Categories
@salfordpsych applied psychology Blog conferences employability enterprise learning twitter volunteering

Five ideas for maximising your summer as a psychology student

By Jenna Condie

To say I spent the summer months during my undergraduate psychology degree sleeping and watching daytime TV is not quite true.  I did work a variety of psychology-relevant jobs and pick up the odd book or two.  However, I am now aware that I didn’t really make the best use of those breaks to develop my psychological knowledge and skills and ready myself for the graduate job market.  Hindsight is a wonderful thing! On that note, here are five ideas for making the most of your summer as a psychology undergraduate.  These ideas are inspired by recent opportunities I have noticed or stories I have been told…mostly via Twitter (hint hint!).

1.  Volunteering

Most psychology students I speak to are already volunteering for various organisations.  A local opportunity I spotted recently (call still open at the time of writing) was for the British Red Cross as a Bridge Group Project Volunteer in Manchester on Wednesday afternoons.  The Bridge Group aims to help male refugees and asylum seekers cope with and adapt to a new city and culture.  Activities include IT taster courses, tours of the city centre, first aid training and football tournaments.  Due to the nature of the work, the volunteering positions are available to males only.  Based on my graduate experience of working with ‘hard to reach’ and marginalised communities such as Gypsies and Travellers, I cannot emphasise the value of such experiences for developing communication skills and deepening your understanding of other cultures.  At the same time, you could be reading up on psychological theory and research around migration and the processes people go through when adapting to a new place.

Another local opportunity that cropped up in my Twitter newsfeed today was for Mind Manchester, a voluntary organisation that works to improve the lives of people with mental health needs. @ManchesterMind particularly want young people (18-25) and people from ethnic minority backgrounds as these groups are currently underrepresented on their boards.

 

2.  Season work

Get away! Literally! Being a season worker or ‘seasonaire’ can be great fun.  To make the most of it, there are a number of ways this experience can be relevant to psychology.  For example, companies such as PGL Travel and Esprit Sun have positions that provide relevant work experience for those considering a future career with children and young people.  Further afield, there’s also the ever popular Camp America.   It could be a bit late for this summer, but next summer maybe?

To combine ideas 1 (volunteering) and 2 (season work), check out organisations that arrange volunteering work in developing countries.   SL Volunteers is an organisation that recently grabbed my attention as it is led by students and graduates.  Their work is based in Sri Lanka where they run various projects such as The Children’s Home Project.  They also have a clinical psychology placement scheme.  There are often costs associated with these volunteering schemes but the organisations involved try to keep costs as low as possible.  Perhaps you could be enterprising (see below!) and generate some sponsors and/or apply for funding opportunities

3.  Enterprise

The organisation mentioned above, SL Volunteers, was established in 2010 by graduates from the University of Manchester and one of the founders, Lucy Nightingale, studied psychology!  Maybe you’ve noticed a gap in services for university students – start talking to people across campus who might be interested in your idea.

By enterprising, I don’t necessarily mean starting a business.  I mean create something, start something, bring people together with a common goal.  If you don’t like the ways things are, change it.  You might have an idea to start a group or a Facebook page or a blog for example.  There is nothing wrong with starting small but thinking big.  Perhaps there are opportunities for you to be ‘intrapreneurial’ (being entrepreneurial within an organisation) within the companies and organisations you are already working for or associated with.

Having the status of ‘student’ attached to you can be a massive advantage for starting an enterprise.  If you are at Salford, check out the Careers and Employability Service’s enterprise page: http://www.careers.salford.ac.uk/enterprise.

4.  Events

There are lots of events and conferences going on throughout the summer, some of which are free.  An interesting event I spotted today (Twitter again!) is a talk by the poet and broadcaster Lemn Sissay MBE called ‘GOOGLE ME’ – A talk on identity from someone finding theirs, organised by the University of Huddersfield (10th July 2013, 6-7.30pm).  This is a fantastic opportunity to hear Lemn speak.  Here’s a previous talk he gave for TED:

Attending events can give your ideas for dissertations, develop your critical thinking, and provide opportunities for networking.  If there is a cost to attend an event, one option is to offer to help out so you can attend for free or at least get a reduced fee (enterprising again!) whilst gaining more work experience.   Another option is to offer to write a review or a blog post about the conference or event…this has worked for me in the past and leads nicely onto the final idea for summer.

5. Developing your online presence

Last but not least, you could invest some of your summer into your online presence.  Your professional online identity is now crucial for job (and potentially university) applications.  Don’t believe me? Just Google ‘Paris Brown’ or ‘EmmaWay20’!  A nice starting point for developing your professional self is to create a profile on the professional networking site LinkedIn.  Because it’s the most professional of the major social networks, it can help you position yourself differently to how you might do on personal networks such as Facebook for example.  We have set up a group on LinkedIn called SPNet to provide a network of students and staff to support each other on this platform and to start making connections with one another.

Another place which I have already mentioned is Twitter.  This is the network where I get most of my up-to-date news and information about the latest opportunities…as this blog post demonstrates!  For ideas about what to tweet and how to construct a professional self on Twitter, check out the @salfordpsych twitter archive and previous blog posts from current students about using Twitter for professional and learning purposes.

If you fancy going one step further…start your own blog like other Salford Psychology students such as Hannah Smith and Scott Robertson.  You can also write guest posts for collaborative blogs.  For example, this morning the BPS Social Psychology Section posted a call for blog posts on…you guessed it…Twitter (see below)!

Again, if you are at Salford, the Careers team can help with this and are available during the summer.  There’s some drop in sessions too: http://www.careers.salford.ac.uk/page/jobsandcareers

A Psychological Summer

If you are already having a psychological summer, great.  Maybe there’s one or two ideas here that you want to follow up or even better, this post has sparked some ideas of your own.  I expect the ideas in this post are just the tip of the iceberg…further ideas or suggestions are much appreciated, please leave them in the comments box below.  We’d also be really interested to hear about your work experiences over the summer…you can even guest blog about them here!

Contact details: Jenna Condie, Lecturer in Psychology, E: j.m.condie@salford.ac.uk or Twitter: @jennacondie

Categories
learning media psychology online psychology twitter

The Self Online Week 2013

By Jenna Condie

This is short notice but I am relying on the power of social media to spread the word fast.  I am giving my annual #TheSelfOnline lecture tomorrow morning Monday 22nd April 2013 10-12pm in L312 for students visiting from Xaverian College.  If you are free, Psychology at Salford students are welcome to attend, especially those thinking about increasing their online presence for a summer of graduate job searching.  Also, I’m sure Xaverian students would really like to meet some of you too.

I am also giving the lecture on Friday 26th April 2013 to Level 4 students on the Individual Differences module at 10-12pm in MS G21.  Again if you are free, students in other year groups and on our masters courses are welcome to attend.  Please email me if you would like to attend this one j.m.condie@salford.ac.uk.

Here’s what’s in store:

I’ve titled this post The Self Online Week 2013.  If you can’t make it to the lectures, why not add your thoughts or questions around your online presence on Twitter using this tag #theselfonline.  If you do one thing this week, Google yourself and see what you find. If you do another, check out LinkedIn.

Categories
@salfordpsych engaging people psych and criminology twitter undergraduate

Q&A: Catherine Thomas on Curating @salfordpsych

Our @salfordpsych Twitter account has been up and running for a month now.  Last week, BSc (Hons) Psychology and Criminology student Catherine Thomas (a.k.a. @kitty_cat86) took us to a whole new level. She inspired a presentations expert (@viperblueuk) to write a blog post with advice on poster presentations to help Level 5 students with their Social Psychology assignments.  Below, Catherine reflects on what she gained from curating @salfordpsych and how Twitter can be a useful resource for university students.  If you would like to read Catherine’s tweets from the week, they have been archived here on Storify.

___________

How did you find your week curating the @salfordpsych account?

I loved it – have to admit I was really dreading it at first, mainly because I was worried that if I didn’t do it right I would look like a ‘bad psychology student’. I felt like the spotlight would be on me and didn’t want to look stupid in front of peers and professionals at uni. This was not the case – I was encouraged throughout and loved every minute.

Did previous curator’s tweets shape your approach to tweeting as @salfordpsych?

They gave me an idea of how/what to tweet and reading through their tweets was very encouraging. I think if I had been the first to curate I would have been much more reserved in what I tweeted.

What motivated you to be a part of the initiative?

I was asked to do it, accepted and then the dread arrived 🙂 I knew that anything related to my degree could help me in my studies, and of course I love psychology so that helped.

What did you enjoy about it?

Networking; speaking with other students and professionals. It really helps when you speak with someone who has ‘been there done that’. Up to date studies that were tweeted were great. They help with your studies as well as just being an interesting read.

What surprised me is that in doing this you highlight what areas of psychology you are interested in by what catches your eye and what makes you want to ‘re-tweet’. In my case, looking through my tweets, I tweeted a lot in regards to clinical psychology. It wasn’t until I noticed this that I realised that it must be something that I am really interested in. This made me think further about career paths and further education.

Was there anything you didn’t enjoy?

Honestly, not really. I very much enjoyed the whole week and was gutted when the week was over.

Favourite twitter moment of the week?

When I got responses to questions regarding my assignment, people were so helpful.

Least favourite twitter moment of the week?

None

Which accounts would you recommend to other students?

Anything psychology related really – a lot of accounts tweet up to date studies and such which can really help with your own studies.

How can social media play a role in learning?

It can massively play a role in learning. If nothing else, it brings people together with shared interests who can encourage each other to learn together; people who you would not normally come into contact with.

How can we strengthen a sense of community at Psychology at Salford?

This has been a great tool to strengthen the Psychology community at Salford. Doing this has made me realise just how important it is to speak with other students in different levels of study.

Why do you use Twitter?

I signed up to twitter out of curiosity but now I love it. It’s great as it can enhance all things that we encounter in our lives outside of social networking.

Would you recommend being a curator to other students?

Absolutely. I have already 🙂

Any tips for future curators?

Don’t panic (like I did) about making sure you sound like the perfect psychology student. If you are stuck with something, ask while you are the curator, everyone is happy to help.

What role do you think social media will play in your future?

A huge one. It’s going to get bigger and bigger, and I can’t wait.

What would you like to see @salfordpsych do next?

Continue to encourage students to actively participate in the department. It really helps!
Top tweet of the week


_____________

If you would like to curate @salfordpsych for a week, please get in touch with Jenna Condie on j.m.condie@salford.ac.uk or @jennacondie.

Categories
@salfordpsych engaging people online twitter

Five Reasons to use Twitter

By Hannah Smith a.k.a. @hannahbubble on Twitter

I loved curating the @salfordpsych account last week. I wanted to take part as I think there needs to be a greater sense of community within the Psychology department at Salford, and I want to contribute to that. Anyone who is thinking about curating should definitely have a go, using the @salfordpsych account instead of my own for a week really made me focus on ensuring my tweets were personal yet suitable for a professional audience. I do believe that Twitter is a great tool for networking, not just within the Psychology department but outside of it as well. One thing I think @salfordpsych could do next would be to collaborate on a magazine type publication, similar to The Looking Glass from the Institute of Psychiatry which I tweeted about. This could give us an opportunity to reach people who aren’t on social media, as well as reaching a wider audience within the university e.g. other programmes.

 

If you aren’t on Twitter yet, why not?! Here are my top five reasons why I think you should be.

  1. Twitter is a great place to continue discussion which may have been raised in lectures, for example using a hash tag such as #devpsy for a module on developmental psychology.
  2. Following on from this, it is also a good place to ask your fellow students questions, or even your lecturers!
  3. If you present yourself as professionally-minded and emphasise your interest in psychology, Twitter is a useful tool for developing connections with people working in the industry.
  4. You might even get work experience or a job offer from this! For example @sophcoulson tweeted last week about her wish to gain a post as a research assistant, which will hopefully lead to an offer of some work.
  5. Finally, follow any interesting accounts that you find. I follow lots of psychology-related Twitter accounts and have found research I can use in essays, inspiration for my dissertation and also some ideas for my career path.

If I haven’t managed to convince you, check out the @salfordpsych account and have a look for yourself at the sorts of things you can find on Twitter.

Top Tweet of the Week:

 

 

Categories
@salfordpsych community learning psychology twitter undergraduate

Tweeting as @salfordpsych: Q&A with Sophie Coulson

Last week we launched our collaborative Twitter account @salfordpsych.  Every week, a different person tweets for the department – students, lecturers and researchers.  Sophie Coulson, a second year BSc (Hons) Psychology undergraduate, was first up as @salfordpsych and had the account off to a flying start.  Below she reflects on her week and what she hopes @salfordpsych can do for the psychology community at Salford and beyond.  An archive of Sophie’s week as @salfordpsych can be viewed here.

______

Q.        How did you find your week curating the @salfordpsych account?

sophcoulsonA.        At first I was a bit intimidated but after the first few hours I absolutely loved my week of tweeting as @salfordpsych. There was so much support and enthusiasm from everyone involved and it was such a buzz to see people retweeting or favouriting something that I had posted.

Q.        What motivated you to be a part of the initiative?

A.        Encouragement from our lecturer, Jenna Condie, but also my belief that we need to communicate more within the university and with others in the world of psychology.  The idea of having someone different tweeting each week is a fantastic one. It brings so many perspectives and promotes input from those who might not usually have a wide or diverse audience.

Q.        What did you enjoy about it?

A.        The part I most enjoyed was researching online to find articles or links that might be interesting to others. I came across such a lot of fascinating information that I wouldn’t usually make the effort to find.

Q.        Was there anything you didn’t enjoy?

A.        I should probably lie about this to avoid sounding incredibly sad but I got a bit addicted, so the least enjoyable times were those when I couldn’t get online.

Q.        Favourite twitter moment(s) of the week?

A.        Every time someone retweeted something I had posted I felt irrationally pleased! Knowing that someone out there liked or valued the information was very rewarding.

Q.        Least favourite twitter moment of the week?

A.        I followed a few people who I thought would like to be involved but they didn’t follow back. That was a bit disheartening.

Q.        How can social media play a role in learning?

A.        I believe social media opens up so many possibilities. It’s a way of discovering things that may not have even occurred to you before. Questions can be asked and immediate responses received from people who never would have been accessible before social media. It removes or at least lowers the boundaries of location, education, class and age.

Q.        Why do you use Twitter?

A.        I haven’t personally tweeted much because, to be honest, I don’t feel anyone would be interested. However, in my part time work with the university’s Student Life service, I tweet a lot, mainly to provide others with information. I suppose I see it as a more professional than sociable way of communicating.

Q.        Would you recommend being a curator to other students?

A.        Definitely!! Apart from the obvious benefit of social media management looking good on your CV, it’s fun! It’s also a bit of a self-confidence boost and is a great way of discovering aspects of psychology that you may not usually give priority to.

Q.        Any tips for future curators?

A.        I know it’s a cliché but just be yourself.  That’s the whole idea. Different personalities, perspectives, styles and interests are what this is about. I’m really looking forward to reading tweets of all future curators.

Q.        What would you like to see @salfordpsych do next?

A.        I would love to see @salfordpsych grow and inspire other university groups to create similar accounts. I particularly like the idea of researchers, lecturers and students working and communicating together. Often they are so remote from each other and divided by position. I think @salfordpsych could also be used to build more links with the Salford community, creating opportunities for students, staff and residents.

_______

Thank you Sophie for an excellent first week on Twitter. Sophie passed the tweet-baton to Hannah Smith, who is currently tweeting as @salfordpsych about what it is like to be the final year of her BSc (Hons) Psychology and Counselling.  Check it out here.

If you would like to curate the @salfordpsych account, please get in touch with Jenna Condie on j.m.condie@salford.ac.uk.  A rota of upcoming weeks is available here.  Also, there is more information about our Twitter collaboration on the ‘we are all @salfordpsych’ page.