Interested in studying psychology? Maynooth University student and our Iraqi Ambassador, Zumredah Ali Al-AliBasha, takes us on her journey through her first year as an undergraduate.

By the age of 15 I already knew what I wanted out of life — I wanted to be a successful psychologist. I wanted to help as many people as possible and make sure that they never felt alone. I chose to follow that dream.

I am currently in my first year of the undergraduate program for Psychology through Arts at Maynooth University. At the start of the year, things were not as I had initially expected. The topics covered were heavily focused on theory and the modules I was assigned were Introduction to Psychology 1: Research Foundations of Psychology, Biological and Developmental Psychology and an Introduction to Practical Experimental Psychology. The first module included the history of psychology, biological studies relevant to psychological conditions such as schizophrenia or use of drugs and Developmental Psychology which focuses on the child and growth. Experimental Psychology focuses on practical reports and psychological testing.  The most interesting part of this module is participating in experiments such as the ones we conducted on change blindness and memory tests.

I am now into my second semester at Maynooth and we are finally starting to get to the core of psychology.  For instance, right now we are studying Social Psychology which involves theories such as social influences, the self concept and attraction between individuals. There is also a huge emphasis on statistics this semester. This is to help us get to grips with test results following future experiments.

two women chatting

Throughout the year I have learned so much about managing my time to keep up to date with assignments and classes. It is so important to be organised. I have put a lot of effort into my studies and my grades and exam results have been excellent so far. It may seem stressful in the beginning but I promise you that it will be worth getting into the habit of working hard straight away. Everything will feel like less of a struggle if you do!

The best study tips I can offer while undertaking a psychology degree are:

  1. Try to attend every lecture. You never know when you might hear something useful.
  2. Always revise your lecture notes before moving on to the next lecture.
  3. Read, read and read! There will always be a list of recommended reading for each module. Be sure to borrow these from the library as early as possible before someone else does.
  4. Use flashcards for the most important things you need to know.
  5. Always check past exam papers — they highlight the questions that are most likely to come up.

You will most likely find an area that interests you the most — for me this was Developmental Psychology. My ultimate goal for the future is to become a children’s psychologist.  I believe that helping children from an early age can contribute to a happier and more successful future for them. One thing I have learned is that the earlier you begin to resolve a conflict, the better the results will be. I am really looking forward to continuing with my studies in psychology. I want to learn more about the human mind and the reasons behind our thoughts and behaviours.

If you have questions about the course, leave a comment.