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How to excel as a psychology student

This article has been adapted from episode 105 of The Aspiring psychologist Podcast. If you prefer you can listen here or watch here.




Introduction: Welcome to the Aspiring Psychologist Blog, where I, Dr. Marianne Trent, a qualified clinical psychologist, share valuable insights and experiences. In this article I take you through the five things I'm grateful I knew as a psychology undergraduate. These lessons extend beyond the academic realm and offer a holistic perspective on the undergraduate experience. It might just help you to excel as a psychology student!


  1. University Is Not Just About Studying: University life goes beyond lectures and seminars. She highlights the importance of the friendships cultivated during her undergraduate years. From managing a household to navigating the intricacies of shared spaces, the experience was a blend of learning, fun, and cooperation. The people she met during this time turned out to be lifelong friends, demonstrating the significance of these connections beyond the academic realm.

  2. Balancing Work and Study: Acknowledging the ample free time during her psychology undergraduate studies, Dr. Trent made the conscious decision to work from her second year onwards. She assisted disabled students, gaining practical experience and earning extra income. This not only provided financial support but also added a layer of real-world application to her academic pursuits.

  3. Granting Permission for Exploration: Dr. Trent reflects on giving herself the freedom to pursue a degree that interested her without a predetermined career path. This exploratory approach allowed her to discover her passion for clinical psychology in the final weeks of her undergraduate studies. The experience of allowing interests to percolate organically contributed to a more holistic and enjoyable journey.

  4. Utilising University Vacations: Understanding the value of structured breaks, Dr. Trent utilised her summer vacations to work and earn extra money. Whether as a home carer or in Boots chemists, these experiences not only provided financial stability but also enriched her interpersonal and teamwork skills. The structured approach to summer breaks prevented lethargy and allowed for a balanced mix of work and leisure.

  5. Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: Dr. Trent emphasises the importance of teamwork and the unique dynamics within a cohort. Collaborating with fellow students, sharing lecture notes, and drawing upon each other's strengths created a supportive learning environment. The memories forged with her cohort during these formative years continue to hold a special place in Dr. Trent's heart.


Conclusion: Aspiring psychologists and current students can glean valuable insights from Dr. Marianne Trent's journey through her psychology undergraduate years. The emphasis on relationships, balance, exploration, work, and teamwork serves as a roadmap for a fulfilling and enriching academic experience. Whether you're a psychology student or simply navigating university life, these lessons transcend disciplines, offering timeless wisdom for personal and professional growth.


To check out the brand new short courses by Dr Marianne Trent click here.
To check out dr Marianne Trent's books to support aspiring psychologists and mental health professionals click here



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