Tuesday, 8 May 2012

We don't need no education...

I went to a girl’s grammar school in Surrey and stayed there through sixth form (A-Levels). I liked that school, but felt more comfortable as I progressed through the years. Starting at an all-girl school was terrifying (mainly due to my year seven form tutor), and the school was quite traditional in that you had to stand up whenever a teacher came into the room and wear a thick blue kilt which came below the knee. Settling in took me a good few years.

Choosing a degree subject was tricky as I’d never been a ‘life-planner’ and find it difficult to look long-term. I didn’t have a clue at 17/18 what I wanted to become in the future - I was thinking perhaps a teacher or journalist, so I thought the logical choice was to continue with the subjects I was good at and enjoyed which, at the time, were Psychology and Maths.

I chose these for different reasons - Psychology I enjoyed because the teacher was fantastic, whereas Maths seemed to fit with the way my brain works. Yes I found it difficult, but never had trouble grasping the concepts (like algebra) like many people do. I quite like the abstract nature of it!

A joint honours degree in Psychology and Maths isn’t common, and there were about four universities which offered it. The Birmingham campus I just remember being really ‘grey’, so I chose Reading, which was far enough away from home to move there, but close enough to visit home every so often. I think I only put two options on my UCAS form, so it was lucky I got the grades!

So I spent a year on the joint honours course, and it was fine, but I found that the subjects didn’t really mesh well together. Joint honours degrees are tricky as you invariably end up doing about 60% of each full degree, and you need to be able to constantly switch your mindset from one subject to the other. I found Psychology a lot closer to biology than I was expecting, which I didn’t really enjoy so I thought I’d see which set of first-year exams I performed better in. It turns out I did better in Maths, so decided to transfer to the single-honours degree.

I can say for certain that I made the right decision as I really enjoyed the rest of my degree and left with a first class degree in ‘06.

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