We always like to hear what our graduates get up to next, and are often amazed by what they go on to do. This week, we have a new contribution from Tess Liddell. Tess graduated a year ago, and now lives and studies in Cambridge. Here, she tells us about her decision to study Psychology and describes what she is up to now.
Prior to attending university, I had been working as a Data Coordinator in the banking sector. Although I knew this was not the long-term career I wanted, I was unsure about my future career goals. The only thing I was certain of, was my fascination with Psychology and the structure and function of the human brain, both in health and pathology. It was this interest which encouraged me to apply for the BSc (Hons) Psychology degree programme at Cardiff Metropolitan University.
It was not long before I knew this was the right programme for me, and I vividly recall being in one of my first lectures with a sense that I was exactly where I should be. I found the programme itself varied and interesting, and being given the opportunity to select my final year modules allowed me to tailor the programme to my specific interests. Making the most of the work placements available through the programme also allowed me to gain experience working with service-users, and provided me with the opportunity to integrate theory and practice in a non-academic setting.
Whilst I found the programme itself challenging, I utilised the feedback I received to make improvements to my work and most importantly, my understanding of the topic areas. As I originally did not know what career I wanted to aim for after my degree, I kept an open mind and tried to develop my understanding and skills in various areas of Psychology. I found this not only helped me to better understand what type of career I wanted, but it also helped me to not limit my future trajectory. For instance, although I had never considered a career in research, and frankly I initially found the concept quite daunting, I found myself thoroughly enjoying the research element of the programme. Taken together with the academic support I received, along with the unwavering mentoring support provided by the staff at Cardiff Metropolitan University, I was given the support and confidence to apply to graduate school so that I could pursue a career in research.
Having now graduated from the BSc (Hons) Psychology degree programme, I am completing an MPhil in Basic and Translational Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge. During my current programme, I am applying the knowledge and skills that I developed during my undergraduate degree to my current thesis project, where I am working at the John van Geest Centre for Brain Repair at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge. Since starting my MPhil programme, I have been granted an MRC Research Studentship, which will allow me to further my research training after my MPhil to complete a PhD in Biological Sciences at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit at the University of Cambridge, bringing me one step closer to a career in research. I can honestly say that I would not be where I am today if it was not for the guidance and support provided by the staff at Cardiff Metropolitan University.
Dr Mike Dunn employed Tess as a research assistant in the summer break between her second and third years said this about Tess:
Tess Liddell is that extremely rare student who exudes enthusiasm and ability in equal high measure. Tess is without doubt one of the most gifted and diligent students it has been my pleasure to teach. I am convinced that she will excel in whichever field of study/research she embarks on in the future and I wish her all the very best.
And Dr Leanne Freeman, who was tutor and supervisor for Tess in her final year said this:
I had the pleasure of supervising Tess during her undergraduate dissertation. Tess was an ideal student in that she was constantly seeking feedback which she utilised to improve her work. Tess is a brilliant researcher and I look forward to watching her career develop.
O Gaerdydd i Gaergrawnt
Rydyn ni bob amser yn hoffi clywed yr hyn y mae ein graddedigion yn ei wneud nesaf, ac yn aml yn synnu wrth glywed am yr hyn y maent yn mynd ymlaen i’w gyflawni. Yr wythnos hon, mae gennym gyfraniad newydd gan Tess Liddell. Graddiodd Tess flwyddyn yn ôl, ac mae hi bellach yn byw ac yn astudio yng Nghaergrawnt. Yma, mae hi’n dweud wrthym am ei phenderfyniad i astudio Seicoleg ac yn disgrifio beth mae hi’n ei wneud nawr.
Cyn mynychu’r brifysgol, roeddwn wedi bod yn gweithio fel Cydlynydd Data yn y sector bancio. Er fy mod yn gwybod nad dyma’r yrfa hirdymor yr oeddwn yn ei dymuno, roeddwn yn ansicr ynghylch fy nodau gyrfa yn y dyfodol. Yr unig beth yr oeddwn yn sicr ohono oedd fy niddordeb mewn Seicoleg a strwythur a swyddogaeth yr ymennydd dynol, mewn iechyd a phatholeg. Y diddordeb hwn a’m hanogodd i wneud cais am y rhaglen gradd BSc (Anrh) mewn Seicoleg ym Mhrifysgol Metropolitan Caerdydd.
Nid oedd yn hir cyn i mi wybod mai hon oedd y rhaglen gywir i mi, ac mae gen i gof byw bod mewn un o’m darlithoedd cyntaf gyda synnwyr fy mod yn union le y dylwn fod. Roedd y rhaglen ei hun yn amrywiol ac yn ddiddorol, ac roedd cael y cael i ddewis fy modiwlau blwyddyn olaf, yn caniatáu i mi deilwra’r rhaglen at fy niddordebau penodol. Roedd manteisio i’r eithaf ar y lleoliadau gwaith sydd ar gael drwy’r rhaglen hefyd yn caniatáu i mi gael profiad o weithio gyda defnyddwyr gwasanaeth, a rhoi’r cyfle i mi integreiddio theori ac ymarfer mewn lleoliad nad yw’n academaidd.
Er bod y rhaglen ei hun yn heriol, defnyddiais yr adborth a gefais i wneud gwelliannau yn fy ngwaith ac, yn bwysicaf oll, fy nealltwriaeth o’r meysydd pwnc. Gan nad oeddwn yn wreiddiol yn gwybod pa yrfa yr oeddwn am anelu ati ar ôl fy ngradd, fe wnes i gadw meddwl agored a cheisio datblygu fy ngwybodaeth a’m sgiliau mewn gwahanol feysydd Seicoleg. Fe wnes i ganfod bod hyn nid yn unig wedi fy helpu i ddeall yn well pa fath o yrfa yr oeddwn ei eisiau, ond roedd hefyd wedi fy helpu i beidio â chyfyngu ar fy llwybr yn y dyfodol. Er enghraifft, er nad oeddwn erioed wedi ystyried gyrfa mewn ymchwil, ac yn wir, fe wnes i ganfod y cysyniad yn eithaf brawychus i ddechrau, rwyf wedi canfod fy hun yn mwynhau elfen ymchwil y rhaglen yn llwyr. O’i chymryd ynghyd â’r gefnogaeth academaidd a gefais, ynghyd â’r gefnogaeth mentora gadarn a ddarparwyd gan staff ym Mhrifysgol Metropolitan Caerdydd, cefais y gefnogaeth a’r hyder i ymgeisio i ysgol ymchwil er mwyn i mi allu dilyn gyrfa mewn ymchwil.
Ar ôl graddio o’r rhaglen gradd BSc (Anrh) mewn Seicoleg, rwyf yn cwblhau MPhil mewn Niwrowyddoniaeth Sylfaenol a Throsiadol ym Mhrifysgol Caergrawnt. Yn ystod fy rhaglen gyfredol, yr wyf yn cymhwyso’r wybodaeth a’r sgiliau a ddatblygais yn ystod fy ngradd israddedig i’m prosiect traethawd ymchwil cyfredol, lle rwy’n gweithio yng Nghanolfan John van Geest ar gyfer Trwsio’r Ymennydd yn Ysbyty Addenbrookes yng Nghaergrawnt. Ers dechrau ar fy rhaglen MPhil, rwyf wedi cael Ysgoloriaeth Ymchwil MRC, a fydd yn caniatáu i mi ymestyn fy hyfforddiant ymchwil ymhellach ar ôl fy MPhil i gwblhau PhD mewn Gwyddorau Biolegol yn Uned Gwybyddiaeth a Gwyddorau’r Ymennydd MRC ym Mhrifysgol Caergrawnt, sy’n dod â mi un cam yn nes at yrfa mewn ymchwil. Gallaf ddweud yn onest na fyddwn i le ydw i heddiw, pe na bai am yr arweiniad a’r gefnogaeth a ddarparwyd gan staff Prifysgol Metropolitan Caerdydd.
Cyflogwyd Tess gan Dr Mike Dunn fel cynorthwyydd ymchwil yn ystod egwyl yr haf rhwng ei hail a’i thrydedd flwyddyn a dywed y canlynol am Tess:
Myfyriwr hynod brin yw Tess Liddell sy’n llawn brwdfrydedd a gallu mewn mesur uchel iawn. Yn sicr mae Tess yn un o’r myfyrwyr mwyaf dawnus a diwyd y bu’n bleser gennyf ei ddysgu. Rwy’n argyhoeddedig y bydd yn rhagori ym mha faes astudio / ymchwil bynnag y mae’n ei ddilyn yn y dyfodol ac rwy’n dymuno’r gorau iddi hi.
A dywedodd Dr Leanne Freeman, a oedd yn diwtor a goruchwyliwr Tess yn ei blwyddyn olaf:
Cefais y pleser o oruchwylio Tess yn ystod ei thraethawd hir israddedig. Roedd Tess yn fyfyriwr delfrydol gan ei bod hi’n gyson yn chwilio am adborth a ddefnyddiwyd i wella ei gwaith. Mae Tess yn ymchwilydd gwych ac edrychaf ymlaen at wylio ei gyrfa yn datblygu.
Mae Fran Smith yn fyfyrwraig lefel 4 ar y cwrs BSc Seicoleg ym Mrhifysgol Metropolitan Caerdydd. Yma, mae hi’n dweud wrthym am rhan arall pwysig iawn o’i bywyd ble mae hi’n hyfforddi fel chwaraewr tenis cadair olwyn a sut mae Seicoleg wedi helpu gyda hyn.
Fy enw yw Fran Smith, rwy’n 18 oed, ac yn bara-athletwr elit yn y gamp tenis cadair olwyn. Cefais gyfle i fynychu fy ngwersyll tenis cadair olwyn cyntaf ar 05/06/17 ac ar hyn o bryd rwyf wedi cyrraedd y brig o blith merched iau Prydain ac yn dal safle 38 o blith merched iau y byd. Ar hyn o bryd rwyf yn fy chweched mis o chwarae ac yn ystod y cyfnod hwnnw rwyf wedi ennill yr aur mewn tenis merched iau i senglau a pharau yn y British Open yng Ngemau Ysgolion 2017.
Mae hyn yn swnio’n dipyn o gamp, tydi? Efallai fod hynny’n wir, ond wnes i ddim eistedd mewn cadair olwyn chwaraeon gyda raced tenis a datblygu’r gallu anhygoel i chwarae.
Roeddwn i eisoes wedi chwarae tenis am 13 mlynedd gan ddefnyddio fy nghoesau. Ond erbyn imi gyrraedd 16 oed roedd rhaid i mi roi’r gorau iddi oherwydd nid oedd fy nghorff yn ymdopi, ac roedd y perygl o wneud niwed difrifol i’m coesau yn rhy uchel. Am 6 blynedd rwyf wedi bod mewn brwydr gyda’m corff a gyda’r Gwasanaeth Iechyd. Gyda’i gilydd, rwyf wedi gweld 6 ffisiotherapydd (2 arbenigwr), 2 rhiwmatolegydd, 1 niwrolegydd, 1 arbenigwr clust-trwyn-gwddf (ENT) ac un meddyg teulu pryderus dros ben.
Pe byddech chi’n fy ngweld i, fyddech chi ddim yn meddwl bod gen i anabledd (rwy’n dal i aros i rywun ddod i weiddi arnaf mewn maes parcio na ddylwn i fod yn deilwng i gael bathodyn glas), yn bennaf oherwydd fy mod i’n gallu cerdded.
Mae seicoleg yn hanfodol i mi, yn enwedig gan fy mod yn dod yn fy mlaen mor gyflym yn fy nghamp. Y llynedd, roeddwn i’n drist drwy’r amser, yn fwy trist nag arfer, oherwydd doedd gen i ddim chwaraeon yn fy mywyd, ac yn teimlo bod gen i ddim byd i’w wneud, dim uchelgais, ac yn y bôn, dim bywyd. Roedd y tristwch hwn yn gwneud imi fyw yn fy mhen yn ormodol a gor-ddadansoddi pob manylyn fyddwn i’n ei gael. Wrth lwc, llwyddais i roi trefn ar fy hun cyn imi droi yn gadach llestri am weddill fy oes!
Mae fy nghwrs seicoleg wedi fy helpu i mewn sawl ffordd. Un o’r pethau pwysicaf rydw i wedi ei ddysgu yw sut mae eich gwrthwynebwyr yn mynd i ymateb mewn gêm; beth mae eu hosgo, eu hedrychiad, eu safiad, eu symudiad a’u patrwm o chwarae yn ei ddweud wrthyf. Ond mae un peth sydd hyd yn oed yn bwysicach na’r rheiny; fy seicoleg fy hun. Yr elfen fawr yw fi fy hun yn byw y tu mewn i’m pen ar y cwrt oherwydd, wrth gwrs, mewn gêm senglau, dim ond chi a’ch gwrthwynebydd sydd yno. Rwy’n gwybod nawr os oes rhywbeth yn mynd o le ar y cwrt bod angen i mi newid pethau yn y fan a’r lle, ac yna, mae angen meddwl beth all fynd o le a pham.
Enghraifft wych yw’r gystadleuaeth ddiwethaf yr oeddwn i’n cystadlu ynddi, sef y Wheelchair Tennis Nationals cyn y Nadolig 2017. Collais y gêm gyntaf achos ’mod i’n teimlo fel pe bai gen i gartŵn o geiliog deri yn fy mhen. Yn hytrach na chanolbwyntio ar fy ngwrthwynebydd, roeddwn i’n meddwl yn ormodol am yr elfennau yn fy arddull i. Ar ôl imi gael ychydig o amser i feddwl, sylweddolais mai’r rheswm roeddwn i wedi colli’r gêm oedd fod gormod o bobl wedi bod yn gofyn imi beth oedd fy nghynllun ar gyfer y gêm, sut oeddwn i am eu trechu nhw, pa strategaethau oedd gen i, ac ati. Mae gormod o hyn cyn mynd allan i chwarae yn gallu bod yn llethol.
Diogel yw dweud, erbyn imi chwarae’r gêm gysur gyntaf, roeddwn i wedi rhoi’r gorau i’r ceiliog deri, ac wedi dileu popeth o’m meddwl. Canolbwyntiais ar ddim ond chwarae tenis, ac yn sgil hynny, llwyddais i ennill y rownd gysur a churo dwy ferch sy’n cystadlu yn fy erbyn am le yn nhimau Prydain. A dweud y gwir, yn ystod y ddwy gêm honno, doeddwn i ddim yn teimlo bod gen i ymennydd, yr unig beth yn fy mhen oedd pêl denis.
Yn amlwg, dim ond camau bychain ar y daith yw’r rhain, ond mae seicoleg wedi dysgu un peth i mi, mae wedi fy nysgu i stopio a meddwl. Ac os nad oes gennych chi fawr ddim synnwyr cyffredin, fel fi, mae hynny yn rhywbeth pwysig dros ben.
As a Psychology department proudly part of a Welsh university in the capital of Wales, we have wanted to reflect the language heritage of many of our students for a number of years. We have translated student work, assessments and all sorts of things, but without the take up that we really desired. It was fairly obvious what was missing, staff who were confident enough to work and teach through Welsh. In the last two years, we have made staff appointments that have enabled us to start to build what we wanted. In the first year, we now have tutorials and seminars in Welsh, which help students work in and think in two languages. We offer service learning placements in Welsh in both the second and third years, offering students the chance to work in the community with Welsh speakers.
The addition of Welsh language opportunities strengthens and enables closer links with communities across Wales, and adds to the diversity and vibrancy of Psychology at Cardiff Met. In the following piece, our colleague Dr Mirain Rhys, talks about Welsh language, her role and how she is working to build more Welsh language content into our curriculum.
Welsh Psychology at Cardiff Metropolitan
It always surprises me that sometimes I have to explain that I come from a home where only Welsh is spoken, and that English is my second language. I was raised in a town where over 70% of the population are fluent in Welsh. I was educated solely through the medium of Welsh until I was 18. I speak Welsh every day and I take pride explaining that I am from a minority language background, and that my passion for our country’s language maintenance and revitalisation led me to my career.
And it’s not just me! Almost a quarter of the population of Wales are educated through the medium of Welsh. They learn subject terminology and are instructed through the language and by the time they finish compulsory education, each individual should be bilingual. After students finish school, education becomes a choice. There are many choices to make of course, and some will find themselves deciding on and applying to a University. In Wales, another choice is beginning to gain momentum – do you study a degree through the medium of Welsh or not?
The Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol (Welsh national college) is an organisation that works across all Welsh Universities. Its main aim is to provide Welsh medium higher education in a variety of subjects. There have been various success stories, and students across Wales are now able to study part or all of their arts, sciences, social sciences or health degree through the medium of Welsh. It makes a lot of sense to continue studying in the language that most of your education was conducted in. You are already aware of the terminology involved and will most probably be a competent user of said terminology in English as well through your degree studies. Bilingualism serves you well as a graduate in an ever-competitive labour market. Many industries need Welsh speaking employees to carry out their business, and this is especially true of Health Sciences graduates. Psychology is an important part of health sciences. Imagine wanting to talk to someone about difficult things in your life, but having to do so using words and terms you don’t feel as comfortable with.
I have now been a member of staff at the department of Applied Psychology for just over a year. One remit of my position as a Welsh speaking Psychology lecturer is to support students who have completed most of their education through Welsh and are now transitioning to a very different linguistic experience.
This year, we have begun to provide Welsh medium provision. The aim is to pave the way for those students who might feel that going from being educated at school or college in one language to being educated at degree level though another, as well as all the other anxieties that come with starting at Uni, is overwhelming.First year students are offered a bilingual tutorial where their study skills are developed to aide with their content lectures. Students are provided with the same English medium material as the other groups, but we have discussions in Welsh which engages their translanguaging skills, one of the many benefits of speaking more than one language!
Our aim for the future is to continue to work closely with the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol to develop credited modules which will be available through the medium of Welsh. I am currently researching the feasibility of developing Welsh medium provision for the whole school with the aim of providing Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol with insightful data on the challenges, and the opportunities, of incorporating the Welsh language into many willing departments. What we’re doing within the Psychology department will help with these developments and there will be more blog posts to follow on these exciting developments.
Of course, not all students can speak Welsh, and not all that can want to use it within their education. But the element of choice which is vitally important in every minority language situation will be incorporated further into Psychology at Cardiff Metropolitan University so that each student can continue their educational journey through either of Wales’ official languages.
In the summer of 2017, Mirain attended the Eisteddfod with colleagues from Psychology, and was caught on camera by S4C:
I am very pleased with the way that we are outwardly supporting Welsh now, and this can be seen reflected in comments from our colleague Dr Delyth James:
I joined the Applied Psychology Department at Cardiff Metropolitan University in 2015, having worked at Cardiff University for over ten years. There at the School of Pharmacy, I developed the Welsh language provision across all 4-years of the Pharmacy Degree plus postgraduate programmes, focusing mainly on developing pharmacy students’ and practitioners’ communication and consultation skills in Welsh (or bilingually).
When I joined Cardiff Met Uni, I was delighted to find a welcoming and supportive environment to continue with this work and expanding Welsh language provision to other healthcare professionals and psychology students. We work closely with colleagues across other Universities in Wales and the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol. For example, Mirain and I recently delivered a Welsh language workshop for Medical and Pharmacy students at Cardiff University on the topic of ‘Addiction’.
I’m sure Mirain and Dan would agree with me that there is a real buzz and sense of enthusiasm in the University for nurturing and using our Welsh language skills on a day to day basis in the workplace and in preparation for students’ employment opportunities in Wales after they graduate.
There is a lot of enthusiasm for supporting and encouraging all our students to develop skills for the future, and we take pride in the excellent work students do with all our placement partners. We want to provide students with the necessary skills for the future, and one way we can do that is in recognising the importance of language in engaging with the communities around us. The Welsh initiatives we have started enrich our department, and have broad consequences for us all beyond are everyday work. I look forward to showcasing more of the language and placement work of the department!
One of our recent graduates recently completed writing a blog for us. Owayne worked really hard as a student, and took the opportunities that the programme offered. It is great to see how he engaged with the programme and to know what he plans to do now.
I recently graduated with a 1st class degree in Psychology from Cardiff Metropolitan University, something that from the outset I would have never imagined in my wildest dreams. My University experience began in August 2012, when I decided almost on a whim to visit the UCAS website and see if I could access higher education through the ‘clearing’ process. I was uncertain as to whether such access was possible, because I had achieved very little in college academically. I had studied Maths (grade E) and Design Technology (grade U) three years prior, evidently and my motivation was poor. After college I focused on working with children with additional learning needs, and these experiences taught me the significant role that Psychologists play in understanding developmental conditions. Owing to this, despite it being completely new to me, I decided to apply for Psychology as a subject – without having any other real plan or direction in life. I was accepted onto the Foundation in Social Sciences, which had a pathway leading to Psychology.
So there I was, ready to begin university a few weeks later in September, with a history of poor grades, and little or no understanding of the subject I was about to pursue. Therefore, it would be fair to say that when compared to many of the other people starting on the course I was not in the best of positions. However, like everyone else, I quickly realised how interesting Psychology is. When I went to the effort of reading around the various modules I had assignments for, I found it was a tolerable and even rewarding way to spend my time. One of my favourite things about Psychology is how the information you learn can relate to and be applied to real life. This is especially true of when attempting to understand the behaviours and opinions of other people. I also found that other people tend to view Psychology as a particularly interesting subject, and this increases when the matter of conversation involves the research that is conducted.
As I progressed through my first year at University, I learned that, despite past shortcomings, anyone is able to succeed so long as they choose to take an interest. Psychology is fantastic in teaching people this idea from the very outset, that is how humans learn. I feel students should be taught this much earlier in their education. Theories on how humans remember information (great for exams), how they are motivated, and perhaps most importantly, how belief that learning is always happening helps us to develop and grow our brains further (it causes us to be more effortful) is helpful to understand how we learn. I found this to be of particular importance, because I attribute my success in university to the effort and time I put into the work I handed in. However, we came to understand that putting our best into our assignments not only improved the grades we attained, but also advanced the skills and writing techniques we needed if we were to get 70+ (a first) in the long run.
To summarise, thanks to Psychology at Cardiff Metropolitan University I have a goal for my future that before I could never have even dreamed of. This year I will be gaining experience as an Educational Psychologist Assistant whilst I apply to a doctorate course in Educational Psychology. Not only is this career path very well paid, but I will also be able to continue to work with people with Additional Learning Needs, and even support them on a much larger scale, which is something I always thoroughly enjoyed. By accessing the support that is available from the tutors and various other services, my career path was offered something I had not previously thought possible – a fresh start.
It is hard to believe that it has been four years since Owayne joined our Foundation leading to BSc/BA in Social Sciences course, and three since he transferred to the BSc (hons) Psychology course here at Cardiff Met – my memory is so fresh that it seems like only yesterday!
Owayne’s determination, to work to the best of his ability in his studies, was obvious from the start. A testimony to this dedication is the fact that he won the British Psychological Society prize for Best Performing Student at his Graduation. This prize was very well deserved, along with his first class BSc (Hons) Psychology degree.
His innovative approach to his work often revealed an ability to integrate his learning effectively across different psychological perspectives. Owayne’s motivation and intellectual capacity demonstrate the potential for successful research in a postgraduate study – I look forward to hearing from him when he gains his PhD in Educational Psychology!
However not only has he been outstanding in his commitment to his own studies over the last four years, but I also know that he played an integral role in encouraging and supporting his peers throughout this time.
Owayne is a credit to this university and I have no doubt that he will succeed in his future career. It has been both a pleasure and a privilege to have been his personal tutor during this time.