Saturday, February 26, 2011

Allocation day

We had been given a broad time frame for when we would find out who our supervisor was. So, it took me completely by surprise when mere days after preference submission I read the announcement that the allocations were up. With a pounding heart, excitement and impatience reminiscent of receiving my year 12 results, I waited for the allocations to load. I frantically scanned through the list, past friends' names, until I found my own. I had been allocated my first preference. I was elated!

The next step was to contact my supervisor and see where my honours journey would go from there.

The hunt

Once the hunt for supervisors began, honours students could be spied pacing round the psychology floor, searching for the right office, and discussing in huddles who had interviewed whom. Ordinarily the prospect of asking a professor a question in a crowded lecture hall or after class wouldn't have phased me. However, even I was incredibly nervous. Luckily, I started my search with a  particularly friendly supervisor.

Now that this process is behind me I know I am lucky to have had the opportunity to meet with potential supervisors. Each meeting gave me a new perspective about the honours process.

For anyone about to embark on their own supervisor hunt, good luck and here are five ideas that you might like to consider:
  1. If your potential supervisors haven't specified any particular projects, coming up with at least two broad ideas is wise, just in case one is not feasible.
  2. Read the recommended readings
  3. Visit more supervisors than you have preferences, to ensure more flexibility at decision time.
  4. Have some idea about what you want in a supervisor and project and discuss their supervisory style
  5. If you have further questions, follow them up with an email or subsequent meeting
Good hunting

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Calm Before the Storm

Happy New Year! My Honours year officially begins with our introductory meeting next week. I am feeling excited, but a little nervous. Honours year really is the great unknown. Everyone I have spoken to has said it is hardest year in psychology but also the most rewarding. Personally, I just want to start and find out what it is all about! 

In my last post I mentioned that I had planned to peruse my statistics notes. That hasn't happened! But I am on my holidays after all. I have however, been reading up on various areas of psychology like autism, children with disabilities and their parents. Unfortunately, a feasible thesis topic has yet to jump out at me. I am sure the introductory meeting and talking to supervisors will soon change this though.

Ideally I will find an original topic that I have an interest in that can also be explored using first year psychology students as participants. My perfect supervisor would be approachable, accessible, knowledgeable and patient with my statistics questions. I am reasonably proficient with statistics but I still like to ask lots of questions and get some reassurance because I do tend to tie myself up in knots every once in a while. I'm sure anyone out there reading this who has studied psychology understands where I am coming from. Keep your fingers crossed I get my wish list please!

In my quest to come up with potential thesis project ideas I've been enjoying reading Oliver Sacks' "Musicophilia." It's a great account of the relationship between music and the brain, and just as good as "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat." For the uninitiated, Sacks' books present case studies about people with various neurological disorders; everything from Autism to Tourette's. They give you an insight into different conditions and what the world looks like from a patients' perspective, posing some interesting questions. I would definitely recommend adding Oliver Sacks to your reading  list. You don't need to be studying psychology or neurology to enjoy them and you can probably find them in your local library. Reading Musicophilia has been a nice way to take a break from reading journal articles whilst still learning about psychology.

Until next time..