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Celebration. Hurt. Joy. Lessons Learnt From 2023. A Careers In Psychology Podcast Episode.


Celebration. Hurt. Joy. Lessons Learnt From 2023. A Careers In Psychology Podcast Episode.

2023 might have been my best year ever in terms of my future career in clinical psychology, my mental health and my overall quality of life. And as we start to think about 2024 and what we can do to make that year the best year ever, I want to share my lessons learnt from 2023. There'll be a lot of lessons about degrees, aspiring psychologist tips and more. I have 6 areas of 2023 to share with you and I'll do 5 tips that apply to you and your new year for each section. If you're interested in psychology careers, mental health and wanting tips to have a great 2024 then you'll love this podcast episode.


This podcast episode has been sponsored by Careers In Psychology: A Guide To Careers In Clinical Psychology, Forensic Psychology, Business Psychology and More. Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it. Also, you can buy the eBook directly from me at https://www.payhip.com/connorwhiteley 


Overview Of 2023

As I write this podcast episode on 20th December 2023, I have to admit that I have flat out loved this year because it has been incredible and I have loved it. In terms of my personal life, it’s wonderful for a bunch of reasons that I’ll talk about later in the episode, and even as a psychology student I have achieved so much that I never thought would have been possible. Again, I talk more about that later on to.


Also, I have had one of my most productive years ever in terms of writing, podcasting and doing what I love. In fact, I got the Spotify Wrapped report for this podcast earlier in the month and I was very impressed to know we’ve experienced 10% growth in listenership in a single year and there was an extra 500 minutes of content this year compared to 2022. I am really happy with that.


Therefore, in this little overview, I want to take a few minutes to thank all of you wonderful listeners. Because sure, there are times when I think I should just give up the podcast, that thought happens every few months and I do flat out researching and writing up these blog posts. But in all honesty, if you wonderful people didn’t keep listening, didn’t keep sharing the podcast and if you didn’t keep buying my books and support me. Then I would end this podcast because it wouldn’t be a useful way for me to spend my time.


So thank you so much for supporting and listening to the podcast.


In addition, we’ve actually hit a few podcasting miles this year with some landmark episodes. We reached episode 200 of the podcast called Hope. Passion. Wonder. My Psychology Journey So Far. That was a brilliant episode that I loved doing because it was a real landmark one for the podcast considering most podcasts don’t reach 30 episodes. And there were a lot of other landmark podcast episodes that I loved doing but I’m talking about most of them at different things in the episode.


As a result, one thing I will say as a little tip for all of you as we start thinking about 2024, is do what you love. If there is an activity that you would love to do and you haven’t done it, then do it and try it out in 2024. Just make sure what you’re doing with your life is what you want to do and if you’re unhappy about something, then change it in 2024.

As always a massive thank you to you wonderful listeners.


I finished My Undergraduate Psychology Degree

Wow.


Me finishing my undergraduate degree was definitely a highlight of 2023 because it is so nice to get everything done, to graduate and just enjoy being a postgraduate student now. I loved my time at university because it was fun, I met some of the most incredible people in my life and it taught me a lot about myself and the type of person I want to be.


If you want to hear more about my graduation and my university journey then you check out episode 200 again or my graduation-focused podcast episode. It’s called Graduation. A Psychology Ending. A Psychology Beginning.


I’ll admit that I have written in a lot of places about my third year in books that are coming out next year. Yet I will share that I did find submitting my dissertation a little surprising because I was left with a sense of emptiness, because this massive project that I’ve been working on was now done. That was a surprising but great feeling too.


And I think the main reason why my undergraduate was such a highlight of 2023 was because it meant that I had a degree. It meant all the years of hard work and tears meant something and I successfully got a degree. As well as it’s the people I met, the people I forged friendships with and all the different little things these people taught me. It is those things that I love about my degree.


It wasn’t really the education side that I loved, it was the people and how amazing they were.


Therefore, the tips for this section and you’re planning for 2024 includes

·       Make the most of your time at university

·       Be as social and try to make as many friends as possible at university

·       Use the university’s resources because they’re free. This includes learning support services, mental health services, whatever.

·       Don’t be scared of academics. Talk to them and forge professional relationships with them.

·       Take all the opportunities going to university presents you with. Be them research opportunities or social opportunities.


Started My Masters

Another amazing highlight of 2023 was I started my Masters in clinical psychology at the same university where I did my undergraduate at. This was exactly what I needed because of mental health stuff and I have loved it. Sure, we have had a nightmare with our stats lecturers but the university has been brilliant in sorting him out so we actually get good teaching nowadays.

The reason why my Masters has been a highlight is because it reminds me how much I love clinical psychology. I love the theories, I love interacting with other students and I love the university environment. Be it going into a lecture theatre and taking advantage of university Wi-Fi for certain tasks that my home Wi-Fi is too slow for. Or helping out a PhD friend of mine with his research and catching up with him afterwards. Or just enjoying the societies that UK universities offer.


I really, really love university because it is incredible and I know my 2023 wouldn’t have been anywhere near as good if I wasn’t at university. As well as I have made some great friends during my Masters too which I am really grateful for, of course none of them are Masters students themselves or even psychology students but I was only really able to be friends with them because I was at university.


Therefore, my tips in terms of university again for planning your 2024 includes:

·       Enjoy your degree whatever it is as much as you can.

·       Get stuck into discussions as much as you can.

·       Talk and socialise with your fellow Masters’ students.

·       Get work experience on the side (more on that later)

·       Listen to your fellow Masters students because most of them will be filled with interesting stories.


And the discussion tip is actually rather funny because I’m fairly sure I have a reputation in my Masters cohort as the person that is always on their laptop and looking like they aren’t paying attention whatsoever. Then the lecturer will ask a question and I give out a perfect answer that everyone is rather impressed with.


I did enjoy those moments.


And actually, I will miss the social psychology Masters lot because I did have some good discussions with them personally and they are just such nice people. So I will miss them a lot.


Psychology Work Experience 

Some more psychology podcast episodes that proved to be landmark episodes were career-focused because 2023 was definitely a year where I wanted to improve my career in psychology prospects. Since just as a very quick recap, we know you can have all the degrees you want in psychology but without any work experience your ability to get a job is basically 0.


As a result, I did the following podcast episodes and I’ll explain why made 2023 a great year for me:


So getting work experience was a major highlight of 2023 because I got to work with a learning disability team in September and then in October I got to work in a Gender Identity Clinic. You can see my thoughts and feelings and everything I learnt about learning disabilities in the above podcast episode. As well as I do have a lessons learnt post from my Gender Identity Clinic work experience written up but I haven’t produced it.


However, both of these work experiences gave me a lot of wonderful and really useful skills that should definitely help with job applications in the future. For example, these experiences show that I am familiar with the NHS works, that I have experience working with people with a range of mental health conditions and I have multi-disciplinary team Meeting experience. Which I talk a lot more about in my Gender Identity Clinic experience post but I love MDT meetings and experiences. You hear so much about them, you know they’re critical to have experience in because of job descriptions and they are really interesting when you actually participate in one. You get to hear about cases, hear different professionals talk about each case and it is a great learning opportunity.


Therefore, these pieces of work experience will definitely be useful in my future clinical psychology career. And I am really grateful to all the services that allowed me to do this work experience opportunities and it’s great to know that 2023 was the year that I took practical steps to help improve my career prospectus within psychology.


As a result, when it comes to planning for 2024, if you’re interested in work experience then I recommend you:

·       Investigate the job descriptions in your country for the role you want so you can understand what you need to have experience in. This will help you plot your work experience path.

·       Create a list of companies or placements you would like to gain work experience from.

·       Network in case you can get future opportunities from them.

·       Listen or read the podcast episodes above so you can see how work experience opportunities work and how you can get them.

·       Enjoy the work experience and use them as taster sessions for your future psychology career. If you don’t like them, it is better to know now than when you have a job with bills to pay.


Made A Life-Changing Friendship, My Mental Breakdown and Recovery

So far in this podcast episode, we’re focused on the celebration and joy parts of the episode title and to be honest, we are continuing with this theme slightly. Yet we are focusing on the hurt aspect too.


And I cannot help but smile at the fact that I am including my mental breakdown, my trauma and abuse recovery and a life-changing friendship I made this year as reasons why 2023 was possibly the best year of my life.


In addition, to save me rehashing a lot of stuff that I’ve already spoken about on the podcast, if you aren’t entirely clear what my mental breakdown and mental health stuff was about.

Then please check out these podcast episodes:


Anyway, I’m including my mental breakdown and the long mental health road to recovery from a decade of abuse and trauma as reasons why 2023 was amazing, was because of what it led to. Which I focus more on in the next section. Yet when I made that friendship in July/ August 2023 and this former friend convinced (more like begged) me to get professional help for my mental health and my past, I didn’t listen. I just kept using the same strategies as before and when that friendship exploded because of my emotional dependency, it was a brilliant wake-up call. Of course, I hated my life at the time, I was in so much emotional pain and I was in an extremely dark place.


But I will always have a lot of “love” for that friend because even though that friendship ended spectacularly. I know if I hadn’t had made that friendship and enjoyed a brilliant month when we both had a lot of fun and we laughed tons. My life would be just as bad, painful and controlled by my trauma and abuse as it had been for the past decade.


And that friendship meant I needed to effectively take responsibility for my past and I needed to conquer it or change it. Since nowadays I sort of say that you can allow your past to control you, or you can control your past. Like nothing can take away the pain, the trauma and the sheer abuse that I have received for the past decade, but it doesn’t have to control me or define me anymore. I no longer have to feel unsafe in my life and I no longer have to live in fear for my life.


I don’t have to do any of those things anymore.


That is why my mental breakdown, that amazing friendship that ended so badly, and my horrific journey of mental health recovery has made 2023 a brilliant year that I wouldn’t change for the world.


Then to keep in theme with the rest of the podcast episode, my tips or lessons learnt from all this mental health stuff is:

·       Make sure you appreciate people with lived experience because they learn a lot of stuff during their difficulties that apply to clinical psychology.

·       Give yourself time to recover because it always takes longer than you imagine.

·       Do activities that you love and this goes back to activity scheduling.

·       Realise that some friendships and maybe even romantic relationships are “transitional” friendships to get you from one point to another.

·       Be kind to yourself regardless of what happens to you.


Coming Out And Living Authentically

A final group of reasons why 2023 was so amazing and it is worth celebrating was because of the consequences of my mental breakdown. Since the biggest factor was that it made my entire family rally around me, I told them everything about what they had done to me by accident with their homophobia and now everything is a lot, lot better. We can have conversations that we never would have been able to have before August, we can laugh and joke about things that we never would have laughed at before. And I have never felt so much love, support and acceptance in my life and that is an amazing feeling to have.


Of course, there are still family members that don’t accept me but that’s okay because the important family members do.


When I came out as gay on Facebook just so the whole family and my friends knew, I got a lot of love and support. It was great to feel that after the past decade and it meant that I could start to live more authentically and actually find out who I am.


In addition, this year my university’s Outreach department started an LGBT+ Mythbusters programme that involves busting myths about the LGBT+ community and that work I have loved. It gave me a brilliant space to be me, tell other people about my experience in humorous and funny ways that were useful to them and I know a lot of people found hearing about my experiences and how I coped helpful.


In addition, I actually asked out someone for the first time ever and this goes back to the podcast episode I did back in June called How Can LGBT+ Youth Learn To Heal and Thrive? Because in this episode I talk about the second adolescence which is basically when queer adults get a chance to recapture and redo their adolescence. And this was a very important moment for me personally because I am 22 years old and I have never asked someone out, a girl did ask me out in secondary school but I said no for obvious reasons. So the very fact that I felt safe, loved and supported enough in my own life to feel like I could invite someone else into that was absolutely massive.


The friend I asked out said no because I wasn’t their type, which is fine. As we’re still great friends and we’re both accepted that me liking them a lot will just be part of our friendship and it isn’t a problem. 


But I am still really happy that I was able to ask out someone.


Also, as a quick little side note, someone actually flirted with me for the first year in 2023. That was a major moment for me and I actually do want to find that guy again just in case I was a bit judgemental in not thinking about him.


Overall, this is the main reason why I have loved 2023 because it has been the year where after everything I have been through I have finally been able to me, discover who I actually am and just enjoy life a million times more than before.


Therefore, some tips for your 2024 might be:

·       Are you living authentically?

·       If there are any personal goals you want to achieve then try to do them.

·       If there are any personal things you’re been scared about exploring because of the judgement of your family, then explore it yourself.

·       Just live your life in a way that will make you happy.

·       Find social groups and other like-minded people that will accept you without question.


And that last point I do like because that has definitely been a highlight too. I have a good number of social groups filled with other people like me that reflect different aspects of myself and my interests and those people are amazing. I wouldn’t be as great as I am now without the support and social contact that these groups provide.


Conclusion: What Are My Future Plans In 2024?

I’ve given you a lot to think about in 2024 and I know I have a lot of business, writing and podcasting plans for 2024. Yet this is a personal podcast episode, so I suppose I would talk about my personal plans for 2024 including my psychology-related intentions.


In terms of psychology, I really want to get more psychology work experience. I want to work with children and adolescent and I might try to work with Older Adults, but I’m not sure about that. Also, I want to get a part-time psychology-related job or volunteering position in July/ August of 2024 so I can start to build up my clinical experience for the long term.


In addition, because I’m shifting to a part-time Masters degree, which I will talk more about in the future, I want to do more psychology research. I already have a few exciting ideas that I am very passionate about so I am looking forward to them. As well as I know it’s a pipedream but I would love to get an academic publication very late next year.


In terms of my personal life, well I am still going to keep exploring who I really am, I’m going to be building more friendships, continue to be more social and going to more queer events at my university and my other social groups. I’m going to continue to build my social network with a wide range of people and I am just going to be enjoying life.


And I will admit I do want to start dating next year. I want to have a boyfriend or partner by the end of next year because I am in a position in my life where I am safe enough to do that and I think it would be a lot of fun.


So that will be interesting.


However, whatever happens I will still be here writing and podcasting and having a lot of fun along the way. Because 2023 really was a defining year in my life. It truly was the year of celebrations, hurt and joy and I love it. It’s given me 99% of the stuff I have wanted ever since I was a little kid and I am looking forward to continuing the great work I’ve started in this year.

So 2023 was brilliant, my life is brilliant and I cannot wait to see what fun things 2024 brings and I hope all you wonderful listeners join me for the ride.

 

 

I really hope you enjoyed today’s clinical psychology podcast episode.


If you want to learn more, please check out:


Careers In Psychology: A Guide To Careers In Clinical Psychology, Forensic Psychology, Business Psychology and More. Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it. Also, you can buy the eBook directly from me at https://www.payhip.com/connorwhiteley 


Have a great day.


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