Michael Swift graduated from Newman University in 2018 and now works as a Research Assistant, conducting investigations into emotional resilience. He also produces music in his spare time! We decided to have a chat with him to find out how he found the course and facilities at Newman and got to where he is today.

Since leaving Newman I completed a Master’s degree

I work as a Research Assistant but also work for a voluntary online group called ‘7 cups’ who work to provide 24/7 free support for individuals going through periods of emotional distress and psychological traumas.

 

My undergraduate degree was a key to accessing postgraduate study for myself

I focused upon psychological and counselling theory in addition to practical application. Without the intricate practical skills of conducting counselling sessions, I would have been unable to progress my clinical career.

One particularly significant aspect of the degree was the accreditation with the British Psychological Society standards. This is a highly revered status amongst postgraduate institutions and without it, I would have immediately been rejected from my Master’s degree. I feel that my degree aided me in succeeding within psychology.

The ability of being able to reflect upon my previous and future work was a skill that I believe has placed me in greater stead than potential students from institutions that have purely focused on psychological theory and nothing else.

 

I enjoyed everything about studying at Newman University

I think that the way that modules are taught combined with the support from staff allows for a great overall learning experience. In addition to the academic side, the socialisation and meeting with friends for bar, sports and charity events was always a great way to meet new people and get involved with the community spirit of Newman.

Meeting staff members and peers that have become lifelong friends was my favourite. I think that in a way Newman University is more of a lifestyle that just an institution as it allows for academic, personal, social and spiritual growth.

The staff support at Newman was unlike anything I have ever experienced

In my opinion, Newman provides the best first line contact between staff and students. During my studies, I was constantly in support with my lecturers and thesis supervisors, often receiving emails within 20 minutes of initial contact. This combined with the availability of staff at regular intervals really helped me not only feel like I could obtain support, but that staff were available and willing to help me throughout the entire process.

My favourite facilities at the university included:

  • The psychology study rooms – I have always been a student who enjoys getting locked into a session of study and the ability to have a room in a quiet area of the university where you are widely uninterrupted was a huge benefit for me. The psychology study rooms were always clean, quiet and most importantly bright!
  • The sanctuary (cafeteria) – which is a large open space that always feels very social. From visiting other universities, I noticed that food halls were often secluded and cut off from the rest of the university. At Newman, I loved being able to grab food and run into all members of the university from friends, staff and a whole range of students. It was this socialisation time that was one of the most important aspects of Newman university for myself.

My advice to students who may be feeling anxious about studying at Newman

It is completely normal to feel anxious. One thing that really helped me was attending the events run by the university before commencing my degree. I can honestly say that within 20 minutes, that anxious feeling was completely gone, and the first few people I ran into have turned into long-term friends that I still speak to. Personally, I think that Newman University has a campus that is much more social than other universities and it is quite hard to feel alone because the campus has such a community driven feel to it.

Visit the university and get a true feel for the environment as well as the staff and as with my experience, I am sure you will feel immediately at home.

I decided to commute to university to reduce my overall student finances. My commute was roughly a 45-minute drive depending on traffic, and I personally found this very easy. I often find myself commuting up to 2 hours for meetings now; so, this commute set me up well for real-world work. I utilised parking on the university campus.

I am a professional musician frequently playing around the UK

Over the past few years, I have been focusing on releasing a professional single of my original music. I managed to release a full track called ‘Victoria’ to major streaming platforms as well as obtaining some radio play across Big City Radio recently. I am working on releasing an extended play record (EP) and potentially an album over the next year or so.

The next step for my career is to enrol on a Professional Doctorate in Clinical Psychology course. All of the previous steps in my academia has been leading to undertaking this course as this will allow me to fully practice psychological interventions in health care settings

In the next five years, I hope to be a practicing clinical psychologist working within the NHS

My lifelong goal has been to provide psychological interventions to those who not only need but also, deserve support. In addition, I hope to continue volunteering for services to provide free access to mental health for youth groups; a topic I think is increasingly important currently in our society.

I am so proud that I attended Newman University

I am proud to say that I am an alumnus of such a supportive and conducive institution and I will always hold the university as my second home. Newman University not only helped me on my journey to become a competent psychologist but also, introduced me to some great individuals whose influence will always be with me.

Are you thinking about studying Psychology and Counselling Studies here at Newman? Then head to https://www.newman.ac.uk/course/psychology-and-counselling-studies-bsc-hons/full-time/. If you’d like to share your story, feel free to email socialmedia@newman.ac.uk.