• Heather Watson

Inside the mind...

Updated: Sep 17, 2020

My original goal for 2020 was to travel more but just as I was about to lock in some trips, Covid-19 came along and put paid to those plans. Instead, the lockdown meant I had unexpected time on my hands, time which I've put to good use I think, first completing a Social Media Marketing course, which I'm pleased to say I passed, while now I'm dipping a tentative toe into the world of psychology.

Several of the books that I've had piled precariously next to my bed for months have to do with linguistics and psychology. I'm a linguist by background and am always interested in learning more about how we acquire and develop language and what impact the language we speak might have on our behaviour and the shaping of our personality. Hence, the enthusiasm for languages and linguistics has somehow developed into an interest in the psychological field. With this in mind, I'm now following a (distance-learning) university certificate course in Psychology. Not really for any career-driven motive - not for now at least - but just because it's a field that interests me and a pathway that I think will also prove beneficial, or at the very least informative, in terms of my own mental health. As the course doesn't require me to have any prior knowledge, it should give me a bit of an overview and help me understand whether it's something I'd like to pursue further or not. A Masters might be on the cards, but we need to see if I'm capable of passing this foundation course first!

I have recently completed the first module, an introduction to Social Psychology. It came as a bit of a baptism by fire because there is essentially an endless wealth of information and research to read about, and more importantly, digest! We covered a wide range of topics from social influence and group behaviour to attraction, the self, attitudes, leadership, prosocial behaviour and prejudice. I did my best to complete the weekly tasks we were set, mainly so that I could take any useful feedback and apply it to the end of module assignment. The strategy must have worked, because I've just found out that I passed with a good grade, despite me thinking that I had perhaps gone off in the right direction. The assignment had to do with volunteering, with examination of the kind of person who will step up and be pro-active, why they choose to do so, and the reasons why volunteering groups succeed in fulfilling their objectives, with a particular focus on helping behaviours during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Next up is Sports Psychology, where I'm hoping I can relate the learning to the motorcycle racing world in some way, and then the final module will look at Cognitive Psychology, where I'd like to focus on language acquisition if at all possible, given my background. If I enjoy it enough, I'm thinking to continue on and do the Masters (conversion) course. We'll see, as it depends on many things, not least on how my time and finances are looking next year!

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