Destynie Mallory (BSc Psychology with Business and Management )
Studying my degree
I began studying at The University of Buckingham in 2016 opting for a January intake instead of September. I completed my studies December 2017, graduating with an upper 2nd Class Degree (2:1) in Psychology with Business and Management and was awarded with The Horlogerie Kandahar Prize for Outstanding Achievement.
There are several aspects of my undergraduate that have informed my career path. These being Research Methods and Statistics (believe it or not), Individual Differences, Counselling Psychology and Psychotherapy and Cross-cultural Management as well as carrying out my dissertation on Time Personality.
Additionally, I enjoyed working alongside my supervisor to carry out empirical research to validate a Personality Scale. This was aligned with my interest in Individual Differences as well as my hope to one day get published. This involved me being organised, meticulous, knowledgeable and confident.
Ultimately, the knowledge and skills learned from those modules and my dissertation put me at an advantage when applying for my MSc on Forensic Psychology. I received multiple offers on my first application. Forensic Psychology is completed in two steps: step 1 being an MSc and step 2 being the ForenPsyD. Further to this, these skills allowed me to create the first piece of research in Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis for a Forensic Psychology cohort. For this I was awarded with a distinction.
My early experience
During my studies, I attended an open day at HMP Grendon that was advertised through the UoB Psychology Department. When I got back to Buckingham, I immediately began emailing the Psychologist I met to see if they had any availability for me to gain experience. I was really focused on gaining more practical experience in forensic services. Unfortunately, I was turned down by the Psychologist as they only took on master’s level students and my emails to the Buckingham Alumni went unanswered.
Nonetheless, I did not give up. Maybe they got tired of my emails; maybe I got lucky, but eventually I was put in touch with the Education Manager of HMP Grendon and Springhill. I began a volunteer Teaching Assistant post at both a category D prison in the mornings and a category B prison in the afternoons. I volunteered in this post for 5 months. During that time, I worked with offenders of various ages, offences and learning abilities, often on a one-on-one basis. I developed a rapport with the students while being able to learn what boundaries look like in this environment and their importance. I gained experience in presentation and facilitating and developed skills of adaption, both to the environment and the individual.
However, while my role was not psychology based, my transferable skills were noticed by the Psychologists as I often popped up on their wards to have conversations with them about becoming a Chartered Forensic Psychologist. My networking, and the barrage of emails, landed me in a position to get experience on both sides of the prison environment, education and psychology (where there are very different behaviours displayed). I was also mentored by a highly regarded, published and chartered Forensic Psychologist.
There is no clear-cut path in Psychology and everyone’s path will look different. Do not be afraid to leave positions to seek new ones and getting outside of your comfort zone is sometimes the key to giving you skills you didn’t know you needed. I had the opportunity to consistently gain new opportunities since I graduated, and I was blessed to get on my MSc after my first application, but these opportunities came about through networking. Social media (LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook) is your friend and there are so many people on these platforms who are willing to help; networking is key.