Prison placement opened my eyes

Louise_Waddington, PhD Psych

Award-winning student Louise Waddington, who graduated from the BSc (Hons) Psychology in 2014, picks her favourite moment from the course.

In the second year, you are encouraged to spend some time in a work setting to learn about psychology in every day life. I chose to spend thirty hours in a prison because I was very interested in forensic psychology, and volunteered in the education department, working with people on English and creative writing. (Similar opportunities are available to students through the Psychology Plus scheme.)

The biggest shock to me was how 'normal' the offenders were. I realised had a stereotype of people in prison. I had thought I would be able to recognise 'an offender' just by looking at them. It was a big learning curve for me.

The first day was very scary and intimidating, but I soon got used to it (although I never got used to having to lock every door or being locked in either).The experience was intensely interesting and rewarding, as well as a big eye opener!

In the third and final year, you are encouraged to specialise. This is brilliant because you start to examine aspects of psychology that you are really interested in. For me, this meant projects like interviewing an individual with a disability, evaluating a favourite space for usability, and researching further into the checklists and criteria used in working with offenders and victims.