We are Jasmine Sharp and Jenna Honey from King Edward VI Community College in Totnes. This week we were lucky enough to get a work experience placement at Plymouth University’s School of Psychology with Jackie Andrade and Jon May. It started with a train ride at 9 o’clock from Totnes each morning from where we would meet Jackie and Jon at the station in Plymouth before getting our daily dose of exercise walking up to Portland Square. On the first day Jackie and Jon pointed out the usual health and safety points and more importantly some great places to grab a bite to eat and a drink. We got to see Drake’s reservoir and learn a little about it as we walked on to find their office and be shown the general routes we would be taking over the following days.
Monday morning, we were shown around the impressively large (and confusing) psychology department and talked about the variety of things that goes on there. After a quick tour we visited both Jackie and Jon’s offices, then we were shown to the link building’s seminar room, where we would spend much time during our week entering data to excel and admiring the view onto the Roland Levinsky building with bright blues skies above and the shining sun. We were introduced to a student, called Linda, who helped us get a grip on data and how it is entered, after this we spent most of Monday morning on excel, but had a few short breaks as the heat was quite intense. Once it came to lunch Linda came and collected us before we went to eat in the red chairs area, which has very comfy seats! At lunchtime we had a nice chat with Jackie, Jon and Linda and also met Michael Hyland, who asked if we could complete a job for him by the end of the week. Then in the afternoon we were set the task of finding old students on LinkedIn to find out what amazing things they have got up to since they have left, or indeed stayed on at the university. We managed to find out those already known and started to look for others. Once it was time to leave we made our way back down to the station and ended our first day of work experience.
Tuesday mainly consisted of running around between link, Jon’s office and the Portland villas. We started with more data entry at link from one of Jon’s research studies on dancer’s creativity, which was interesting. Then we joined for lunch and were allowed to explore independently, which we did by walking around campus and buying a nice cool costa drink. After lunch it was back up to link to finish another group of data before a meeting at one of the Portland square villas, it was nice to get the experience of what Jackie and Jon’s daily work is like around the school and also learn what meetings could be like for when we may face one in the future. At about three o’clock, once we had made our way back up to Portland square we continued our search on LinkedIn and managed to find quite a large number of ex-students, some of which were doing very interesting things such as travelling around the world while others stayed closer to home and started on their new careers. This concluded Tuesday.
Our third day was full of work, but we also got the chance to do more than just data processing. We began by finishing the data from our previous days rather large pile of questionnaires, luckily we sorted through this quicker than expected and had an hour to start on our job from Michael Hyland, we were given 23 pages which we proof read, we found the subject quite intriguing and finished it all by lunchtime. After lunch we returned from a quick adventure, to Jon’s office from where he led us down the corridor to meet Onshell who is carrying out some very cool work. He showed us some virtual reality technology in one of the link labs, although at first we were daunted by using the Oculus Rift when we put it on we were fascinated by the amazing technology and all its possibilities. Once we had finished there he spoke to us about university life and gave some helpful advice. We arrived at another lab to learn about his project which involved a rather weird, but fascinating, robot, with sponges attached to its arms, on a sort of air hockey table. This was part of his experiment which he showed us data from and how he gathered the data and put it into a program from which he could analyse. Once we were done we walked back to Jon’s office and looked at a new website on a project made by Jackie, Jon and their colleagues. We checked for anything unusual but there wasn’t much so we enjoyed reading about their research instead. Once it was time to leave again we made our way back to the train and then home.
Thursday, our last day, was a much cooler and relaxed day as we had finished all the data and other tasks (except LinkedIn because there were so many people to find). We first went to Jackie’s office and spoke about what we’d done and enjoyed over the week and what we would finish today doing. We were introduced to two friendly PhD students who gave us a good insight into the student life at the university instead of the work side of it. First we met Thea who gave us a nice tour of the campus so we could visit any buildings we had not been to yet and also showed us the other places that students could go such as the library. We had a conversation about what she has done here and from what we’ve heard it was all very interesting and she’s clearly having a really good time at this university. She then took us to meet Kat who again we had a nice conversation with and spoke to her about what she’s been doing at the university and from both conversations we were amazed by the things they were able to do here and what their research could potentially lead to. They were lovely and it was great to meet them and we are both looking forward to continuing with our own education and seeing where it could lead us.
We would like to thank Jackie and Jon for letting us come and do our work experience here and all those who also helped us during our time here. We are glad we could help out.