Former UEA student Jonathan shares his experiences Former UEA student Jonathan shares his experiences

Jonathan Marriott works as a Residential Child Care Practitioner at Bramfield House School, which supports boys aged 8-18 with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. He plans to return to UEA in a year, either to pursue a career in teaching or counselling.

What was it like studying psychology at UEA?

I enjoyed meeting a wide range of people from so many different cultures, and loved Norwich's music scene. The LCR put on some fantastic nights, and I loved the fact that I would be in the lecture theatre, and across the way Jamie T would be playing that night! The lectures were really interesting, and I enjoyed the freedom I got in year three for my dissertation. The University was extremely supportive throughout my time there, and even when I was having problems, there was always someone to help. I miss UEA, and I'm sure I will return at some point.

Why did you decide to study at UEA?

Going to university was a spur of the moment decision for me. I had spent the year after college as a professional musician, and then decided to apply to UEA. I wanted to move away from Nottingham, and UEA seemed to be great for student satisfaction, and had a lot of great bands playing there.

What did you think about your lecturers, teaching and the facilities?

The psychology course was fantastic, and some lectures especially stood out for me, using creative and innovative lecturing techniques to keep you interested and on track. There was a real sense of people wanting you to achieve, whether the lecturer had years of experience or was newly qualified. The seminars sparked some great debate (sometimes heated!) and I still refer to the source texts in my job today.

Tell us how you got your first job after university

I applied for my first job whilst still studying, and started it about a month before my final exams. Keeping down a full time job and revising for my finals was extremely tough, but it was worth it, as I love what I do. My job includes organising and managing activities such as music nights, roller skating and swimming, working in the ‘Reflection Room', where I talk to individuals who are out of class, teaching assisting and working closely with students. I have regular contact with parents, guardians and social workers, and attend meetings such as LAC (Looked After Children) reviews and educational reviews. Furthermore, I am required to complete paperwork such as care reports, pupil risk assessments and behaviour management plans.

How has your course helped you in your career?

Primarily, my course helped me actually get my first job on leaving university, as over 60 people applied for the position, so having a relevant degree put me at a huge advantage. I now use theory from many modules of my course, especially when dealing with young people who are experiencing traumatic periods in their lives. I have used much person-centred counselling techniques, and still refer to my old textbooks for guidance on handling certain pupils, for example those with autism.

What has been your greatest achievement in your career so far?

Every day my job is different. Recently I spent a whole day working one-to-one with an eleven year old boy who had been told that morning that his father had died. Although extremely stressful, I felt that my degree had given me fantastic preparation for a situation such as this. I still continue to work very closely with this young man, and he is making great progress.