Psychology student April Dudman

April Dudman

BA Psychology

Tell us a bit about your background…
I grew up as a military child with both parents in the army. I moved around the UK a lot and had a new school almost every 2 years. I moved to Scotland with my dad when I was 16 and the entire school system was so different to what I was used to. After completing my GCSE’s, instead of going on to do A-Level’s, I began a mix of Intermediates, Highers and Advanced Highers. The whole thing was very confusing but also very freeing. The idea that I could finish high school at 17 if I wanted to was exciting.

After doing my last two years of education at a little high school in Fife, I applied to a bunch of universities in Scotland for a course in English Literature. I was desperate to become a teacher at the time, but I didn’t end up getting very close to the grade requirements. Instead I was offered clearing course at Stirling University. I took the offer because I was so desperate to go to University, just like all my friends were doing at the time. I learned a lot in that year, including the fact I hated studying for the sake of being at University. I was desperate to study something that I loved, and I was skilled at. For some reason, Psychology caught my eye.

I think I was really drawn to the idea of understanding people’s behaviour. So, I took a leap of faith and left Stirling after my first year to study a Social Sciences HNC at a college in Glasgow. I didn’t have the grades to re-apply to another university after Stirling and I ended up feeling pretty grateful for the background knowledge in Psychology as it confirmed that it was definitely my passion.
After another year of hard work, I managed to get into my first choice, The University of Strathclyde, with an A in my graded unit (the very first A I had ever had in my academic life!).

Why did you decide to study at the University of Strathclyde?
The choice to apply to The University of Strathclyde was mainly guided by its reputation as a great university. Strathclyde is well known in Scotland to be a high-quality institute with some amazing lecturers and great opportunities attached to its reputation. There are some fantastic societies and sports clubs, a huge range of travel opportunities and study abroad programmes as well as popular academics in a range of departments that teach there. The addition of an undergraduate degree from Strathclyde to my CV was very enticing.

What made you select your course?
Selecting Psychology was a no-brainer in general. It was something I had discovered I had a bit of a knack for at college and a subject that I got excited about learning. The opportunity to study Psychology at Strathclyde was an extra thrill. The Strathclyde psychology department is phenomenal, and they only get better and more of an asset to your university experience the further you progress through the course. They are fantastic at offering a wide range of learning techniques in their teachings, keeping up to date with previous student feedback for their classes and offering more engaging and innovative ways to capture your attention and enhance your learning. The whole experience has done wonders for my dyslexia, helping me to discover ways I learn best and allowing me the confidence to confide in my course leaders and lecturers if there is anything that might make my learning easier and more productive. The psychology department at Strathclyde are very inclusive in that regard, they can’t do enough for their students.

What has been the highlight of your time at Strathclyde so far?
As generic as it might sound, a highlight of my time at Strathclyde has to be meeting my friends! University is a tough challenge and trying to tackle it alone can be really intimidating and a bit stressful. When I was in first and second year of my course I felt a lot older than everyone there. For the majority, it was only an age difference of about two years but mixing with fresh faced school leavers made me feel scared that I wouldn’t have anything in common with anyone. It feels silly now, but at the time I felt awkward and anxious about trying to make friends on my course, so I avoided it. Those first two years were definitely lonely and a bit stressful. Once third year rolled around I plucked up the courage to make conversation with a girl I recognised from the course the year before. She introduced me to her group of friends from first year and it was a total eye-opener. We all started to go to lectures together and meet to study in the library or go for lunch in-between busy schedules. Now we’re really close and its done wonders for my grades to have a whole group of people to study with!

What would be your advice for people considering studying at Strathclyde?
I would say the best advice for anyone thinking of choosing The University of Strathclyde for an undergraduate degree would be use the facilities and the help that the university offer! Don’t be afraid to reach out to the Career Services, the Lifecycle centre, the Disability department, Student Union or the Student Finance Office if you need to. The university can be such a helpful resource and they have a department that can assist you for almost any issue.

Have you joined any clubs or societies while at Strathclyde?
I remember going to the sports fair and the clubs and societies fair in freshers during my very first week at Strathclyde. It was so busy you could barely move for the crowd, but I managed to sign up to Ultimate Frisbee and Yoga. Both were wonderful, but I didn’t keep them up for long. I’m not particularly sporty but I gave it a go and it was a brilliant way to meet people.

What do you hope to do when you complete your course?
My hopes for after university are reasonably simple. I really hope to complete some volunteering as I feel that voluntary work is a great learning experience and a fantastic way to gain training in your chosen area of expertise. I also hope to do some travelling and part-time work relevant to Psychology in the near future. Overall, I’m looking forward to getting out into the working world!