So i'm back at University after 8 years away. After I graduated
in 1996 I was pretty happy to be out of education. The degree had
been a 4 year labour of love and, although I had some academic ambitions, I
couldn't work up the enthusiasm for post grad study.
Now I'm really pleased to be back. Doing psychology is certainly
a change in direction for me but, when I think about it , I guess i've
been studying psychology on and off for a few years now; As i've faced
problems and challenges in my life, I've often turned to people
& books that can help me with new ways to understand how I
think, feel, and act in any given situation. It feels good to put
it on a firm footing at last.
Yesterday I started a course which I will study one day a week for 3
years, 2 modules per semester. The first module is on developmental psychology
which seems to be the study of how our cognitive processes develop from
infancy. This introduced some theories by a chap called Piaget
(who was big on experimenting on his own children) which looked at the
age at which infants understand concepts like "an object still exists
even when we can't see it" and "two objects cannot occupy the same
physical space." (Don't go getting all metaphysical on me
now!) The main thing I took from this was how the results
are so open to interpretation and how the accepted interpretation can
change pretty fast even backwards & forwards!
The afternoons lecture was an overview of the psychology of personality
This introduced 6 different paradigms of how psychologists attempt to
define and understand personality from the biological theorists who
think it's all in the genes to the humanists who think it's all the
fault of our parents! At all times our lecturer Jo Lusher was
keen to instill in us the idea that these things are to be
questioned. At first I was a little impatient to get on with it,
but by the end I found i'd absorbed a great deal and had lots of
questions to ponder about the different theories.
Something I found very comforting was that the lecturer is an active researcher
in this area and spoke briefly about her own work on addictive personality and a
particular gene which seems to be present in many addicts (she
mentioned long allelles but I didn't catch the whole of it). It
seems that the psychology department here has a very active research
portfolio. It also seems a pretty vibrant place to study.
All in all a really good start, a fun day, who could ask for more?