my 2.2, my journey so far and the future

The place to ask about degree courses, conversion courses, masters, PhD or other qualifications. Discuss specific courses, their pros and cons, the content, the application process, different institutions, how to fund them, etc. Includes advice if you have a 2:2 and questions on transcripts
miked2006
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my 2.2, my journey so far and the future

Post by miked2006 » Mon Mar 17, 2014 7:39 pm

Hi,

Just thought I’d ask a couple of questions, and hopefully offer a bit of advice along the way.

So, my story.

I had no idea what I wanted to do at school and messed around a lot. I did find Psychology interesting and managed to get 3A’s, so chose to do that at the University of Birmingham.

There I continued my lackadaisical work ethic, barely attending lectures (I think I went to about 2 a term!) and only ever started to look at essays/exams the night before they were due in. I then often worked throughout the night and right up until the deadline, frequently editing/ revising until the very last seconds. I did have quite a few personal issues which I spoke about vaguely with my first tutor, but she very suddenly left and I ended up having three different tutors in two or so years, with whom I barely met and certainly did not want to speak to about my problems. I know it sounds stupid, but I have never been one for talking about my feelings or seeking help for anything which I judged to be making excuses of my own misdoing (which is definitely mostly the case); maybe Psychology for me was a way of talking about others feelings in order to avoid my own.

I do have dyspraxia and was supported in my previous school. However a lack of information and an embarrassment of asking questions (and thus exposing my terrible organisation) meant that apart from extra time during exams, I never actually got the funding for the planning and organisational support that I needed and relied on so heavily before then.

To cut a fairly long story short, I ended up getting a very middle of the road 2.2, which was still probably better than I deserved. I did get 66 in my dissertation. However, I couldn't be too proud, I actually got 71 but lost 5 marks for handing in the paper copy 5 minutes past the deadline due to last minute printer issues (sigh, I absolutely deserved that one). Predictably, I only finished it 7 minutes before the deadline, as all I had written as of 1am that morning was a lousy first draft of my introduction.

This story however isn’t meant to make you feel sorry for me, as stupid as it is, but more to come clean about all of my failings, as it was definitely a necessary process to force me to sort my life out. Yes, I absolutely regret more than anything not going to speak to someone and asking for extensions etc., but what's done is done. The key is reacting quickly and positively, so I found a job as an administrator for a national specialist mental health service, for a fairly well known NHS trust. Showing that I was indeed brighter and harder working than my grades suggested, and after a lot of hinting and asking for psychology-related-tasks which they needed help with, they decided the administrator job was not for me. However, through some sort of miraculously lucky turn of events, they did decide to create a brand new Assistant Psychology/ Research Assistant full time post and placed me in the role temporarily. After later applying for the job with hundreds of others, I managed to not only get the job, but to have also been given a permanent contract.

So, to the present day. I have been here for a year and a half now, getting more research and clinical responsibilities, and I am currently in the process of having an article jointly published. I guess my question is, how good a stead does this stand me in? Yes I feel at the very least I have to do a Masters and I’d love to do a distance one so I could work around my job, although I am not sure whether these are seen in a good light.

I did message UCL and I know they may not be representative of all Doctorate programmes, but they did say an application would be very unlikely to pass their clearing houses, who instantly filter out 2.2’s except in very exceptional circumstances. Are all structures like this? Whilst I am interested in many different branches of Psychology (especially the Kahnemann behavioural side), my real passion definitely lies in Clinical Psychology. After managing to get myself a permanent Assistant role, I feel it would be a shame to not, at least, give this everything, considering the countless opportunities I wasted thus far.

So the main question is, has anyone on here got a 2.2 and an Assistant job and not been able to progress? Or have I already won a large part of the battle?

I have tried to flick through as many posts as I can through a variety of threads, but have not yet found the answer to this specific question, so any help would be incredibly useful and greatly received.

I also really appreciate those of you who have read this, even if you cannot help me.

Thanks again,

Michael

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Re: my 2.2, my journey so far and the future

Post by Alex » Mon Mar 17, 2014 8:14 pm

With a 2:2 you will be going against the tide. Masters is a must and a couple of courses (if not more) will discount you even if you do have a masters. You have done well to get an assistant post but many people have assistant post plus other experience and a 2:1 or 1st. I would have a look at Elizabeth's posts. I hope your 'lackadaisical work ethic' is in the past because the doctorate is hard work! It is not for the work shy.

I don't want to necessarily put you off but it will be very tough. 2:2 in degree is almost like a black mark against you for clinical and some people even with higher degrees like Phd haven't made it on the course. Although I too would be interested to hear any 2:2 success stories.

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Re: my 2.2, my journey so far and the future

Post by Alex » Mon Mar 17, 2014 8:17 pm

I suppose what I trying to say is an assistant psychologist post will be worth nothing if you cannot demonstrate your academic ability through qualification since it is a doctorate.

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Re: my 2.2, my journey so far and the future

Post by ElizabethB » Mon Mar 17, 2014 10:13 pm

Oh dear, I have made a name for myself on this website haven't I, if people can recall my posts! :oops: (I feel like scrubbing away my previous posts and distancing myself from them sometimes! ;) )

Best of luck. Feel free to send PMs if it helps. If you would like further details of my career path, my psychology gradaute jobs and postgrad courses, send me a PM.
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'A door opened and I went through it!' Temple Grandin
"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill

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Re: my 2.2, my journey so far and the future

Post by Spatch » Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:39 am

I guess my question is, how good a stead does this stand me in? Yes I feel at the very least I have to do a Masters and I’d love to do a distance one so I could work around my job, although I am not sure whether these are seen in a good light.

I did message UCL and I know they may not be representative of all Doctorate programmes, but they did say an application would be very unlikely to pass their clearing houses, who instantly filter out 2.2’s except in very exceptional circumstances. Are all structures like this? Whilst I am interested in many different branches of Psychology (especially the Kahnemann behavioural side), my real passion definitely lies in Clinical Psychology. After managing to get myself a permanent Assistant role, I feel it would be a shame to not, at least, give this everything, considering the countless opportunities I wasted thus far.

So the main question is, has anyone on here got a 2.2 and an Assistant job and not been able to progress? Or have I already won a large part of the battle?
Am aware this may be seen as quite harsh, and thought twice about posting, but there are things I think that would be helpful to get out there. There has been quite a lot written already on the forum about fairness of the "2:2" discrimination, its impact on diversity and the injustice of not being able to make up for mistakes, so I am not going to reheat that.

Firstly, there are assistants with similar if not more experience than what you have described who also have 2:1's and 1sts + MScs who have not progressed so, the short answer to your question, yes.

My observations from over the last few years is that while at one point a 2:2 was a fairly common degree, in the last 5 years or so, there are increasing numbers of graduates more of whom are getting 2:1s/ 1sts who you are going to be compared against. Whereas in my generation there was the odd person with a 2:2 getting through to training, I have observed less of this in the last few years. On the contrary, several courses have become far stricter about outright declining such candidates. Other courses have started using screening tests, but I don't think there is any information whether or not this has resulted in a greater number of 2:2s being offered places on those courses, but maybe someone else could advise with this.
Yes, I absolutely regret more than anything not going to speak to someone and asking for extensions etc., but what's done is done
You are absolutely right that the past is the past, and people change, but saying that I do think the prior history of "lacksadaical work ethic" or failure to keep to important deadlines in the past would raise concerns for doctoral level study because the work at undergrad is heavily structured and people bend over backwards to accomodate, whereas doctoral level requires far more self motivation and responsibility. As whoever is making the selection decision is gambling on over a £100,000 worth of training on someones ability to follow through and perform, you can understand why people would very much hold that in mind. If there were two similarly positioned candidates in front of a selector, there would have to be a really good reason why anyone would take a gamble with the one with the spottier history.
The key is reacting quickly and positively, so I found a job as an administrator for a national specialist mental health service, for a fairly well known NHS trust....However, through some sort of miraculously lucky turn of events, they did decide to create a brand new Assistant Psychology/ Research Assistant full time post and placed me in the role temporarily. After later applying for the job with hundreds of others, I managed to not only get the job, but to have also been given a permanent contract.
From a selectors perspective, I think the other issue that candidates frequently fail to consider is the "narrative of employability" - the story behind the experience. In most of the forms one reads, the stories (or "narratives") that stand out are the ones that somehow demonstrate exceptional promise, understanding or performance that clearly distinguish a candidate from their peers. Its the balance of personal agency vs. the events that transpire around us. Despite it being a good thing that you were able to achieve what you have done, and any job in the current climate is a good thing, the narrative here seems rest a lot on luck, incumbency and being in the right place at the right time. It may be worth reflecting on the implications of this.
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Irrelevant Experience: The Secret Diary of an Assistant Psychologist is available at Amazon
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Irrelevant-Expe ... 00EQFE5JW/

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Re: my 2.2, my journey so far and the future

Post by msmc » Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:58 am

I have a 2:2 and this year I have 2 interviews and I am on the reserve list for interview for clinical training!! This is my third year of applying and I graduated from my undergrad degree in 2008. Maybe it has taken me longer because I have a 2:2 but maybe not. Too be honest I have put that to the back of my mind and focused on all the other successes I have had since - a distinction MSc, 3 assistant posts, and 2 publications. I have developed and learnt so much along the way, much more than I ever did during my undergrad! I would say it doesn't matter too much about getting a 2:2 if you keep working hard to show how you will make a great clinical psychologist!! I may not get a place this year but my 2:2 doesn’t appear to have stopped me from getting the opportunity of interview!!

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Re: my 2.2, my journey so far and the future

Post by enid » Tue Mar 18, 2014 12:12 pm

Would it be worth pursuing plan b and then seeing where you are in three years' time, or so? It is probably completely essential that you get an MSc with a distinction, and ideally a published paper from your MSc dissertation, along with lots and lots of reflective learning in your post (for a number of years I would argue). I wouldn't be doing it all JUST to improve your CP application form though, as you could end up disappointed (and skint), so only do the MSc if it's something that would also benefit your plan b path. I think I would argue this across the board actually....options are good, and too narrow a focus on CP isn't always the right (or healthy!) thing.

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Re: my 2.2, my journey so far and the future

Post by miked2006 » Wed Mar 19, 2014 4:59 pm

Hi,

First of all, thank you so much for your honest replies; it is much more refreshing to hear the truth about my options from those on, or alongside, the path. The impression I get is that a Masters certainly are far less weighted than an Undergraduate and that you will probably have to take a PHD to get any sort of equality with a 1st/2.1 undergrad student.

A part of me thinks that the best option to continue this path is to go back to the very beginning, and redo/ do a similar Psychology-linked undergraduate course. This might sound crazy, but I have covered and understand so much more with the papers I am currently writing and the CPD and lectures I currently attend. I genuinely enjoy research now, and I honestly believe I could massively improve my result. The issues that plagued me at University are largely behind me, and unlike in Birmingham, I am now currently always around people who also care about their future, taking various exams and degrees over the next few years, whilst I twiddle my thumbs and read similar books for no reward. I know it is like taking a step back, but with the heavy discriminations against a 2.2, even if I manage to get on a PHD course, it (crazily to me) sounds more of a realistic option than going forwards, even if I am to keep my options open. Has anyone on here gone as far as doing this?

Despite this, and I do mention this in my Assistants Group (to little empathy), but I am not at all tunnel-focussed on getting on the training. I have not made any attempt to apply, nor do I feel I have enough experience to be sure that it is the path for me. I have just worked alongside Clinical Psychologists and have found their work extremely interesting, and was just wondering the feasibility of this as an option, due to three poor years of my life.

I am interested in a variety of directions and options: Educational Psychology, Sports Psychology, Organisational/ Behavioural Psychology (and the implications with Advertising, Marketing etc. including the niche Neuropsychological work that seems to be going on at the moment). Not forgetting Politics, Political Risk, War. Basically anything to do with research on collective or individual thoughts or behaviours, and the implications/ problems/ cognitive biases that may arise from this.

So despite what I said in the second paragraph, I will probably actually do a Masters in a Behavioural/ Economics type course, maybe something linked with advertising, marketing, economics or politics. I wonder if anyone on here has travelled that path before… perhaps not.

Who knows, maybe I’ll be on here in a few years describing a crazy journey, where I ended up as a Clinical Psychologist. If I do, I’ll be sure to let you guys know how I got there.

Thank you so much again, you've been more helpful than I can express.

Michael

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Re: my 2.2, my journey so far and the future

Post by Pink » Thu Mar 20, 2014 8:27 am

Hi Miked,

I've only just seen this thread, and feel really moved to reply. First off, I think it took incredible courage to post what you did, and I wanted to salute that. In a profession full of anxious, competitive perfectionists, it takes real courage to risk vulnerability and criticism, and you did so honestly and bravely.

I am a third year trainee, but I could have written your post six or seven years ago. In my late teens and early twenties I partied hard, got kicked out of one university at the end of second year and had to start again from scratch at another, and barely scraped through that degree with a 2: ii. I emailed all of my 3rd year undergraduate assignments from Ibiza the week before the exam board met to decide my degree classification, having spent a week in an internet cafe while my friends lay beside the pool, trying desperately to figure out perception and cognition (I still do not care about the physics of the inner ear, not even slightly, and i have never needed to know it since) and the underlying mechanisms of 'brain and behaviour' on a Spanish keyboard. I didn't know where the library or the lecture halls were throughout my degree, never submitted an assignment even anything close to on time (I did in the first degree, or within 10 days which was 10% off, but things had got worse by the time of my second attempt at my undergrad), and like you, wrote my thesis in a few hours (way, way after the deadline), and got 68% for it. I took a weird, immature sort of pride in just how much I was screwing up, but the truth is I was so lost, and so frightened, and dealing with a number of big things I couldn't even begin to admit to myself. I was desperately unhappy, but I looked like just another dosser student (if such a creature really exists), who didn't care, and I internalised that-I really believed I was just a lazy, workshy dosser who needed to sort her mess out. I was totally incapable of asking for help, because I didn't even know there was anything wrong, and I wouldn't have believed I deserved it. Student sub-culture allows for some pretty disturbed behaviour to pass unremarked and unnoticed. I was lucky, in that my personal tutor hassled me to turn up to meetings whenever another deadline sailed past without a submission from me, or I wrote nothing in an exam paper but my name, and although I spent these meetings largely staring silently at the floor in an agony of shame (and certainly couldn't tell him what was going on for me-I didn't know myself), he did force me to go to the GP and get a note that allowed me to submit the work later, otherwise I wouldn't have a degree at all. The extent of my denial and lack of self-awareness was such that I really believed that I had 'conned' the GP into giving me a note, by describing my experiences, so felt ashamed of this too.

It's still painful to think about that time, and if I were to assess myself at that time now, I'd be thinking about the function of the avoidance of anything work-related, and the sense of shame which prevented me from speaking to tutors or seeking out help. I'd wonder why a bright young woman who was clearly passionate about her subject and driven was sabotaging herself in this way. I've thought hard about sharing this personal stuff, but decided to because reading your post made me wonder if you had experienced something similar, and I wanted to reach out to you (and perhaps others in the same boat who are reading this), because (despite my personal tutor's help) no-one reached out to me at that time, and I wish they had. It is not normal for someone who is highly intelligent, motivated and skilled to sabotage themselves in this way, and my experience of (now 6) university courses is that there is very little help for chronic procrastinators out there, rather a culture of assuming students are 'work-shy' or 'lackadaisical' (it made me sad that you described yourself in this way) and just need to pull their socks up. Actually, that level of avoidance is a massive interruption of functioning and is symptomatic of high anxiety and distress. If someone were avoiding leaving the house to the extent that I avoided coursework, we'd be offering a course of therapy. The subject of the fear and avoidance is less obvious, but the damage or distress caused is as bad, and as worthy of compassion. Unfortunately it's often met with further shaming.

Your post broke my heart, because (and I admit I might be projecting), I read the same shame masked by humour, the same self-blame masked by dismissive self-mockery. You acknowledged, very bravely I thought, that some of your interest in psychology might stem from a sense that perhaps you were struggling with some of your own demons, and wanted to help others with theirs. I'd imagine, one way or another, that many of us can relate to this, the trope of the 'wounded healer' goes back to Jung. If you can get a handle on these, perhaps through personal therapy, I believe that having that experience lends richness to your practice as a therapist. I have been in therapy for five years now, it is absolutely the reason that I made it on to the clinical course, and it has changed my life and the way I practice as a clinician. I think it should be compulsory personally, for everyone in the world, but particularly for those who want to be therapists. I do believe that we cannot take a client further than we have travelled ourselves.

I realise that Spatch read your story as
Spatch wrote: the narrative here seems rest a lot on luck, incumbency and being in the right place at the right time.
, but I read it differently. I thought this was that classic low self-esteem thing of blaming yourself for all the bad in the world, but being unable to take credit for the good. What I read was a young man who had been miserably unhappy while faced with his degree, but was trying to let go of the past and make the best of things. A young man who had worked hard and sought out a job that allowed him to be close to where his interests and passions lay, despite the massive blow to his self-confidence and hopes and dreams for the future, caused by his 2: ii. A young man who had found in his NHS post that others around him saw his potential, commitment, skills and work ethic, but who still lacked the self-confidence or self-belief to see that good things might have happened because your supervisors see something in you that you don't see, and they want to give you a chance. They haven't created a post for you because of your 'lackadaisical work ethic' you know, why would they bother? I say this because the reason I am on training, despite my abysmal academic record, is because I kept being 'fortunate', others who were in a position to help me saw something in me that I couldn't see in myself, and offered me opportunities. It was only very recently (literally in the last year or so) that I realised this series of mentors who gave me jobs and opportunities did so because they believed in me and wanted to help me,and because I was good at what I did and they saw my potential, not just because they were nice people who would have done that for anyone. That I had created the relationships with them because of my hard work. Faced with an essay, I crumble, but I am skilled and competent at clinical work, and at other aspects of a psychologist's role.

When I got my degree classification I really believed that my dream was over, that I would never be a Clinical Psychologist, and everything I read confirmed this. In a way, this was a good thing, as I spent three years working in a support worker job that I loved, which allowed me to develop all sorts of different skills and strengths, and, away from the sheer bloody misery of studying, I was able to find myself more, to begin to be happy again. I did an evening course, a certificate in counselling skills at that time, and although the essay components were the usual nightmare it strengthened my clinical understanding and passion for the work. On the back of this experience I gained an AP post (even with the 2:ii), and my supervisor there was an awesome woman who believed in me and taught me so much. I guess that's about where you are now. The next stage for me was my MSc, and further NHS clinical experience, and then the Dclin-I chose courses with entrance exams.

My advice to you would be as follows:

a) don't do another undergrad degree, that's just nuts. It's years more of misery that'll costs you thousands of pounds.

b) sit down with a supervisor you have a good relationship with, and ask for a 'personal development' supervision session. Look at your current skills profile, where you are strong, and where you are lacking. Plan how to build in more of what you are lacking (for example, by volunteering on top of your AP post, or taking different roles/shadowing other psychologists/whatever). Grab any opportunities that come your way.

c) Have some personal therapy. Find a clinical psychologist who does EMDR (I know they are expensive, but trust me, it is worth it) and ask them to do some EMDR work around the procrastination. It's the only thing that has worked for me, because it was such a deeply entrenched behaviour with such deep roots. Do some resource installation too, to build your confidence. Be open to wherever this journey takes you.

d) When you are ready, start looking in to clinical masters courses. I did a 'foundations of clinical psychology' MSc, because if I'd had to do a research MSc (as everyone advised) I would have put a pencil through my eye. The clinical MSc was fascinating and played to my strengths, but also allowed me to develop (ha-acquire!) the research knowledge and skills I had missed out on from my undergrad. I have drawn on this MSc every day in my doctorate.

e) Only do the MSc when you are ready, it is not worth paying thousands of pounds just to sabotage yourself again. Take your time on this journey. I got on to training 6 years after my undergrad, and in that time I worked as a support worker and an AP, trained as a therapist in a different model and worked in the NHS, and did a MSc. I also had lots of therapy, did lots of volunteer work, moved around and challenged myself in all sorts of different ways. I learned what I was and am capable of, instead of being smashed up solely against what is really difficult for me, and makes me feel incompetent and worthless.

f) Spatch and everyone else are right. The DClin is really hard work, and every single piece of coursework has been a battle for me, every single one. I'm writing this now instead of doing my thesis! Make sure you are ready to face it, that you really want it, and that you have the support systems you need in place. As I say, for me the mainstay has been my therapist, but also being honest with the course from the outset (I wrote all of the above on my doctorate application form-they knew who I was from the start). Learning to ask for help has been key for me, and offering myself compassion-academic work is the interface of my worst fears and terrors, and memories of past failures, and desperate hopes for the future and the career I love-it's a hell of alot to be riding on 3000 words! For me, every assignment requires as much courage and positive self-talk as walking into a cage of lions would-to be honest I'd probably prefer the lions. This stuff is really, really hard for you, and you're still choosing to face it, be compassionate to yourself about that.

g) Lastly, don't write yourself off!

Good luck Miked, and PM me if you need to, or when it's form-filling time, I'd be very happy to help.

warm wishes,

Pink
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Re: my 2.2, my journey so far and the future

Post by JoR » Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:58 am

I just want to second what Pink has said and how brave you (the OP) have been for being so honest. I hope your journey goes how you would like it to. We are all where we need to be in life at that particular moment. As Jon Kabat Zinn wrote - wherever you go, there you are. We make the best decisions we can at any given time, and you sound like you are doing really well :)

Pink - I was also really moved by your post, your honesty and openness, and just felt I had to post a 'thank you' to you as well. I think when people can be brave enough to share their vulnerabilities this can open up doors not only for themselves but for others reading such posts. Good luck with the rest of your training :)
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Re: my 2.2, my journey so far and the future

Post by Geishawife » Thu Mar 20, 2014 10:00 am

I don't think I could add anything about compensating for a 2:2 that hasn't already been said. To even try in light of Pink's post would seem superfluous. I just want to say, Pink, that post almost brought tears to my eyes! What an incredibly brave, thoughtful and insightful post. I can't begin to imagine how much effort and courage must have gone into telling people this and my respect for you (which was already high!) has increased a hundred fold. What an inspiration!
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Re: my 2.2, my journey so far and the future

Post by msrisotto » Thu Mar 20, 2014 10:13 am

Pink, that was a really moving post. Thank you so much for your honesty and bravery!

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Re: my 2.2, my journey so far and the future

Post by miriam » Thu Mar 20, 2014 2:53 pm

Nice post pink. Whether or not that is what is going on for miked I'm sure lots of people got something helpful out of it.
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Re: my 2.2, my journey so far and the future

Post by lingua_franca » Thu Mar 20, 2014 4:01 pm

I also second what Pink has written (and Pink, I just want to say that with every post I see from you I become even more glad that your'e going to be a clinical psychologist - I think you'll make a fabulous one). I just have a couple of things to add regarding the dyspraxia that Mike mentioned.

I have severe dyspraxia, but as I have it in addition to a more noticeable disability, people tend to gloss over it as the minor issue in my life. It's not. It can be a very pervasive thing. Mike, I noticed you got three As at A-level and then went on to struggle at university. This is a sign that perhaps you are not the lazy article that you present yourself as. People don't go from getting top grades at A-level to struggling at university without reason. This is something that also happened with me. I took six A-levels as I really enjoyed all my subjects and couldn't choose which ones I liked best. I got As in all of them. I went to Cambridge. Once there I found that I would need a very different studying style in order to cope. University success hinges on personal organisation, and for someone who has difficulties with executive function and related skills, this can come as a nasty shock. I ended up feeling so overwhelmed by the organisational aspects of university that I just froze. An example of that frozenness: I lost my room key (for the ninth time!) and borrowed a spare from the porters' lodge. There was a rule that we could only keep spare keys for a certain length of time before paying £13 to have a new one issued. One day a reminder note appeared in my pigeonhole saying that I must return my spare. Dazedly I disregarded it. Another reminder appeared, this one by e-mail. I read the e-mail but did nothing except think vaguely, "Oh yes, key." A note from the Head Porter appeared in my pigeonhole, asking that I go to see him to explain why I hadn't handed back the key. I read it and did plan to go, but when the time came, I forgot. The next thing I know, a note is being pushed under my bedroom door, requesting that I go to see the dean that afternoon. I was in tears, as this was quite a harsh disciplinary measure. And if I procrastinated so much over buying a new key - and the practical mechanics of it really did feel beyond me - you can imagine what I was like with organising my timetable. Like you, I decided it was just laziness, as after all, I'd managed at A-level, hadn't I? So what could it be other than laziness?

Eventually I got some proper support sorted out with the Disability Resource Centre, but my parents had to intervene - I would never have thought to ask for it on my own, as I was so convinced that laziness was the only problem. I ended up scraping a First in my degree (70 exactly) largely due to the fact that I am a bookworm and can retain what I read fairly easily, even though remembering where my lecture was located and prodding myself to turn up was a bit much for me at the time. I was also writing my dissertation on the day it was due in, and I also had marks docked. I have appalling time management and I suffer from perfectionism (I do not use 'suffer' lightly - if I'm not content with my opening paragraph, I really struggle to move beyond it to the next, with the result that I end up with one perfectly polished chapter and three hasty ones). At Master's level I was better prepared, with good coping strategies in place, and that did wonders for my confidence. I got a PhD studentship and was recently appointed as visiting scholar to an overseas research institute, so these days I feel much more sure about myself and my abilities. That confidence rests in part on the acknowledgement that I have certain cognitive weaknesses and I need to take steps to overcome them.

I agree with all of Pink's advice: don't dive into a Master's without preparation. Be sure to choose a course that is right for you and perhaps pay a visit to the student support services beforehand to discuss what help they can offer you with personal organisation. You will qualify for the Disabled Students' Allowance, and that will cover some study skills coaching and mentoring. While you're choosing an MSc, maybe you could try some of the free online courses with Coursera or EdEx just to get you back into the swing of studying again.

Also, don't underestimate the fact that you have got an assistant post - those things are competitive! You obviously do well in interview, so take heart from that. As you seem to be strong on the clinical side of things, it might be advisable to choose an MSc that builds on that. Some are more clinically orientated than others. You could also perhaps talk to your supervisors about getting some research experience within your service. There may be possibilities there.
"Suppose a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?"
"Suppose it didn't," said Pooh, after careful thought.
Piglet was comforted by this.
- A.A. Milne.

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ClaireEmma
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Re: my 2.2, my journey so far and the future

Post by ClaireEmma » Thu Mar 20, 2014 4:33 pm

For what its worth, I did most of an English Literature degree first and then transferred into Psychology because it was what I really wanted to do. This was also at Cambridge, where there are lots of complicated rules about what you need to have done to graduate (all this Part I, PartII A/B business, argh!) so I couldn't just do it as a joint honours and my degree ended up taking a lot longer than it would normally have done and it was really tough. I could have finished my English degree then done a conversion MSc, but I really felt like I had to do it 'properly' and like I had to do it the way most others on the same path would have done it, so that I wouldn't be disadvantaged later, so I do understanding why you are thinking of doing it all again. As a result, I ended up feeling like I was years behind everyone else, all my friends had graduated and started their careers, started actually earning money instead of acquiring more debt and it really was a long hard slog to get to the end of it. I learnt a lot along the way so I wouldn't say I regret it as such, just that it involved huge amounts of time, money and stress.

So I'd agree that extra undergrad studying is not necessarily the best way forward for you (not the mention the expense of an undergraduate degree now, eek!). I noticed that you are considering a distanced learning course so you could keep your job, which may be an affordable way of doing it. I did my postgrad qualification this way because it was the only affordable way and had mixed views really, sometimes it was great and really informative, at other times it didn't feel to me personally, like a very academically rigorous course, but it depends on how you learn and what you want out of it. So I'd take your time to really do your research, perhaps seek out people who have completed it already. Also, some postgraduate courses incorporate placements, so although you wouldn't be paid, you could still be getting useful experience. I guess it depends on your financial circumstances, many courses with placements seem to be full time, but I think I've seen a part-time one somewhere.

Good luck!

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