Rochelle Embling BSc Psychology

What did you do prior to studying at Swansea University?

Prior to studying at Swansea I completed A-levels in a range of subjects including Psychology, a subject that was not actually taught at my school at the time. This meant that I had to attend an evening class once a week to study it, but I am so glad that I did because doing Psychology at Swansea has been an amazing experience!

Why did you choose to study at Swansea University?

I chose to study at Swansea because it was the first university that I visited on an open day where everyone was really welcoming and the Psychology department in particular had a very warm and friendly atmosphere. It also did not hurt that the university is right next to the beach!

Can you tell us about your course?

The course has been extremely engaging. Staff within the department have expertise in different areas, allowing students to forge their own interests as they progress throughout the course by selecting the specialised modules that appeal to them, from forensic developmental psychology to studying human behaviour from an evolutionary perspective.

There have also been plenty of opportunities for going the extra mile outside of assignments. For instance, I was lucky enough to complete the British Psychological Society summer research assistantship scheme in the department last year after Dr Laura Wilkinson, an eating behaviour psychologist in the department, brought up the opportunity of applying for the assistantship under her supervision. I had just completed lectures on obesity and eating behaviour as part of the Brain and Behaviour module of the course, so I knew it was an area I enjoyed studying. The fact that I like writing research reports didn’t hurt either. This meant that I had the chance to receive one on one tuition outside of normal classes to build on my course knowledge, as well as actively develop and run my own research project in my area of interest to get a taste for what a career in academic research would be like.

So more than simply teaching students about psychology as a topic, the course definitely has the overarching aim of allowing students to develop a well-rounded skill set, from essay writing to statistical analysis to simply being able to manage your time well. I do not think many of us realised how challenging it would be to complete our coursework assignments whilst also bringing participants in to the laboratory to collect data for our final year projects before we actually had to do it!

What part of the course do you/did you enjoy the most?

I know that most people would disagree with me, but I actually enjoyed completing my dissertation and final year project the most. I think it was because I felt I had the most control over my studies as I worked independently on topics that I found extremely interesting. It was also the most academically challenging part of the course, meaning that I stood to gain the most progress as I learnt from my mistakes as I went along. These two modules were definitely the most rewarding aspects of the course, because I just felt so proud of what I had accomplished after all of the hard work that I had put in to complete both.

What’s been your highlight whilst studying at Swansea University?

My highlight of my time at Swansea would be meeting all of the amazing people that I have had the pleasure of working and studying with as part of my course, as well as meeting some of my closest friends whilst at the University. You get to meet so many different people from different backgrounds and cultures that you learn a lot about who you are as a person, and build relationships that you may have otherwise missed out on. This is something that you do not appreciate fully until it’s time to graduate, and the nostalgia really starts to kick in.

What are your plans/hopes for the future?

Though I would have been uncertain at the start of my degree, I am now confident that I would like to work within academic research. With the experience that I have gained and the skills that this course has allowed me to develop, I plan to continue my studies at Swansea and undertake a Masters and PhD with a focus on food Psychology and obesity this year.

How will your studies help you pursue your chosen profession?

As I am aiming for an academic career in Psychology, the course has definitely equipped me with the crucial building blocks to do so. Before studying at Swansea, I found the idea of using statistics in my work extremely daunting and the prospect of running and writing up an experiment almost an impossible task for me to do independently. But that’s exactly what Swansea has allowed me to do, and these are all skills that I have now trialled and tested that will be imperative to studying as a PhD student.

Would you recommend Swansea University to other students? 

I would absolutely recommend studying at Swansea University to other students, particularly for Psychology. The staff are willing to go above and beyond to make sure that you meet your full potential as a student and more importantly as a future academic. It’s not just about passing exams and assignments at Swansea, it’s about finding the path that you’re going to pursue after completing your studies and becoming the best version of the person that you want to be.