Lauren discovered a passion for Psychology when she studied it as an A level subject at Derby College. Now a Psychological Research Assistant for the Derbyshire NHS Foundation Trust at the Centre for Self-Harm and Suicide Prevention, Lauren spoke to our Alumni team about her experiences at college, getting into university and where her career journey took her next.
“I chose Psychology as an A-Level at Derby College as I thought it would be a subject I would thoroughly enjoy and wanted to explore and analyse human behaviour,” said Lauren. “Prior to studying the subject at college, I had no background in Psychology apart from a personal interest in mental health.
“Throughout my time studying over two years, not only did I extremely enjoy the subject, it was an A Level I found I was able to excel in,” she said. “It also highlighted the areas of Psychology I was most interested in, which started to shape the career path I would follow.
“After college I studied BSc Psychology at university,” said Lauren. “Whilst I was studying I also volunteered in numerous roles in order to gain relevant experience in mental health and clinical settings, as I knew I would later like to become a Clinical Psychologist – a job role that is highly competitive.
“Following this, I went on to complete my Master’s in MSc Clinical Aspects of Psychology. At the same time I held two voluntary posts as an Assistant Psychologist for the NHS and as a Clinical Research Assistant for the university whilst also conducting a clinical study.
“I achieved a Distinction in my Master’s, something I am extremely proud of,” said Lauren. “My third year dissertation project was also published in a psychological journal. This is one of my greatest achievements to date as I always aspired one day to be able to publish a paper that can inform clinical practice and further research in psychology.
“Overall the vast amount of clinical and research experience I had gained helped me then to secure my first full-time position as a Research Assistant for Derbyshire NHS Foundation Trust.
“I work at the Centre for Self-Harm and Suicide Prevention in which I collate, analyse and write up reports which are looking at suicidal risk, thoughts and self-harm data collected within the NHS trust. Furthermore, my main job role is to support and evaluate for the Liaison Team, which work in A&E to assess, diagnose and refer patients with mental health issues.
“My time at college allowed me to prepare for not only university but also my current job role. The style of teaching and the lecture -style classroom taught me to successfully manage my own workload. In addition to this, I became organised, punctual and disciplined throughout my time at Derby College.
“The relationship I was able to develop with staff was that of a professional capacity and something that allowed me to grow and shape my interpersonal relationships with colleagues and university lecturers. Overall, college has provided me with the foundations I needed to succeed.
“My ultimate career goal is to become a Chartered Clinical Psychologist and complete my doctorate,” said Lauren.
“Overall my advice to others hoping to work in my industry is to be passionate about your career choice and let that drive you. Hard work and determination do pay off and anything is achievable if you put your mind to it.”