Ivana Babicova, BSc (Hons) Psychology, 2016

What are you doing now?

Currently, I am preparing for a PhD course which I’m starting mid August! I have managed to secure this place towards the end of May, just after I had finished all my assessments, and since then, I have been doing extensive research into the field of Dementia, which is the area of study for my PhD. Alongside studying and gaining knowledge, I also hold a part time job, to ensure I can support myself over the next three years of my PhD!

What were the main reasons you took that course?

Psychology, specifically the clinical aspects of it, always fascinated me. I loved learning about all the different theories and about different human behaviours, disorders, cognitive processes and more. As a result of reading and being interested in lots of different theories, I wanted to test some for myself through conducting research, and after reading about the course at University of Derby, it became clear to me that I will not only expand my knowledge on very interesting areas of psychology, but also that I will be able to conduct my own research!

Why did you choose to study Psychology at the University of Derby? 

There were several reasons why I chose to study psychology at University of Derby. One of them was that it was close to home, however the most important reason why I made this choice was due to reading about fantastic staff support and guidance at all times.

Going to university was a big step for me, and I knew I would need a lot of support throughout the course, and that’s exactly what University of Derby offered. All the lecturers were extremely supporting and understanding, which helped me become a confident individual. And of course, being able to conduct group research every year was also very eye opening. Of course, we had to follow ethical guidelines, however this not only helped me understand the real researcher world, but also some of the obstacles that come with conducting research, analysing data and writing up reports.

What impact has studying this course at Derby had on your career?

Over the three years I have become so much more confident in myself and in the work I submitted. The course has taught me numerous new skills and helped me grow as a person. I had to learn how to excel at balancing professional, academic and personal life, which is a skill I still use on daily basis. The staff and the course have given me all the right tools to push myself to the limit, and prove to myself that anything is possible. Thanks to this, I was able to construct a grant proposal and fill out several forms and documents in less than 24 hours for a PhD application, which I have managed to secure without a Master’s degree!

How did the lecturers inspire you?

The enthusiasm about their area of expertise was the most inspiring because their ability to talk about their subject areas with ease and confidence gave me motivation and eased uncertainty. Their support and guidance through my degree was essential to my success and attaining my PhD Scholarship. 

How do you feel the University has helped you in your career so far?

The range of module choices in second and third year enabled me to pick areas of psychology which I wanted to pursue my future career in. All my module choices were centred around clinical psychology. This helped me gain wide knowledge in the area, which enabled me to then conduct my dissertation research on topics which link into clinical psychology. Furthermore, I have also found a volunteering opportunity through the university’s Student Employment Agency, with an organisation called Inspirative Arts, which focused on improving quality of life in vulnerable individuals through using Creative Expressive Therapies. This helped me develop new skills, which were essential for job and postgraduate applications. Lastly, the Student Union offers a wide range of societies.

I was a member of the Psychology Society, which enabled me to visit two British Psychological Society (BPS) conferences, and even a visit to Broadmoor Hospital! These trips were very insightful and learning experiences for me.

What are your future plans?

In the next three years I will be studying for my PhD in Dementia, working part time and hopefully also volunteering for a local organisation. I will be conducting several researchers into different areas of Dementia, most of which will be centred around wellbeing and improving quality of life in patients with dementia.

I already have four exciting projects ready for me to work on as soon as I enrol, which will all help me gain further knowledge and understanding in the field of dementia.

What would you say to anyone thinking of coming to study this course at the University of Derby?

University of Derby is an institution which cares about their students. The academic and personal support available by the university has not only helped me succeed in my undergraduate degree, but has also enabled many of my fellow student friends reach their full potential. The student representatives are actively working with lecturers to make the learning experience much better and more effective.

The University constantly invests into new buildings and modern renovations along with new technology, which shows their determination to make an institution that can compete with the very best of universities in the UK. This hard work and investment was also reflected in the Guardian league tables where University of Derby went up 25 places this year!

Who are you still in touch with from University of Derby?

I am still in contact with my dissertation project supervisor, some lecturers and lots of friends which I have met at University of Derby, and of course my PhD supervisors and other PhD students who are also studying at the University