Psychology Personal Statement

Every day in my immediate surroundings I am intrigued by the decisions of people around me, whether it's choices in lifestyle, social interactions or ambitions.

I am fascinated by the different factors, ranging from events to thought processes, which have led them make particular decisions. My gap year is being spent studying psychology through textbooks and internet resources, to ensure that I will be ready for undergraduate study.

My passion for helping people will be well-directed in psychology as I believe that if we can get a better understanding of how our brains work, we are better suited to create viable solutions to some of the major problems in the world.

A volunteering trip to Zambia, helping to build a school, made me aware of some of the bigger problems in the world and has given me the motivation to use research to help tackle these problems.

Kahneman's research of Prospect Theory and the Endowment Effect raises many exciting questions about the biological and social influences on our personal economics and explains how people are hard-wired as they develop to be more selfish.

However, in a TED talk, Dan Gilbert found counter-intuitive research that spending money on others was the best way to use money in order to make us happy. Both of these studies can be used to help us make better choices with our wealth and relieve suffering around the world.

From a young age, I have been interested in the relationship between behaviour and mental well-being. I enjoyed reading Nathaniel Branden's "The 6 Pillars of Self-Esteem" and also the work into cognitive behavioural therapy, especially Beck's ideas about errors in logic and the cognitive triad. This work suggests the relationship is reciprocal and we have the power to break negative cycles in thoughts and behaviours.

The only intimate psychology you can experience is your own. I believe there is great knowledge to be gained through introspection and awareness. Having delved into the nature of my thoughts, motivations and identity, I have developed a better understanding of my own psychology and have used it to make better choices in my lifestyle, social interactions and ambitions.

During sixth form I began to take proactive action in my self-development. I became a mentor to a year seven student and ran GCSE Chemistry revision sessions.

These required sacrifice but were ultimately rewarding and helped me grow in responsibility and leadership skills. I also entered with a team from my school into the Target 2.0 challenge, a self-directed project researching the economy and giving an oral presentation of our ideas to a panel from the Bank of England.

Outside of school, I maintain a high level of physical health through running, cycling and weight training.

Also, I have been employed since Year 11; from working with children at a swim school, to working in various retailers. The skills I have had to learn whilst working; interacting with colleagues and customers, have given me a lot of real-world experience and helped me grow in self-efficacy and confidence.

Last year, a few friends and I independently planned and funded a three-week trip around Europe. We experienced a wide variety of cultures and the discipline required has better prepared me for independent living. Along with studying, I am now working full-time to raise funds to travel around South East Asia in June 2016.

The combination of work and study has helped me grow substantially in confidence, work ethic and time management. Working towards such a large goal has taught me a lot about how self-discipline can lead to many improvements in all areas of my life and it is helping me become a well-rounded person.

Overall, this combination of academic and real-world experience has enabled me to grow in maturity and I believe I am well equipped to take on the challenge of undergraduate study and research, leading to postgraduate options and a career in psychological research.

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Author's Comments

I achieved BBB at A-level. Below are my choices, their grade boundaries and a Y or N for whether they accepted or not. I took a gap year so all offers were unconditional.

University of Sussex (Psychology with Neuroscience), AAA-AAB, Y. (My choice)
University of Essex (With Year Abroad), ABB-BBB, Y.
University of East Anglia (With Year Abroad), ABB, Y.
Nottingham Trent University (With Placement Year), BBB, Y.
University of Kent, AAB, N. Offered social sciences instead.

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