or after university, and it was easy to fit this around my university schedule.
Will this course be beneficial in your career? Where could you or others in your position go from here? Please explain your answer.
You can go almost anywhere with a psychology degree! And in reality, many people who complete this course do not end up being psychologists, but instead work in a heap of different job roles! This could include management, therapy, working with children, education, research, and human resources. You could go on to study further, like a Masters degree or complete a provisional internship like I am.
What do you love the most about your course?
I loved that the course was so varied, and covered a lot of different topics, theoretical content and psychology throughout time. I loved the chance to complete a research project during my Honours year, and having this published in an international journal last year was such a big achievement for me.
What are the limitations of your course?
If anything, I think the course pace was a little slow for me. I would have liked the opportunity to 'over-load' my timetable by doing more than four units per semester. Of course, this option would not suit everybody, but I felt that sometimes the demands and requirements did not push me enough and I would have enjoyed having my degree completed faster.
Which three pieces of advice would you give to a current undergraduate student? They don’t necessarily have to be related to your studies, or even to one’s professional life.
I would recommend that you choose the course that you want to do - not your parents, friends or what google told you would earn the most. You won't be happy unless it is a course that you are passionate about. Stay organised - don't leave things until the last minute. Have fun! Get involved, meet lots of people. The networking you do at university becomes incredibly handy when you are out in the big world and need connections to other professionals.