Skip to content

How did you feel returning to study as a mature student?

I was delighted to be accepted to study at the University of Chester and remember feeling both excited and apprehensive on my first day on campus. The world was navigating the ongoing impact of COVID-19, and the last time I experienced academic study was 24 years earlier during my undergraduate degree. With such a long gap, I suppose it was natural to wonder whether I’d still got it in me to accomplish greater academic achievement, but we must all step outside of our comfort zone to take advantage of great opportunities, so that’s exactly what I did.

Why did you choose to study the MSc Psychology (Conversion) degree?

I’ve always had a fascination for understanding why people think and behave the way they do. Studying for an MSc Psychology (Conversion) degree was a natural step for me to gain an academic grounding for the purpose of enhancing the learning and development services I provide for organisations; I help leaders and teams to enhance performance and fulfil their work-life potential by improving communication, achieving greater collaboration and increasing productivity. I also viewed the course as an opportunity to reflect on and inform my own career aspirations in organisational psychology.

How did you find studying at Chester?

I spent ages researching and writing my first assignment with self-doubt knocking at my door. However, as the deadline date approached, I found myself working through the night into the early hours of the morning to finish that essay. I must caution that I would not recommend this approach to any student – it’s not good for our health and wellbeing. Thankfully, I had a word with myself, revised my strategies for study and assignment writing, and decided to simply do my best rather than listen to unhelpful self-doubt.

In my first semester, I remember feeling more confident after getting my first essay results. Then, during my third assignment (second laboratory report), I had an epiphany. Brilliantly, as part of the curriculum, we were given a research project that explored how graduates socially construct their transitions to postgraduate life. I discovered MSc students were experiencing similar and different journeys, but all described personal challenges whilst making the transition. The assignment helped me and other fellow MSc Psychology (Conversion) students to normalise our experiences and gain greater self-efficacy. So, let’s just say I wasn’t surprised to learn that the University of Chester was nominated and placed in the top three in the UK for Lecturers and Teaching Quality in the 2023 Whatuni Student Choice Awards (WUSCA’s). My experience also reflects the sentiments of that award.

Were there any surprise highlights?

My most significant discovery was my love for researching thought and behaviour across different branches of psychology. The supervision guidance I received for my dissertation was first class; it honed my researching skills and practice, and cemented my interest in organisational psychology. I am now proficient in conducting ethical end-to-end psychological research in real world settings using complex hypotheses, which require deeper critical thinking, reflection and evaluation skills.

How were you supported during the course?

The support I received was fantastic. Every question I asked was met with enthusiasm, encouragement and reassurance from lecturers. The personalised guidance and support offered in draft reading sessions also provided constructive feedback and helped me to improve the quality of my submitted work. I instantly felt part of the University community and always felt supported by my lecturers, the Learning and Information Services team and my University friends. It was also good to know other support services were on hand should I need them, e.g., Student Support and Wellbeing and Careers and Employability.

What are you up to now?

After graduating, I wanted to build on the results of my dissertation, which looked at: The Relationships Between Follower Psychological Empowerment; Leader Motivating Language and Emotional Contagion as Potential Predictors of Self Leadership; and Organisational Citizenship Behaviour in Leaders and Employees. I dreamed of going back to university to study for a PhD to further my research interests and began looking for potential avenues to realise that dream. An opportunity emerged in June 2023, and I submitted a PhD Research Proposal to the Institute of Work Psychology at Sheffield University Management School. Six weeks later, I was successful in that application securing a fully funded PhD studentship. My journey began on 1 October and the focus of the study will be looking at How to Make Speaking Up in the Workplace More Effective: Exploring the Use of Interventions. I’m excited about the future. Having the opportunity to conduct research that will help make a positive difference in the lived experiences of leaders and their teams is truly a dream come true.

My learning experience at the University of Chester prepared me for my next academic adventure for which I will be eternally grateful. I remain part of the community of the University of Chester Alumni – a global community of over 90,000 University of Chester graduates – and am already enjoying the benefits that membership offers.

If you are an MSc Psychology (Conversion) student and are interested in hearing more about my experiences to explore your own PhD opportunities, you can contact me through the LinkedIn University of Chester School of Psychology Alumni page.

Share this content