Q&A with Psychology student Nicholas Burridge

UQ School of Psychology student Nicholas Burridge shares his experience studying at UQ for National Psychology week.

What drew you to studying psychology?         

Since I was young, I had always been fascinated by the brain and the influences of mental health and how different therapies change our way of thinking. I was a psychology fanatic and wrote my first naïve but heart-felt ‘Mental First Aid’ book at the age of 16 with the idea of helping people who were suffering with mental health. I have always dreamed of making a real difference in people’s lives, by helping them to overcome adversity, increase their well-being and realize their full potential and studying psychology and pursuing a career in the area was the way to achieve this.

Why did you choose UQ to study psychology?

UQ’s reputation for excellence and the established nature of the psychology program was a big draw card. I wanted to learn in depth about current issues and research, and UQ’s internationally recognized staff and academics provided this opportunity.
The psychology program at UQ also provided a wonderful opportunity to develop my professional skills and knowledge which enabled me to build competence and confidence in my psychological understandings.

What have you enjoyed most about your program?

Though it was the most challenging, I without a doubt enjoyed my honours project the most. To me, there was a limitless potential to explore what I wanted, but to also finally call some research “my own”. I recognised tutors from my past subjects that I had loved being taught by. My honours year has allowed me to investigate topics to a much deeper level and experience the thrill of original research.

What does a day in the life of a psychology student look like?

A usual day as a psychology student does not differ much from any other type of university student. Subjects have lectures and tutorials, though practical application does not come until later in the degree. Study would mostly consist of learning theoretical and conceptual concepts and then seeing how it is applicable in the real world. Elective subjects enable you to study topics that are of particular interest to you and that are relevant to the career path you are pursuing.

Tell us about one of your industry placement experiences?

My placement in my honours year was with Character Care, a vibrant psychology and counselling group that offers a wide range of experiences and programs that focuses on confidence development, building self-esteem and resilience with a collaborative approach. The experience with Character Care was very motivating, thought-provoking and extremely rewarding, especially generating conversations to get a client to open up so problems could be identified, and goals established. I was hugely inspired in my time with Character Care and am looking to continue in the psychological counselling field.

What are the most valuable skills you’ve learnt while studying psychology?

The most important skill I have learned in psychology is the ability to critically appraise research and evidence to assess ethics, and reliability and validity of findings and claims. In the modern era, questionable research and findings are all around us and possessing the skills to identifying and challenging misleading information is valuable in all areas of life.

How have your teachers had a positive impact on your studies?

The Psychology program teachers at UQ have provided me with many wonderful opportunities to develop my knowledge, and research and professional skills which will enable me to practice competently and confidently in the field of psychology. Every single lecturer within the UQ program has unmatched levels of wisdom and willingness to share their incredible knowledge with the upcoming generations of psychologists.

How do you feel your studies have best prepared you for your future career, or further study?

I feel fully prepared to take on the challenges of my future career with the knowledge I have gained from my undergraduate degree. I have learned a professional level of theoretical understanding of psychological concepts and their application potential that will allow me to make difference in the world.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to study psychology?

My advice would be to actively seek out examples of how to do things before doing them. DO NOT try to “re-invent the wheel”. It sounds simple, but there can be many fine details that you miss when creating and writing assessments. By reading the guidelines and marking guides and noting the techniques and styles others have demonstrated can save you many marks and improve your work substantially.

Tell us about your involvement in the Sharper Minds project?

The Sharper Minds Project was the basis of my Honours Thesis project that aimed at identifying stressors associated with university life and interactions between them. The results of the research can be used to support university students in overcoming and dealing with mental health problems that arise as they enter university. The program focussed on factors such as study, mood, physical activity, healthy eating, sleep, and social connections and our job was to research and explore the effects of this new intervention through our research. We collected participants for a survey and to participate in a program called “Tuned In”. In particular, I participated in data collection, and advertisement of the project. You can learn more about this on Youtube.

Do you have any plans for next year?

Next year, I have my eyes set on post-graduate study as a Clinical Psychologist or Counsellor. I am aiming as high as possible and am very excited to continue learning in the field of psychology.

Last updated:
1 December 2021