Elizabeth Burley, Childhood, Culture and Education, 2011

1st Class Honours degree

Current Role

I am currently not in work, but I am in the process of searching for voluntary (or paid if possible) experience within a primary school. I hope to do this whilst completing the Graduate Diploma in Psychology at Aston University I have been accepted onto this academic year. I will begin this course at the end of September, and will enable me to be BPS accredited.

Career experiences 

I now know what I really want to do as my career (Educational Psychologist), and have a well informed plan of what I must do to achieve this. I have been accepted onto the first course that I must undertake in the career plan, and am therefore will be on my way to achieving this career goal.

What is the best thing about what you are doing now?

At this time of my life, having only graduated from the University of Birmingham around 3 months ago, I am enjoying arranging future plans for my desired career. This an exciting time for me, and am really hoping to achieve what I need to in order to become an Educational Psychologist.

What first attracted you to the University?

When originally applying for University courses I intended to be a Primary School teacher, but was a little unsure so I opted not to do a straight teaching course. As a result, the Childhood, Culture and Education course at Birmingham was perfect for me as it covered many areas that I was interested in, without narrowing my possible career choices in the future. After attending the open day at the University of Birmingham I knew that it was the University for me, as the campus is simply stunning and a convenient distance from my hometown. The University gives off a really positive learning vibe, and is obviously a highly respected and recommended place of study.

What were the best bits about your time here as a student?

The University's campus is definitely a huge plus point as the grounds are stunning, making studying more pleasurable all year round. What's more the facilities of the University are of a high standard, and the accommodation opportunities provided in both 1st, 2nd and 3rd year make many places extremely accessible. The University has a community feel and therefore you tend not to feel isolated or lonely. In particular, I enjoyed making friends in both my halls and within my course, having made full use of what the city has to offer. What's more, the course enabled me to develop my confidence and really did open my mind to different ways of thinking about aspects of life from philosophical, psychological and historical viewpoints and arguments. Overall, I believe my experience at the University of Birmingham enhanced my social skills and increased my confidence academically and socially, which are both hugely important in life.

What did you think of the learning experience within the University?

The course has prepared me for my future career as I hope to be an Educational Psychologist, and covering both psychological and educational modules has definitely aided me in this respect. What's more, my dissertation enabled me to complete a piece of research which is located in this area, which is particularly helpful as conducting research may also play a part in my future career. 

Did you find your course challenging or easy?

Prior to attending the University of Birmingham I was a reluctant and nervous public speaker. The Childhood, Culture and Education course, however, really required frequent public speaking due to the amount of presentations within the course assessment. I find this the most challenging aspect of the course, yet this has also helped improve my skills in this area and increased my confidence. The easiest aspects of the course for me personally would be the completion of essays as I have always loved writing, particularly of a critical and evaluative nature. 

Advice for current Education students

When given the option to choose your own modules, I would suggest thinking about it carefully and considering how it will benefit your career in the future. I would also stress the importance of choosing the right course and doing research around this with regards to what jobs could be possible after completion. I think this is definitely the most vital of decisions when going to University. 

What are your plans for your future career?

I am beginning a Graduate Diploma in Psychology at Aston University at the end of September, and this one year course will enable me to be fully BPS accredited. Simultaneously I hope to be given a voluntary or paid post as a part time teaching assistant this year, and will continue this for the following year full time. This will hopefully will give me the experience within a school that I need in order to complete an Educational Psychology Doctorate at the University of Birmingham for 3 years, enabling me to become qualified to do this as a career.

Find out more about our undergraduate programmes in the School of Education