Katy Coleman

Further details

I chose OBU because the psychology department conducts excellent research which is something that has always appealed to me. The other universities I looked at didn’t come across as having anywhere near the level of passion for research that is evident at Brookes. When I read the lecturers profiles before applying, I noticed that not only were they were all conducting their own research at the uni, but their specialisms were different and varied across a range of topics. I felt excited at the prospect of being taught and eager to work alongside them by helping with their research and studies at the uni. 

Why did I choose to study Psychology? I had been seeing a fantastic counsellor for a couple of years and she kept reiterating that I should train to be a doctor. Her encouragement reminded me that I have always had a profound fascination with the sciences and a love for research-based writing. Starting this journey was a big decision for me, I’m a mature student with 3 children and my bread and butter comes from my 20 year career in the circus industry. I wondered at first whether I was being far too sensible, straight-laced and boring by switching to such a mainstream subject, and I really had no vision at all about what I was going to do with my degree once I had it either!   

Now I’m pretty certain that I want to go onto get a PhD so I can delve deeper into psychology as a subject, and experience life as a scientist. I chose psychology over other sciences because I saw the life-long opportunity to keep growing and learning. There doesn’t seem to be a limit to what you can achieve with a career in psychology, and that uncapped potential was the final selling point to me. 

I enjoy watching the lecturers deliver their work. I don’t think it would be fun if the lecturers were bored, distracted or didn’t really understand the subject they were talking about. No, the lectures are fun because the lecturers are genuinely passionate about the content they are delivering which helps us as students to feel inspired.

I also enjoy deadlines for coursework! They force me to get the work done which forces me to learn, research, write, think; all the things I enjoy! It’s so worth putting the effort into coursework because the ‘aha’ and ‘eurika’ moments are just so thrilling. 

I was put forward as a student rep by the student support office because I felt quite overwhelmed when I started at Brookes, it’s a big university and I felt a bit lost! Anyone can be a student rep which makes it inclusive and the role helped me to find my place at Brookes. I realised as well that I had a lot to offer the younger students with just everyday issues where they needed a bit of support.
In my first year I was so busy with work, uni and kids that I only managed to start some research with a professor at the end of the year. I was really dismayed that I didn’t have more time to take up the enormous amount of research opportunities, so I am actually continuing my degree part-time instead of full-time from September and will be able to do some exciting and worthwhile studies. 

Every student will have their individual learning needs and there is a specific department dedicated to helping students up their grades. My main source of support was through my academic advisor whom I regularly met with 1:1 to talk about any challenges I was facing, whether it was an academic question or issues outside of university that were affecting my studies. 

We received excellent support during the seminar sessions held in the computer labs. The teachers helped us through the process of conducting a study, analysing the data and writing the report. I was touched by how much extra time and effort the tutors put in to help each student understand the concepts at hand. 
I don’t have enough time for a social life at the university unfortunately, but that’s what happens when you have children!

I think the first week is totally overwhelming so just being there is an achievement. Once I was past the initial brain-freeze I made friends with a lovely group of girls because we always sat in the same place during lectures (at the front because we are so keen obviously). They were then my friends for the whole year and it was so nice getting to know them better and to share the challenges of exams and stress of deadlines. We definitely propped each other up. 

I don’t live in Oxford but I love the Headington shops that are a 5 minute walk from the Uni. They are a lovely mix of charity shops, stationary outlets and food stores. There is an amazing park next to the main Headington Campus called South Park I believe. I run around it sometimes, and every hundred metres there is a set of chin-up and monkey bars. I have great fun making up my own work-outs on those and they make me feel like I’m back at the circus. 

I definitely want to continue studying but I also want to gain work experience. I never thought about getting a PhD before studying at Brookes, but I have found psychology just so fascinating that it has made me thirsty for more. I want to have a deep understanding of how psychology has influenced other sciences and vice versa so that I can work wisely within the field, with clear knowledge about how my work affects individuals and the wider society. 

Ultimately I want to get a job and get paid doing something that I love, what exactly that will be I don’t know! I really like Brookes, maybe I’ll just stay and work there!

I would definitely recommend this course to others even if they don’t wish to work in the area of psychology after the degree is finished. The course is delivered in an inspiring way that expands the mind; Invaluable insight about people is gained; the skill of writing a professional report is honed; a rich understanding of psychology’s impact on society and history is developed. 

The opportunity to take up modules in different but related subjects led me to a biological anthropology module. I learnt how humans evolved and about a recent fossil find that appears to be an unknown species of hominin. Because Brookes is a well-managed big university, there are plenty of different modules to choose from so, to a certain extent, students can tailor their own degree to suit their interests.