Even if the weather feels doggedly like winter the days are finally getting longer and spring is upon us. It is a season of growth and maturation.
At the start of the year, the BSc (Hons) Psychology programme held a poster conference for final year students to showcase their research ideas. It was a lovely event, with lots of interactions between staff and students. What is really nice about the event is the chance to see the range of projects that students complete. This year there were projects on social media and mental health, on gender and employment, on well-being and yoga, on fire-spinners and connections to nature, amongst many more. Students demonstrate their concern with community support, the environment, health and well-being. It’s always really great to see how engaged with social matters students are. The poster conference also marks a transition, as final year students show what they are doing as part of the culmination of their studies.
This year, we invited a number of ex-students to come and talk to our current final year students about their experience with us, and also what they have gone on to do since graduation. One of our guests was Jon Mitchell, who spoke about his time at Cardiff Metropolitan (to see a video of the event and Jon chatting please click here https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0xRaErs6DBI&feature=youtu.be)
Jon kindly provided a blog to accompany his visit in January. It is really nice to see how he has moved on, and recognises the support and value of what we ask of all students to do.
I am now in my third University (fourth if you count a brief adventure into a different field ten years ago), over three different UK countries. Of them all, I think that I look at Cardiff Met with the fondest sentiments. Presently I am studying a PhD in anxiety and gender issues and before that was a Masters at one of the top ten Universities in the UK but if you ask me, Cardiff Met was the one that gave me the most.
During my time there, I remember thinking how dull it was to be studying so many areas and topics that did not interest me; doing assignments that seemed pointless, and in reflecting on things so often when I did not feel the need to. Only now when I look back do I see how beneficial all of this truly was. By studying psychology as a whole, I was able to see which areas actually interested me. Granted BPS requirements had to be met, but the lecturers at Cardiff Met introduced such a wide range of theories and tools that I came away with a broader understanding of psychology than many of my peers at later universities. Completing so many different types of assignment had very much the same effect. I was able to move into other institutions having used most techniques that were introduced to us, or at least having a basic understanding of them. I was therefore able to be more versatile in my ability to generate content for assignments and in work.
I remember thinking that modules based around skills at work were pointless for me. I had already been working for ten years (being a mature student) and was running my own company at the time. Looking back, however, these modules gave me so many more skills than I realised, making me a better manager and enabling me to move into jobs I had previously thought well out of my realm. Even the dreaded “reflective learning journal” helped me to become a better employee, father and person. Trust me, I hated them at the time but they have stuck with me years later.
What sticks with me the most is the feeling of community and support that I received at Cardiff Met. This has not been felt anywhere else, and I know that many of my friends from there say the same thing. At Cardiff Met I was able to ask for help from any of the faculty, was supported and encouraged throughout assignments and was given confidence to speak up. This helped me grow and find my voice as a member of the academic community and gave me a better foundation than I could have ever wished for. Even now I know that I can get in touch with them and they would support me.
Jon has done really well, and we look forward to seeing what he does next, and continue t wish him all the best.