Binge Watching Shows for Students!

Here are my top 5 shows to binge watch on Netflix, Amazon, Sky Go, iPlayer, whatever you have, either as a SHORT! reprieve from studying or to reward yourself once you have finished! 

1. A league of their own. This show is hilariously funny and light hearted, it never fails to get me spirits up when I feel a bit stressed. I watched a whole season in a day whilst I did some less critical work as a chance to distress myself.

2. Bad Education. Another programme I find addictively funny but that was over with far too soon! There was however a movie to satisfy my cravings!

3. Fresh Meat. (Sorry a reoccurring Jack Whitehall theme here but I do love him). This never fails to make me laugh and gives me hope for my life, because, well, even at my hardest point, I seemed to cope better than one character or another!

4. Made in Chelsea. Nothing to take your mind off of uni stress like focusing all your efforts on envying the lives of the rich and semi-famous. Plus numerous individuals who are pleasing to look at!

5. Broadchurch. If you haven’t already and if you have, watch it again as you’re bound to have forgotten some things in the 2 year gap! This drama is so gripping and is exactly what I need sometimes to focus my mind on something other than stress and unhappiness!

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Thinking about Dissertation

So I know that a lot of second years will be beginning to think about their dissertations and I thought I could give a couple of tips on how not to panic about this super scary idea and prepare!

1. Make a list of anything you could be interested in, no matter how long

2. Search on the internet popular dissertation topics/debates (for your course)

3. Ask a third year student

4. If you are really unsure, 100% go and speak to your advisor! That’s what they’re there for

5. Read back over your lectures from the past two years and make a note of anything that interests you

6. When you have some chosen areas, do a brief literature search, you need to know what the current status of research is so you can choose a question that is useful to the field of research

7. Before going to see possible supervisors, be prepared. Know what you want to do and why. The more prepared you are, the more likely they are to work with you

8. Think about the ethical complications. You don’t want to pick something completely up feasible that takes forever to get ethical approval for

9. If you are still struggling for topic ideas, look at a few lecturers you would like to work with and read their most recent publications. If you can’t decide what you want to do, you can always ask to follow the train of research of theirs which most interests you

10. Make sure it is something you are interested in. Nothing could be worse than spending a whole year doing something you despise, so bare this in mind

And remember, enjoy yourself! You’ll do so much better if you engage with the research and enjoy the process! 

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Dissertation

So, I thought I’d give everyone an update as to how my dissertation is coming along, as we go into the New Year.

I’m doing a Grounded Theory, which is a qualitative piece, and involves doing interviews. I have done 7 interviews so far and I may do a couple more depending on if I need anymore quotes for my data. 

So far I have spent soooo much time on it! The interviews have taken me about 40 minutes each, but the transcribing takes hourssss! And the coding takes a long time as well, but that’s where it gets really interesting. 

In Grounded theory, you code the data using open codes, and then you focused code, which involves seeing how the initial codes fit together and relate. 

I’m now at the stage of categorising and so far I’m finding my categories really interesting! I saw my dissertation supervisor the other day and he says I’m getting on really well and my analysis sounds really good so far. 

I haven’t done my literature review yet, because that comes alongside doing the analysis, in Grounded theory you shouldn’t do your literature review before your analysis as it can affect your interpretation of the data. 

So far the categories I am establishing alongside the literature I am looking at are:

The idea and concept of terrorism as a Muslim and religious issue. There is a definite feeling that terrorism is simply a Muslim issue, there seems to be no consideration of the other factors that could contribute to terrorism.

The idea that terrorism makes people, it takes away control. I’m seeing a lot of people focusing on the lack of control in terrorism, but there is also a lot of focus on how terrorism makes both people and places change. People change in terms of their levels of worry, their mental health and their choices in life, but places change because of what happens there. For instance, there is a lot of emphasis on how Paris is no longer viewed as romantic but simply as a victim of terrorism. 

It’s all very interesting but I’ve still got a long way to go! It’s funny because before Christmas it seemed so far away, but now, only a couple of weeks later it seems so close. I’m confident I have done everything I can do far to do as well as possible, and I’ll just have to keep trying my best! 

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Pets as Therapy

So a while ago now i applied to be a Pets as Therapy volunteer with my little dog Charlie 


Isn’t he just the cutest?! This is him on his birthday with his smelly doggy cake! 

We finally had our assessment after waiting two months, this poor lady was so busy! 

We had to meet her at Pets as Home, so we went along, but I forgot to get him to have a wee before we went in, and halfway through he weed up a stack of products!! 🙊😩 

She said it was ok, that lots of dogs do that so it wouldn’t count against him, but it was so embarrassing! 

She did lots of little activities with him, like checked how he reacted to being picked up (fine, he practically lives in people’s arms), how he reacted to loud noises (he doesn’t care), and does he get unsettled if he has to sit whilst people talk for ages (no, he falls asleep).

I now have to send the forms she filled in off to be assessed but she’s positive he’ll pass. The only thing he didn’t do great on was get distracted by food, but I always knew that was going to happen! 

She’s even said I’ll be able to take him and visit prisons, which will be brilliant experience for the future as I want to work with offenders as a Forensic Psychologist! 

It will take a while to get all set up and running but I’ll let you know when I hear more! 

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I got the job! 

I think this is actually the second post I’ve ever done with this title haha! 

As you guys know, I had an interview for a position at the SARC (sexual assault response centre) in Norwich a few weeks ago, to be a crisis worker, and I found out this week that I got the job! 

I’m so excited, I literally can’t wait! It’s such an amazing opportunity for me and I’m looking forward to being in a role that really means something for others. 

It’s not that I don’t enjoy the job I have now, but I have been doing it since I was 16. As much as the place has changed, and I’ve changed also, it finally feels like the time to say goodbye and move on. I also feel like I’ve got all out of it that I can, and it’s time to meet new challenges. 

This role will certainly be challenging as I will be helping people who have been victims of sexual assault, whilst they have their forensic medical examinations, and interviews with the police. I understand how hard this is going to be, but I want to be in a position where I feel I am doing something really worthwhile. Something that I feel would be missed if I stopped doing it, which I don’t feel like now. 

I will start in the new year hopefully, so have handed my notice in this week. This job is also so much better for me from the point of view of being a student, as it is a 0 hour contract. Whilst the 12.5 hours I work at the leisure centre isn’t a lot, when I’ve got a lot of work on, I sometimes struggle with making sure I plan enough to get everything in.

With this new role I can take on lots of shifts when I know I don’t have anything approaching, but do less shifts when I have looming deadlines. 

It’s so much better for me in the future as well. Because I want to be a Forensic Psychologist, and this role involves working directly with the police and with victims of crime, it’s giving me hugely valuable experience for the future! 

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First assignment… is in!

So a few weeks ago I wrote about how I was preparing for my first assignment… well after much hard work, sweat and tears, it is all done and submitted!

Despite the fact I have spent WEEKS on this, it’s been somewhat of a bumpy ride. I got a bit carried away and forgot my focus, which meant there wasn’t much sense to my essay, and there definitely wasn’t an argument. 

Then I struggled with the word count; as much of a student dilemma as you can get. I’ve sometimes heard people talk about not being able to write enough to get to the word count… I HAVE NEVER EVER HAD THIS PROBLEM IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. 

I can’t understand it, I’m usually thousands of word over and have to pick them out oneeeee by oneeee! 

On Monday I realised I wasn’t being very analytical and had to add a fair bit of analysis in, which once again took me well over the word count! 

But finally, after a much smaller amount of tears than I expected, it’s all done and dusted. I’m not sure how I feel about it, as I’ve think I’ve gone past the point of objectivity now, but I hope it’s good. I can say for a fact I have done my absolute best! Whether that pays off, well we’ll just have to wait and see.. if by February I haven’t mentioned it then you know it wasn’t good news! Haha! 

Does anyone else out there have as much assignment stress as I do? AND WHAT ABOUT THE WORD COUNT ISSUES! 

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Interviewing

So, for my third year project I am doing a Grounded Theory study. This involves interviewing ten, maybe more people, about their views on terrorism.

I am getting better at interviewing, having now done four interviews, however at first I found it really difficult.

I have a set list of questions, but they are all very open-ended and I am supposed to follow up on these depending on what the people say. But that’s where I struggle. I am so focused on making sure I am getting it all down, and asking all the right questions, I have noticed that I tune out, and don’t necessarily follow up on what the other person is saying, meaning I miss out on opportunities to really delve in deep to the issues people are discussing.

Luckily, they are running an interviewing session tomorrow, which will hopefully help me develop the skills I need to make my last six interviews as good as they can possibly be.

It’s super funny when I am typing up the interviews to really think about how people talk. I have noticed so far that everyone goes off on tangents in the course of the interview. Usually in a conversation you wouldn’t necessarily notice it, as you would follow up on what the other person was saying, but when you have to keep track of where you are going and go back to the original point, you notice how much you digress. Also, I have noticed how much I say ‘like’ and how frequently people use ‘urm’ in the sentences.

I’m hoping that learning to be better at interviewing will be really helpful in the future, as if I do make it as a Forensic Psychologist, I would have to interview detainees and question them, and it would be necessary to follow up on what they are saying to better understand their point of view.

Does anyone have any tips for interviewing? Or on Grounded Theory?

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Next week I have an interview for an incredible position! A SARC Crisis Worker. This means working in a Sexual Assault Response Centre on a call out basis. The contract is 0 hours, but assured work every week. It’s with the Norfolk Constabulary, and my interview is next week. I am super nervous, as this will be the most professional interview I have ever gone for.

It would be a huge help to my career, as sexual offenders is a group of individuals I would like to work with in the future as a Forensic Psychologist, so it will be super useful to understand the experience from a victims’ point of view.

My parents are concerned about how I would manage in such a mentally demanding job, but I feel like I would be ok. I have really enjoyed working as an Appropriate Adult at the police station, and although Marie Curie was tough and demanding, I feel that I coped ok. I think it is important that I learn to work in situations such as this as well, because I will be put in these scenarios in the future at work.

I am preparing for my interview in what ways I can. It’s kind of helped by the fact that I am currently doing Forensic Psychology, and there is a lot of information of sex offences.

The role will be brilliant because it will be so much more flexible around uni, as I could work two or three shifts in one week when I have more free time and then have the time off when I have lots of work going on. It will also be overnight shifts, and although I think I will struggle with those at first, it will give me my days free to crack on.

I think the work would also be really helpful with my Forensic Psychology assignment, as I am doing a case study on a Sexual Offender, and what could be more useful than a bit of hands on practical experience.

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Dissertation

So, with the commencement of Third Year, also begins the commencement of the Dissertation.

I have finally chosen a topic for my dissertation; Terrorism. It is such as poignant issue in the current climate that I think it will give me the option to explore so many avenues.

What I am particularly interested in, after my interest was piqued by some reading for my Forensic module, is the concept of a Terrorist Personality. Particularly how, despite the portrayal of a Terrorist Personality, which is something that is fairly common knowledge, and seems to be fuelled by the media, research actually suggests that there is no such thing as a Terrorist Personality. Terrorists are in fact normal people. They do not always have mental health difficulties, or psychotic tendencies. Research suggests they are just ‘normal people who commit terrorists acts.’

I want to look at how thinking of terrorists as being a particular type of people, how that makes individuals feel. Whether it affects their perceptions of their mental health and stability, their happiness and their perception of stress level in their lives. I would then like to show them evidence that the idea of a Terrorist Personality is fiction, before asking them how this affects them in the same way. I would like to see whether or not the concept of terrorists being a particular type of people, or a normal person, has more or less of an effect on individuals perceptions of their mental health.

If anyone has any advice on how to prepare for and deal with the stress of a dissertation that would be greatly appreciated!

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My first volunteering shift!

So this evening I had my first real shadow shift. I’ve actually been on call for the volunteering for months now, but I’ve never been called out, and today was the first time! 

I volunteer as what is known as an Appropriate Adult for the charity Equal Lives. It basically means I am there with young or vulnerable individuals to ensure that their needs are being met whilst they are at the police station, I.e they’ve been read their rights, offered food, water and the chance to go to the toilet, that they understand what is happening to them, have been offered the chance to see a solicitor, and are not coerced during their interview. 

After only one shift I already feel like it will be something I am going to enjoy. It’s incredibly interesting to see how the procedures you would never think of work, and you also get to see a completely different side of life, for people that have not had the same chances as you. 

As I am considering both Clinical and Forensic Psychology it is incredibly useful in that sense. Forensic obviously for the role of criminality, but clinical in the sense that so many of these individuals struggle with mental health disorders, which are often the root cause of their criminal behaviour. I can see that this role will open my eyes to what my future professional career might involve, and also toughen me up for things I might see. 

I think volunteering is an especially important thing for students to do. Not only does it have the option of providing all sorts of future career opportunities (for instance today I met two solicitors), but it gives you hands on, practical experience that is invaluable. It gives you a chance to experience the field you are interested in, before you are on your own. I also feel that it helps develop your independence and adult personality. An experience I would highly recommend! 

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