What should I do next year?

Stuck with your schoolwork? Post any questions or queries here and we'll all try to help.

What should I do next year?

Take a psychology conversion course and work towards becoming a clinical psychologist
4
25%
Take the MA in Theology and Religion
5
31%
Take the MA in Writing, Culture, and Memory
0
No votes
Go and live in the Himalayas with Danni and Sammie and set up a yak farm
5
31%
Other
2
13%
 
Total votes : 16

What should I do next year?

Postby parnassus » Sun Nov 04, 2007 9:15 pm

Next year I will be living in Newcastle with Danni and helping her to care for Sammie. I don't want to give up my study, and there is no reason why I should - Danni will be continuing with her own education and Sammie will be old enough for school by this point, so my daytimes will be relatively free.

Here are my options:

I could take a psychology conversion course with the Open University and work towards becoming a clinical psychologist. One of my biggest interests lies in helping people who are in mental distress, so this could be an ideal path for me to take. However, I wouldn't enjoy the statistical element of the course and I dislike the way people are treated in psychology textbooks. They're presented as if they are collections of symptoms, not human beings. It gets me so dispirited sometimes.

I could apply for a postgraduate degree (MA) in Theology and Religion at Durham University, which is twenty minutes away from Danni on the train. I have a deep and abiding fascination with theology. (It is recorded on my diagnostic report as an autistic obsession.) However, I don't know whether that alone would qualify me for the course, especially as my academic background is English literature. I do stand a chance, especially as one of my dissertations deals specifically with a theological topic.

I could apply for a postgraduate degree (MA) in Writing, Culture, and Memory at Newcastle University. This one looks extremely interesting, and a lot of my undergraduate work has engaged with these very topics.

The MA courses and the psychology conversion course are all one year long. To qualify as a clinical psychologist I would have to undertake three years of training with the NHS after 'converting'. Competition is fierce.

Decision-making time is approaching. Tomorrow I'm going to talk with my old psychology teacher to discuss prospects in this area. I will also discuss things with my Cambridge supervisors. Members of DT are cordially invited to sit on this advisory panel, so let me know what you think.

P.S. I don't know how to farm yaks. Take my skills into account here.
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Postby Steph » Mon Nov 05, 2007 11:04 am

I would go for the MA in Theology and Revision as it will give you an outlet for your obsession as well as be fascinating and worthwhile to learn about.
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Postby Danni » Mon Nov 05, 2007 11:29 am

I quite like the idea of living in the Himalayas. :D

A lack of passports on Sammie and my part may complicate things there though.

Seriously though, I don't know what you should do. Durham is the furthest away, but you'd probably be happiest doing something you really really really like.
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Postby tears_on_a_pillow » Mon Nov 05, 2007 1:38 pm

Theology and Religion sounds a exciting and interesting MA to do. Whatever you decide on I wish you all the luck in the world and look forward to hearing how you get on.
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Postby ~Jenny~ » Mon Nov 05, 2007 4:06 pm

Would it be possibly to apply to all or maybe just two out of the three courses and make your decision later? Or would that make things more complicated?

With the theology and religion course you could email the course organiser (or whoever would be appropriate) and ask them whether they would accept your undergraduate degree?
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Postby parnassus » Tue Nov 06, 2007 12:31 am

~Jenny~ wrote:Would it be possibly to apply to all or maybe just two out of the three courses and make your decision later? Or would that make things more complicated?

With the theology and religion course you could email the course organiser (or whoever would be appropriate) and ask them whether they would accept your undergraduate degree?


That's a sensible plan. I am going to attend a postgraduate open day at Durham to ask questions and to see whether I feel comfortable in the theology department there.

I am going to talk to my old psychology teacher tomorrow about routes into clinical psychology. I will have to take a conversion course or pass a special exam given by the British Psychological Society to qualify for clinical training.

The MA in literary studies appeals to me, even though only one person has voted for it. I am going to show the course outline to my Cambridge supervisor and see what she thinks of it.

That just leaves yak farming to investigate...
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Postby Thirteen-thirty-seven » Tue Nov 06, 2007 12:31 pm

I think maybe you should contact someone who runs those courses and ask for the email address of a current student. They would be able to give you more information on what the corses are like from a student perspective.
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:)

Postby k9ruby » Tue Nov 06, 2007 6:46 pm

Take a psychology conversion course and work towards becoming a clinical psychologist


I would say this one as you are interested in the topic and care about helping people so much. :D
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Re: :)

Postby parnassus » Thu Nov 08, 2007 2:38 pm

k9ruby wrote:
Take a psychology conversion course and work towards becoming a clinical psychologist


I would say this one as you are interested in the topic and care about helping people so much. :D


The only difficulty with that is that I have a very poor background in the sciences. I got a high A grade overall for my A-Level psychology, but I have weaknesses within the subject area. For the physiology module I got a middling B, which I really had to work for - I don't have any knowledge of chemistry or biology. For the module on stats and research methods I just scraped a B. This is a big area of concern, as I have dyscalculia in addition to my dyspraxia. Maths is incredibly difficult. My psychology teacher took pity on me and gave me some help when I was compiling the statistics for my coursework, as I kept writing the numbers round the wrong way, adding up instead of dividing, etc. I got an A on the coursework, but that was largely because of the originality of my idea and the depth of my qualitative analysis, not because of any great mathematical skill.

Given what I would like to do with my life, knowledge of statistics isn't that important. I don't intend to be a research psychologist. I may have good ideas, but I lack the ability to organise and interpret complex data. I want to work directly with people who are hurting mentally and try to do my best for them. But to reach this point, I would have to pass the stats part of the conversion course (difficult, but not impossible) and then work as an assistant psychologist (usually in a research department) to improve my chances of being selected for clinical training.

This is where the problem comes in. Even basic secretarial work (typing up figures and other stats) would be difficult for me, as I wouldn't be able to take hours over it and make sure that I had each number down correctly. My brain mistakes sixes for nines and threes for eights. As I will never have to prescribe medicine, as a doctor or a psychiatrist would do, my dyscalculia wouldn't be dangerous in this setting. But it would be very frustrating and inconvenient.

However, I'm not easily defeated. :P I am going to write to the Open University about my learning difficulties and discover more about what the conversion course involves.
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Postby Thirteen-thirty-seven » Thu Nov 08, 2007 4:52 pm

Vicky, anyone who denied you are intelligent and determined would either be very stupid or have a death wish. I am sure you're intellectually capable of passing the psychology course and that you would work hard enough to overcome your Maths difficuties.

However, I know your organisational difficulties are pretty severe as well as your dyscalculia. I know the Open University was founded to help people who more traditional Universities had overlooked, so they should have a good track record on disabilities. However, there's only so much organisational support a University with no physical campus can give. This is worth taking into account. It also might have a few hidden expenses - if there's no physical library, you'll have to buy every single book you need.

The OU would have some advantages over a campus-based University, however, in that you wouldn't have to deal with your fear of crowds in lecture halls, or find your way around. Yu may find talking to your tutors by email easier than discussing things face-to-face (or you may not, especially as it will deny you the opportunity to give them interesting nicknames based on their hairstyles and similar.)

It's important to think about which course will make you grow as a person. A few nights ago, you were talking to me about how education helps us to understand people and the world. This might sound a bit pretentious, but you need a course that will speak to your soul. I don't mean by this that you should necessarily go for theology. I mean that you should think about what will make you grow. That is different for every person. Some people have told me their souls are growing when they're looking at little bits of spinach under a microscope. Souls are funny things.

Having said all this stuff about spiritual growth, I also think it might be worth your while being a bit hard-headed and comparing the course fees (and other expenses - I should imagine that travelling to Durham and back all the time will be quite costly, if you choose that course.) Sit down with your (conveniently non-dyscalculic) parents and work out what you can afford.

Do you know anyone who did a postgrad course at either Newcastle or Durham? Do you know anyone who's done an OU postgrad course? These are good people to ask for advice.
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Re: :)

Postby k9ruby » Thu Nov 08, 2007 7:13 pm

parnassus wrote:
k9ruby wrote:
Take a psychology conversion course and work towards becoming a clinical psychologist


I would say this one as you are interested in the topic and care about helping people so much. :D


The only difficulty with that is that I have a very poor background in the sciences. I got a high A grade overall for my A-Level psychology, but I have weaknesses within the subject area. For the physiology module I got a middling B, which I really had to work for - I don't have any knowledge of chemistry or biology. For the module on stats and research methods I just scraped a B. This is a big area of concern, as I have dyscalculia in addition to my dyspraxia. Maths is incredibly difficult. My psychology teacher took pity on me and gave me some help when I was compiling the statistics for my coursework, as I kept writing the numbers round the wrong way, adding up instead of dividing, etc. I got an A on the coursework, but that was largely because of the originality of my idea and the depth of my qualitative analysis, not because of any great mathematical skill.

Given what I would like to do with my life, knowledge of statistics isn't that important. I don't intend to be a research psychologist. I may have good ideas, but I lack the ability to organise and interpret complex data. I want to work directly with people who are hurting mentally and try to do my best for them. But to reach this point, I would have to pass the stats part of the conversion course (difficult, but not impossible) and then work as an assistant psychologist (usually in a research department) to improve my chances of being selected for clinical training.

This is where the problem comes in. Even basic secretarial work (typing up figures and other stats) would be difficult for me, as I wouldn't be able to take hours over it and make sure that I had each number down correctly. My brain mistakes sixes for nines and threes for eights. As I will never have to prescribe medicine, as a doctor or a psychiatrist would do, my dyscalculia wouldn't be dangerous in this setting. But it would be very frustrating and inconvenient.

However, I'm not easily defeated. :P I am going to write to the Open University about my learning difficulties and discover more about what the conversion course involves.


Very true...I guess I haven't took the course so I can't exactly say :)

My advice? Go with your instincts!
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Postby parnassus » Thu Nov 08, 2007 7:45 pm

My instincts think that now would be a nice time to snuggle down in bed.

And it's only quarter to eight in the evening. :?
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hehe

Postby k9ruby » Fri Nov 09, 2007 9:04 pm

My instincts think that now would be a nice time to snuggle down in bed.

And it's only quarter to eight in the evening. Confused


Hehehe...

Whatever you choose Vicky, I'm sure you will be successful in it. Good luck to whatever you choose!

(Even if it is to snuggle down in bed!! :P )
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Postby parnassus » Fri Nov 16, 2007 8:52 pm

I am no closer to a decision. I am leaning towards the MA in Writing, Culture, and Memory at the moment, although there is a chance that I might apply for the integrated PhD programme instead. That is three years long instead of one, but for some reason I don't like the idea of studying for a doctorate as much as I once did.
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Postby Cartouche » Sat Nov 17, 2007 11:08 am

A Doctorate is really a gateway to academia, and whilst it glitters on a CV, it's perhaps a lot of effort that may be better spent doing actually getting work experience. I once planned to head up to PhD level, but I'm now only planning to obtain a Masters in something.

You are a glorious writer. That sounds like a very interesting course, and something I feel you'd excel in.

Durham University does have a Tibet Society, so you'll get still some form of yakdom.
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