Graduate views: Erin Thompson
- Graduated 2008: BSc in Psychology
- Trainee Clinical Psychologist, UCL
Can you tell us a bit about what you're doing now?
I am currently in my second year of training as a Clinical Psychologist at UCL. This is a three-year course leading to a doctoral qualification accredited by the UK's Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and the British Psychological Society (BPS).
How did City help you get to where you are today?
The degree gave me a broad understanding of the discipline, including the development of psychology, the way it interlinks with and compliments other sciences, its clinical application, and the skills needed to undertake research in the field. Having an undergraduate degree in psychology is one of the prerequisites of becoming a clinical psychologist, which is a career I have worked towards and desired for many years.
How did you first develop an interest in psychology?
I enjoyed studying psychology at A-level, which spurred me to read widely on the topic. I was fascinated by so many aspects of psychology, for example the links between brain and behaviour, the nature-nurture debate, and the realm of persistent and pervasive mental health problems.
Why did you choose to study psychology at City?
I was born and bred in London and wanted to go to an inner-London university so that I could study whilst continuing to relish living in a city that is so culturally diverse and exciting. City's Psychology Department has a great reputation (I can see why) and so the decision was easy.
Being in the heart of London had many benefits. Nowhere was ever too far to get to. There was a university gym locally which is where I played in the women's basketball team, and I highly recommend joining a uni sports team. There are a plethora of restaurants, bars and shops nearby, and so staying at the library all day was easily rewarded with local treats.
Were there any lecturers who really inspired you?
Professor James Hampton was an inspiring mentor for me during my time of study at City. He encouraged me to pursue the areas of psychology that I found interesting, and helped me to succeed in publishing my dissertation. His warm and positive nature created an environment in which it was enjoyable to learn.
What was your favourite topic or module?
I always enjoy learning about social psychology, e.g. what leads people to be altruistic, to surrender to authority, and to lose their identity in a crowd. However, conducting my dissertation was my favourite part of the whole degree. It allowed me to be independent in exploring an area of psychology that I found interesting. Conducting a psychology experiment that I had researched on my own behalf made me feel like a psychologist, which is not a feeling you often get sitting in a lecture theatre.
What are your longer-term career plans?
I aim to work as a Clinical Psychologist in the NHS, and I thank City for maintaining my interest in psychology and teaching me research skills. My degree helped me get my first job in psychology as a research assistant. This led on to me gaining research and clinical experience, which helped me get on to my current doctorate course.
Any advice for someone considering this course?
If you find psychology interesting, and want to gain a broad knowledge base of different areas in psychology, this course is for you. If you are interested in joining the course I recommend getting in touch with a tutor on the course and speaking to them about what it involves.