masters

Finish line in sight

Another uni break means another opportunity to collect my thoughts, review progress and think about the future. The first year and a half of Masters has been a bit of a blur, but incredibly fun and challenging. There’s still so much to do, so I’m finding it hard to believe that this amazing journey will be over in 5 months.

An interesting aspect of studying a Masters in Psychology, is the sheer number of self-assessments you end up doing and how much you learn about yourself as a result. Along with logbooks and intense self-reflection, it means that I feel like I’ve grown and developed so much over the past year and a half. The main thing I’ve learnt about myself throughout the course is my immense love of learning. It seems obvious now in hindsight, after all, this quality is probably what’s contributed to me being where I am now. But combined with grit (yes, I’ve just started reading Grit by Angela Duckworth), I think these two qualities have enabled me to get where I am today and to also thrive in the coursework and placement.

If you’re interested in identifying some of your strengths, you can try the VIA Strengths Survey for free. It’s well validated and researched, and the theory behind it is that when we’re using these strengths in our lives, ideally in our jobs, we’re more likely to be intrinsically motivated. This was definitely the case for me on placement, I’ve experienced greater job satisfaction when I’m doing work in line with my strengths, and when I haven’t been using them enough, job satisfaction has decreased. Alongside this knowledge, one of the main things I’ve been trying to develop is authenticity. So when I’ve had lower job satisfaction, found I haven’t really been using my strengths at work, I’ve been having open and honest conversations with supervisors to find a way to rectify this.

With so many opportunities to learn about myself and develop, I’ve started to think about what I’m going to do next. What sort of work is going to truly satisfy me? I don’t know the answer to that yet, but to challenge myself and take a (small) risk in the short-term, I’ll be starting a psychology based blog with a friend and peer from the course. This friend is like a mirror image of me, and brings out the best in me, so I’m looking forward to seeing where that goes.

In the meantime, I still have 5 more months of hard work to go and I’m going to do my best to enjoy every single moment.

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End of semester check-in

I feel exhausted but productive. A little overwhelmed, but optimistic. I can do this, right?

  • Lit review for thesis – 70% done (first draft due in a few days, quietly panicking)
  • Exam prep – just started (exams in 2 weeks, arg so much to learn so little time)
  • Uni placements – discussions in progress

My birthday came and went, still haven’t managed to catch up with friends.

Exercise has fallen by the wayside, but my elbow is on the mend.

Work has been awesome, I’ve been so productive, but I’m about to go on exam leave.  Worried I won’t do an adequate handover.

These are the thoughts keeping me up at night.

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Masters Update

I thought the first five years of studying psychology was great, I was so happy to learn the content and so excited at the possibility of being a psychologist. So it came as a shock in honours when in the first week, I felt inadequate, poorly prepared, and felt like my future was unattainable.

In the very first class, our tutor asked us what we wanted to do after honours.  I was up first and I said something like “I don’t know…keep studying I guess…” and he said, what would you study? and I said, “not sure, clinical masters I guess”.  Then the rest of the room got their turn, and it turned out almost everyone in the group of ~20 wanted to do clinical masters.  The tutor then told us (almost with glee) that Swinburne would only take about 15 students into clin masters and that most of us wouldn’t get in.  Apparently, to even have a shot at it, we had to have extensive clinical experience, outstanding references, high HD grades, AND ace the interview (if we were lucky to be offered one).

After that class I went straight to a computer lab and started to look up work experience opportunities for clinical roles, and I remember calling Pete in tears and telling him that I’d ruined my life, I had no chance to be a psychologist, I had to quit my job asap and do volunteer clin roles.  Somehow I persevered through the hardest year of studies I’d encountered, and along the way made a friend who was literally the only person who had ever spoken about organisational psychology. Lucky for her and lucky for the lightbulb moment where I realised I love my corporate job, and could actually apply for the org psych masters.

And what a difference one year makes.  I started the masters in org psych in early March, and so far it’s been the best experience of my life.  I’m in a much happier state than I was this time last year when completing honours.

 

First and foremost, the content is fantastic.  I’m still working two days a week, and I find that I can relate almost everything I’m learning back into the workplace.  Deakin and the Aus. Psych Association (APS) also offers additional opportunities to learn and gain experience, which is incredibly useful.  So far I’ve attended a public speaking workshop with the APS and an ASIST Suicide Prevention workshop.  I’m already getting a sense that when I finish this in 2 years time, I’ll have gained an immense amount of knowledge, skills, and experience. Because of this, it’s impossible to not be motivated by the coursework.

Secondly, the quality of our lecturers and guest speakers, and even the motivation of my peers have all been fantastic.  I’m learning a lot from the people around me, but the best thing about the social interaction is that I feel like we all have similar values and goals in life.  I have so much respect and admiration for the other students, regardless of age and backgrounds, they’re the most motivated and hardworking group of people I’ve ever met.  It’s such a joy to go to uni, not once have I wanted to skip class.