Alumni and supporters

Share your story

Alice Turland (BSc Psychology 2010)

Tell us briefly about yourself and career.

I am 27 years old and graduated from Reading in 2010. I am due to qualify as a Clinical Psychologist from the University of Alice TurlandSurrey in October of this year. I live with my fiancée (whom I met at Reading) in South West London. While I'm not working and studying, I enjoy dance classes, the theatre and going to music festivals (a tradition begun at Reading, though I admit I'm a little old for that festival now)!

Why did you choose to study at the University of Reading?

I remember falling in love with the campus when I visited - I had already decided I wanted to go to a University with a lake (perhaps too much time reading Harry Poter)! The range of societies, activities and social venues on campus was also better than I'd seen anywhere else, and the proximity to London was a bonus.

What was the best bit about living and studying in Reading?

Coming from a rural area, I wanted to go to a campus University that was close to town and to London. Reading gave me the best of both worlds- plenty of space and scenary, with only a short walk into the town centre. My Halls JCR (St Georges) was well set up with plenty of social events, including a garden party complete with bouncy castle! Despite being a long way from my family, I felt at home at Reading, both in my Halls and in the Psychology department. I've stayed in touch with two of the girls I lived with in first year, despite us living far apart now, and they are going to be my bridesmaids when I get married later this year.

What top tips would you give to students who are beginning their studies?

Take advantage of all the other opportunities on offer. At no other time in your life will you get so many chances to try random niche sports, or get involved in political causes. I always regret not taking the opportunity to learn Spanish! But above all, have fun and spend time getting to know peers in your halls and on your course.

What are you up to now? How did you get there?

After graduating from Reading, after a brief stint in telesales, I got a job as a support worker on a secure mental health ward. This gave me my first experience of working in the NHS, allowing me to gain an insight into the mental health system and meet the wide variety of individuals who had stays there. My next post was as a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner in an IAPT service. This included a year of attending teaching sessions once a week at UCL, and lead to a PGDip in low intensity CBT. My placements as a Trainee Clinical Psychologist have covered a variety of NHS settings including eating disorders, CAMHs and Older Adult services. I am currently on placement at the Paediatric Psychology service at St Georges Hospital, and hope to specialise in this area when I qualify. I love the variety that a career in Clinical Psychology brings- from meeting a range of clients from all walks of life and having the privilege to hear their stories, to having opportunities to develop services and conduct research.

What would be your top tips for students interested in working in this sector?

Try and get work experience (NHS and research) whilst still at Uni. Don't be put off by horror stories of it taking years to get on Clinical Psychology training- people come from a variety of different routes. Personally I managed to never have to take an unpaid internship, by working as a support worker instead, which still gave me a wealth of relevant experience. It's more about what you make of the experience you do have, rather than the length of time. Also, Clinical Psychology isn't the only career in mental health- I know people who have gone on to train as CBT therapists, Arts Therapists and Occupational Therapists following Psychology degrees- take the time to find a role that suits you.

How has the University of Reading and the Careers Centre helped in your chosen career path?

Volunteering with the local mental health service was vital in getting my first job. I also trained as a peer supporter, which gave me great grounding in basic counselling skills and self-reflection.

What are your top tips for students graduating this year? What should they be doing to secure the job they want?

Take advantage of volunteering opportunities at Reading and in the local area and try to get in contact with someone in your chosen career to get more of a sense of what the day to day job is. However, Don't be afraid to take some time out- working as a camp counsellor and dance teacher at a summer camp in the US straight after Uni forced me to throw myself in the deep end and get used to working full time, following 3 years spent doing things at my own pace! It also meant I got to meet people from all over the world and get some experience working with children before I decided what I wanted to do next.

What does the University mean to you and what is your favourite memory?

I have fond memories of my years at Reading and feel it set me up well to enter the world of work. My favourite memories have to be sunbathing in St Georges gardens and making the survivors photo at Summer Ball!