MSc Psychology Student Interview

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Anika is studying MSc Psychology with a specialisation in business online at the University of Strathclyde. We asked her at the halfway point in her master’s degree how returning to university study has impacted her personal and professional growth.

If you are thinking of returning to education, we hope you find hearing about Annika’s experience useful. 

Self-Reliance and Discipline in Online Learning

What personal skills have you developed since starting your online studies?

From a technical perspective; considering the requirements for my course, I had to spend a significant amount of time on statistical analysis and had to brush up those skills quite quickly. This also made me face my biggest fear aka numbers.

From a personal development perspective, when you’re studying remotely, self-reliance is required much more than you might have imagined it before joining an online remote course. I would say, now I feel my self-reliance, self-discipline and self-reflection process has gotten much better than before.


Professional Evolution through Learning

How has your perspective on your profession changed due to your studies?

I am fortunate enough to be a part of a team where my teammates have a very similar view on continuous and life-long learning, and they have been very supportive thus far. I believe my studies pushed me to arrange my work progress and timelines a lot better than I used to, especially when it comes to time for my personal life and non-work pursuits.


Personal Growth and Patience

What has been the most significant growth area for you personally during this program?

I believe my patience has increased for the better. I have always been a real-time quick response person and usually, I like to receive responses quickly as well.

However, when you’re in a program that’s in a different country with teachers and cohort members spread across different parts of the world with various other responsibilities, you learn to be more patient and even more compassionate towards both your teachers and classmates. Additionally, my self-reflective learning skills have been modified for the better.


Confidence in Professional Capabilities

How has your confidence in your professional abilities changed?

I believe I have become much more comfortable in quantitative data analysis since I started the course in September 2023. Considering the modern time and importance of being data-driven for every profession, this has helped polish up my analytical skills.


Discovering New Passions

What new interests or passions have you discovered through your studies?

I have developed a newfound love for Social and Educational Psychology. I had very limited exposure to sociology during prior studies in Business Schools but through this program, I have had a good amount of exposure to it and I have loved learning about it.


Impact on Career and Life Goals

How has this program influenced your long-term career and life goals?

The reason why I joined the program was primarily to get into I-O Psychology later hence the decision to enrol in a Psychology conversion program was based on it. However, through the process, I have also been equally fascinated by human factors and organisational ergonomics. Therefore, when I do proceed with the next step to acquire my chartered occupational psychologist membership, I might also plan to delve more into the organisational ergonomics space as well.

Stepping Out of the Comfort Zone

In what ways have you had to step out of your comfort zone during your studies?

So much quantitative analysis for my course! I have never enjoyed statistical analysis, numbers, maths, or statistical analysis software of any sort. But for this program, I didn’t have anywhere to escape and had to face my fear.

After the initial jitters and an extremely bad anxiety attack, I am now simultaneously learning SPSS, R, and Advanced statistical analysis using Excel. Being someone from a through and through non-STEM background, learning psychobiology, cognitive psychology, and statistics hasn’t been the easiest but I am more optimistic now than before about it.


Career Pathway Post-Graduation

How do you envision your career path evolving post-graduation?

I have planned for it much earlier and the program has rather made me more determined to pursue it. Once I am done with this, I am planning to go for an onsite MSc in Industrial/Work/Occupational and Organisational Psychology program which is going to be the second part of the process for my chartership from BPS.

I have had meetings with the career services already and I have a few options which I will be looking towards based on industrial placement and/or industrial network and/or research areas and grants aligning to my future research interest. Whether I am going to do it online or onsite would depend on the above.

Unexpected Insights from Online Learning

What’s something unexpected or surprising you’ve discovered about yourself or your field of study through online learning?

For myself, I would say that I didn’t think I would be able to grasp some of the complex traditional psychology concepts as quickly as I did. Additionally, although I have been praised for my attention to detail and self-reliance earlier, I think I found it to be stronger compared to other cohort members, which was surprising because I thought my skill set was quite average.

As for my course, I knew that the faculty and learning services were supportive, but I found them to be very hands-on and even more supportive than I expected them to be.


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