I have gained much within the short five months of clinical placement with City and Hackney Mind (CHM).
Why did you choose to study at City, University of London?
I have always had a fascination for the biological basis of the brain that plays an influential role in shaping our thoughts and behaviours. The MSc Clinical, Social, and Cognitive Neuroscience programme at City, University of London appealed to me as it teaches neuroscience in three different areas, which allowed me to study the subject in greater breadth. Moreover, the Department of Psychology has been credited for having excellent research expertise. I knew that by studying at City, University of London, I would be well supported in both research and learning.
What has been your favourite module and why?
The modules offered in this MSc course were all highly interesting. I especially enjoyed working on my research dissertation. Under the supervision of Dr. Corinna, I was able to study my area of research interest in greater detail and to develop and test the hypotheses. Being able to contribute to science, albeit in a small way, gives me a sense of satisfaction.
What did you gain from completing a placement at MIND? Why did you go and how did you find the process of arranging it?
The opportunity to work with City and Hackney Mind (CHM) as a clinical placement student was a great privilege to me. I wanted greater knowledge and experience of working with people with mental health needs and CHM was the perfect place for me to gain that exposure.
I have gained much within the short five months of clinical placement. The biggest lesson I learnt was that giving professional help to people with mental health needs is a demanding but rewarding job. Dealing with clients with high needs on a constant basis is extremely draining, but with passion and the right training, the work of a practitioner will go a long way to impact lives of many others.
As a non-profit organization, CHM is restricted with budgeting and manpower; hence the process of arranging was lengthier than desired. Nonetheless, the passionate colleagues that I worked with had helped create a valuable clinical placement experience for me.
Has your placement at MIND enhanced your experience on the course.
I was given the opportunity to design and lead a confidence course for youths with mental health needs during the placement at CHM. This cherished experience of teaching allowed me to share snippets of the neuroscience knowledge I have gained through the course. The students have also fed back that they have found the course engaging and helpful. The ability of being able to translate learnt materials in the course to practical lessons has certainly enhanced my experience.
How has your placement at MIND helped you in terms of work post-graduation?
While working at CHM, I shadowed my colleagues during assessments, made numerous reminders and check-in calls to clients, and assisted in evaluating the progress of clients’ mental health. As I am planning to work as an Assistant Clinical Psychologist post-graduation, this invaluable experience of direct client contact would serve as a great advantage as I apply for positions in the field of Clinical Psychology.
What has been your biggest challenge whilst studying at City?
As an overseas student to study in the UK for the first time, starting an MSc course in an unfamiliar environment was especially daunting to me. Thankfully, the course administrator has been very helpful in answering queries regarding the course. The classmates also became an important support for me, as I eased into the course.
If you could give one piece of advice to a prospective City Clinical Social and Cognitive Neuroscience student, what would it be?
Do what you can, with what you have, at where you are. City, University of London has many dedicated professors with great proficiency, who are more than happy to help students understand and learn. Approach them and get as much from them as possible. As students, you may feel underpowered. However, as you remain hardworking and focused, opportunities will come your way. Last but not least, make friends that will help make the challenging MSc course much more endearing!
What do you plan to do after you graduate?
I have several plans, one of which is to continue working at CHM to gain further clinical experience necessary for a place into the Doctorate of Clinical Psychology programme.