Psychology alumna Rebecca Pfaff tells us why she came to Kent, her favourite memories and how her degree in Psychology prepared her for her career as an NHS Assistant Psychologist
Why did you choose Kent?
I firstly chose Kent for the city of Canterbury. Canterbury had a really safe and homely feel to it, and I liked that there were other universities in the city so there are plenty of students around. However, I also chose Kent for practical reasons; it was high up in the league tables, and it was a good distance away from my home town for me. I was also completely sold on how great the campus was – I loved that everything you needed was on campus; supermarkets, library, cafes, bars, clubs etc.
What do you wish you’d have known before University?
I wish I’d have been told the benefits of a placement year or a year abroad. Particularly for my course, jobs can be so competitive once you’ve graduated and I know that if I’d have done a placement year, it would have boosted my CV more.
What was your favourite thing about campus?
This is a really hard question because there are loads of great things about Kent campus! I loved having places like K Bar in my uni building, because it was just a nice place to meet friends at lunch or after lectures. I also thoroughly enjoyed having noodle vans parked up on campus; it made for a really easy lunch or dinner after lectures. As well, the library was somewhere I would go to a lot and I feel like Kent’s library was always such a nice place to be. There were so many different areas depending on what you needed at the time, and lots of cafes to go to.
What was your favourite thing about Canterbury?
I just enjoyed all of Canterbury town – there are so many cute cafes hidden away down the cobbled streets so I loved just wandering around there.
Did you work PT alongside your studies?
I did work part-time alongside my studies – I got a job with Kent Union and worked as a Barista in the Library Café. This job was very flexible with hours and most staff were other students, so the balance of this work alongside my studies was really easy. I believe I only had to work 4 hours a week minimum. I could choose shifts in and around my lectures really easily, but could also swap shifts with other students depending on workload and exams if needed. I would highly recommend getting a job like this!
Did you join any sports or societies?
I joined Kent Cheer in my second year, mainly to try something new! I’m quite a shy person however so didn’t want to join in any competitions, but Cheer allowed for this. It was a really great way of making friends and keeping involved in events. I’d definitely recommend joining sports or societies when at uni as it’s a great opportunity to try something new that you don’t tend to get once graduated.
What is your current role and how did you get that role?
I currently work in the NHS as an Assistant Psychologist in the Looked After Children’s Mental Health Team. As I mentioned earlier, I wish I had chosen to do a placement year as I think that would have made my journey into this role a lot shorter than it has been! Once I graduated from Kent, I moved on to do a MSc in Clinical Psychology at University of Sussex. Whilst I was studying here, I worked part-time on the Bank in the NHS in various roles: healthcare assistant on a mental health inpatient ward, admin assistant for the crisis team, and as a research assistant. I also volunteered for the charity Young Minds working on the parent helpline. Once I graduated from my MSc, I got a full-time job as a research assistant and worked there for a year. And then after many applications to various different Assistant Psychologist roles, I succeeded, and have currently been in this role now for just over 2 years.
What about your time at Kent prepared you for your chosen career?
The psychology course at Kent really was a great foundation to many aspects of psychology, and it gave me insight as to what particular part of psychology I wanted to work in. For example, my favourite modules were child development, and mental health/clinical psychology, so this helped direct me towards assistant psychologist jobs within CAMHS.
What skills did you gain at the University, not just from your course e.g. through volunteering?
University gave me so much more confidence in myself and in social situations. There are lots of opportunities to meet new people and I feel like it helped me develop the social skills that I have today within my work and personal life.
What advice would you give to incoming or current students?
Enjoy it! And take every opportunity you can – whether that’s part-time work, joining a new society, learning a new skill or sport, or doing a placement year.
Finally, what’s your best memory of studying at Kent?
I was lucky enough to make friends for life whilst studying at Kent, so these people will always be my best memory. Kent is just such a friendly and familiar place for me now so I will always have fond memories as a whole.