BSc Psychology - Hassanatu Carew

Hassanatu Carew is a Psychology student entering the final year of her degree.

During her time at UEA, she’s jumped into opportunities, from volunteering to placement in a role as a CareerCentral ambassador.

We spoke about why she chose UEA, and what comes next. 

What drew you to UEA?

The course was the first thing that I noticed. I was looking for Psychology courses while I was doing my A Levels.

I didn't even know about UEA and one of my teachers told me the University of East Anglia offers scholarships to people.

I came to an Open Day and I really, really liked the campus. Everyone was so nice. I was talking about it all the time – anyone who would listen, I would talk about UEA.

When I got the offer, I was receiving calls all the time from students and I was getting gifts from UEA. They would check up on me and see how I was doing, how I was feeling about my exams and what I wanted to do after. It was really nice.

Why did you decide to study Psychology?

I really liked all three of my A Levels – Media Studies, Sociology, and Psychology. 

Even before I knew what Psychology was, I always wanted to study mind and behaviour. I wanted to know more about it so I had that initial connection to Psychology. 

I thought if I study Psychology, I will at some point also study some media topics and some sociology topics. I wanted to study Psychology more because there's so much that I haven't studied that I want to study.

For example, there was a lot of mental health aspects, a lot of developmental psychology, a lot of social psychology I wanted to study. I think psychology is involved in everything, so I don't feel left out.

I had also done work experience the summer between my first year of A Levels and my second year and it was basically a bunch of different psychology tasters. It really just made me decide, “I have to study Psychology.”

What's your favourite thing about studying Psychology at UEA?

The people who designed the course made it really well. I remember I had a formative assignment telling me to redesign the course and it was so difficult – I couldn't do it.

Also, the experiences. I got to volunteer as an assistant psychologist last year. I got to work with one of the psychologists and it was really eye opening. It was good experience and it helped me prepare for what I would be doing in my final year for my project.

Hearing the researcher talk about her research and how passionate she was about it made me fall in love with psychology all over again, because I could imagine myself being in that position. 

Do you think the skills that you gained from volunteering will be applicable through your future career?

My volunteering in my second year definitely did help because I was recruiting people. There was a list of people that fit the description for this study, so I would have to approach them.

It was good practice for communication, verbal and written, especially the sort of communication where you have to negotiate a bit, because sometimes the students would say no. It was a very long study, so motivating the students through it was also good experience. 

Also, reaching out to someone that I had never met before, because I would have to call clients during the pandemic, and meeting people and trying to support them and motivate them when they might have not believed in themselves enough to get through it.

That was really helpful, that I had that initial experience. It was a foot in the door and then the placement added on to that experience. I know that going forward I'm going to draw on those two experiences.

Do you have any idea what you might do after your degree?

This used to scare me, but now I'm not as scared to say that I don't have a straightforward answer. I know that I want to be a psychologist. That is my end goal.

I haven't decided what sort of psychologist I want to be, so I haven't decided on a fixed path to go down. It always changes. I always say, “I really want to be a social psychologist, now I really want to be a clinical psychologist.” Right now, I'm looking into counselling and being a researcher on the side. 

I finished my placement which was amazing, I came back to uni and worked as a research assistant volunteer again for a different psychologist and I graduated this year with first class honours. I'm in the process of applying for jobs and attending interviews.

I do know that my degree will open up so many opportunities for work experience and I feel like that is what I'm looking forward to the most – these opportunities that push me up the ladder to where I need to go. It's just so exciting.

Have you used any careers services to think about your future path?

I always go to CareerCentral when I need help with a job application. They've helped me fix my CV, they've taught me how to write a good cover letter.

I've also done a few mock interviews which were really helpful because I would not have known how to do an interview.

As a CareerCentral Ambassador, I also work at events, so I get to talk to event organisers and employees. I can just pick their minds about anything that I'm interested in and network that way.

That does really help shape my outlook on where I want to go. CareerCentral also organises events for students such as the Careers Fair. That's a good opportunity to meet employers and figure out if you want to do any volunteering or work experience. 

I think it's one of the best things that we have at UEA.

Do you have any words of advice for people looking to study Psychology?

I would say visit the campus. Talk to as many people as you can. Talk to the lecturers, ask them so many questions. 

One other thing that I didn't do, which if I could go back I would do, is pay attention to the modules. At the time I didn't really understand modules and how that works.

My teachers told me that every university has different modules and I thought that means that they teach different things, but in Psychology there is some compulsory content that every university has to teach to be BPS accredited. I just thought, if I'm learning research and my friend at Surrey is also learning research, how different can it really be?

But there might be some modules here at UEA that they don't teach at other universities that you might really be interested in. Definitely pay attention to the modules.

Don't think any question that you ask is stupid because at that stage I don't think anyone is really expecting you to have all the answers. Just show how curious you are. Show how excited you are to be on this journey and just enjoy it.

Would you do anything differently?

In my first year, I thought: “I'll just see how things are and I'm not going to rush to work or volunteer or do anything.”

Now? I would definitely do some sort of volunteering. Do an internship over the summer. Just get some additional experience because you have that time in your first year. Your timetable is a lot more flexible.

Plus, there are so many opportunities in your second year to do internships and volunteering that if you have some sort of experience in your first year, that could boost your CV and it can get you noticed.

Just apply for any opportunity that comes your way, even if you feel like you're not qualified. Just apply for it, and if you get it then do it because the benefits are beyond amazing. You will not regret doing it.


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