School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Law

Student views

Laura Farrugia

Studying, researching, volunteering – to succeed in psychology, Laura knows she really has to put her mind to it.

Laura Farrugia

BSc (Hons) Psychology

Why did you come to Teesside University?

I originally started a law degree at Northumbria University. Within each lecture, I kept asking why? I soon realised that my questioning approach didn’t fit very well with this subject. When I changed direction and started my psychology degree at Teesside, I instantly knew that I was going to do well and feel comfortable. I settled straight in.

What’s the course like?

I have really enjoyed my degree. We look at everyday behaviour and the reasons behind it – why people think, act, react and interact in certain ways, as individuals and within groups. And we study conflicting theories. I can question everything – in fact I’m now encouraged to ask why!

Which are the best parts?

I particularly relished the optional Clinical and Social Perspectives on Mental Health module.

To get ahead of the game, I conducted some voluntary research for one of my forensic psychology lecturers. I looked at question types and empathy in real-life interviews. And I ran a pilot analysis for some research on people with neurological conditions. I’ve just been asked to extend this study, and I’d love to do more research on mental health issues like schizophrenia and psychosis.

I also wrote an article for Psych-Talk, a journal for student members of The British Psychological Society. I researched involuntary hospitalisation – whether or not it’s a form of social control.

And I did a volunteer placement at Lustrum Vale, an older people's mental health unit in Stockton. I organised group activities for elderly people with dementia and depression. I focused on cognitive stimulation – everyday things that get their minds working.

What next?

I’m busy applying for assistant psychology posts. I’ve just been shortlisted for an educational support worker role. It’s a very competitive field but I’ve done what I can to try to stand out from other applicants – voluntary research, a voluntary placement and submitting articles to be published. My long-term goal is to work within clinical psychology. I hope that by gaining experience as an assistant psychologist I’ll soon be able to study for a three-year Doctorate Clinical Psychology. I’ll definitely be applying to study at Teesside.