Paige Clarke-Jeffers 900x400 - Paige in a garden

Paige Clarke-Jeffers

Health Psychology - MSc

After lockdown was announced, Paige found it unusual working and studying from home, but BCU’s swiftness in moving everything online has made it easy for her to connect with colleagues, students and academics. Now, Paige isn’t just thriving on her MSc Health Psychology degree – she’s thriving in her advisor’s role, working hard to improve the experience of hundreds of students at BCU.

“When I got accepted to study MSc Health Psychology, I was thrilled to be continuing on my journey at BCU. However, I was given an even bigger boost when I was offered the job of being a Student Success Adviser (SSA) for Social Sciences. To help me balance work and study, after speaking to my employer and academics, it was agreed that it would be possible for me to work four days a week and do my Master’s part-time (over 2 years), one day a week.

As a student, I have found that, with this current pandemic, studying online has been different. I do miss the face-to-face lectures, being in Curzon and just seeing the regular faces that I would normally see Monday to Friday. However, the Psychology department has a supportive team who endeavour to help all students. Since studying online, I have had live (online) guest lectures, Microsoft Teams chats with previous students on the programme (to help with my professional development) and drop-in sessions to ask questions about the summative work.

On the other side, as a member of staff, I have seen how hard everyone throughout the Faculty is working to support students and try to keep things as normal as they can. What has been challenging, as a staff member, has been keeping up with the rules and regulations, but this is absolutely necessary in order to ensure the correct information was provided to students in terms of their assessments as well as the health and safety of students.

Although studying alongside work is demanding, I believe I am gaining a range of different skills from both positions. Studying MSc Health Psychology has encouraged me to be more succinct in my academic writing. I have also developed my skills in research methods so I now feel comfortable and confident when conducting either quantitative or qualitative work; and when using the software, such as SPSS, Qualtrics and NVivo.

Working alongside studying has forced me to become extremely organised. Also, my time management skills have been quintessential in enabling me to fulfil both working and learning commitments to a high standard. This ensures I am supporting my students, completing tasks, and also working successfully and effectively with team members to promote excellence across the Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences (BLSS).

Looking back at my five years here as both a student and a member of staff, I am proud not only that I got into BCU, but that I’m now on the route to completing a second degree while, on top of this, working in a fulfilling role as an SSA. In this job I’ve been able to put to use skills I’ve learnt from studying psychology, while gaining experience supporting students with a variety of issues, from academic needs to concerns regarding mental health, childcare and finances.

I AM BCU, to me, means a community of staff and students who are proud to belong to the University. Regardless of ethnicity, culture, religion or status, we all belong to BCU; this goes for those who are currently at BCU and those who have left. There will always be a bit of BCU in you, no matter where you go.”