During my visits I participated in some of the events organized by University of Groningen students and Faculty. These swayed me to continue my studies in Groningen – I appreciate that there are lots of extracurricular activities and communities outside the University. For example, I’m already involved with the UNICEF student team and the UG Student Culture Centre, Usva.
I’ve never wanted to work as a clinical psychologist, so I looked for a way to put my degree to use in a non-traditional setting. The Work, Organization and Personnel Psychology (WOP) programme seemed like it would enable me to apply my psychological training in a practical way. The programme equips me with the skills I need to work in a business environment while still being involved in helping people.
Before I came here, I wasn’t really familiar with the subject of work, organization and personnel psychology. In my Bachelor’s degree programme, I took general courses in group psychology and organizational psychology, but they were focused on group or crowd behaviour, and not so much on an actual work setting. The WOP programme focuses more on what people want or need to achieve in the workplace. For example, how the work environment can influence productivity and wellbeing, the best ways to stimulate creativity and innovation, or teaching someone to be a good leader or listener.
One of the practical courses offered is the coaching course, which builds on ideas of conversational therapy and offers opportunities to practise these. At the moment, I’m learning coaching techniques and conversational skills, and in the next period I will have the opportunity to coach a student who has recently begun teaching. The aim is to help students feel more comfortable and confident in their new role, and overcome any difficulties they may face. This is very exciting, because it’s the first opportunity I’ve had throughout my studies to practically apply my knowledge outside the research field.
In addition to following the WOP programme, I am taking an elective course unit at the Faculty of Arts that relates to public arts policy and how governments view and maintain cultural institutions. I am considering combining these different fields in the future by applying my skills as a psychologist at a cultural institution. After graduating, I’m first going to apply for graduate schemes at charitable organizations in the UK, in particular charities focused on making science – and studying science – accessible to all people, regardless of their educational background, gender or culture.
The WOP programme helps me to achieve my personal goals by teaching me about how people function in organizations, and the sorts of issues that are present in these contexts. It also provides me with the knowledge to overcome these issues myself in my own career; it is therefore very valuable for both my personal and professional growth.
Hannah Cox - Work, Organization and Personnel Psychology