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Case Study

Alexandra Mitchell

Washington, UK

BSc (Hons) Psychology with Counselling

After feeling isolated studying for a psychology degree completely online, Alex realised how difficult she found studying remotely and decided to study at Sunderland after hearing about the support on offer.

A few years ago, I underwent an online psychology degree, while studying I found the course isolating not having anyone to talk to or bounce ideas off. In 2019 something just clicked within me and I realised I needed input from other people and that’s when I decided I needed to apply to a ‘brick built’ university.

Both my parents work at the University of Sunderland, so I knew a lot about its values already. These are values that I agreed with, so I applied to study Psychology with Counselling after previously taking a counselling module in my online degree and loved it; it made sense to apply for this specific course after that positive experience.

My favourite part of the course has been the people; both the staff and students are supportive, courageous, uplifting, heartwarming, non-judgmental and friendly, and I’m so grateful to have met them. Sometimes, every now and then, we may meet someone who you know that, even if you part ways, they’ll stay with you for a long time; the insights they shared with you, a word of wisdom, their caring nature – something sticks and that is how you remember that person. My journey studying Psychology with Counselling has been full of those people, people whos’ words of wisdom and kindness I will carry with me for years, I’ve no doubt. The course has been amazing, and I have learnt so much over the past three years, but the thing that has really made this special for me is the safe, caring environment that the lecturers created for us to help us learn the topic and more about who we are.

The one piece of advice I would give to people is don’t feel pressure to go straight to university once you turn 18 years old. I didn’t start at the University until I was 23 and I needed to wait until then, I needed that internal moment of ‘oh, this is what I need to do next for my future’ and that did not happen for me when I was 18. I think had I attended university when I was 18, I would not have fully realised the importance of the experience of university, nor had I enough understanding of myself and who I want to be to even choose the right course for me. So, please do not feel pressure, you will know when the time is right for you.

Pick the course you care and are passionate about. When you have five or more deadlines all due within the same month and you are tired, it’s that interest and that care in not only the subject itself, but what you can take from it, how you could help others with it, that will keep you excited to keep learning.

Embrace the opportunities that being at university provides you, be mindful of your workload to better manage your time, lean into self-growth and make time to practice self-care.

Towards the end of my time studying for my degree, I began a job as a research assistant. I am currently in this role and grateful for the opportunity to learn more and do more within research; I hope to be a researcher myself in the future.

To sum up my experience I would say the University of Sunderland feels like a safe place to be ourselves, to learn about ourselves and to express ourselves. Going to the University of Sunderland is one of the best decisions I have ever made for myself.”

Published 6 June 2022

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