UWS Graduate Success Stories: Greg Halliday
Tell us about your time at UWS
I remember coming towards the end of high school and realising that I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I didn’t have very good academic grades and felt a little bit lost. The social sciences course at UWS gave me the opportunity to learn about a really wide variety of topics, and introduced me to my first experience of Psychology, something I became incredibly interested in and passionate about over my time as an undergrad, eventually choosing to focus my degree on single honours psychology. I think my personal highlight and a moment that really stands out was when we received a lecture on “perception” which gave our lecturer the opportunity to practice his close-up magic tricks.
“..be stubborn and trust in your own abilities.”
Greg Hallday BA (Hons) Psychology 2015
Tell us about your experiences since leaving the University
Since graduating with a 2:1 in 2015, I have gone on to further study at master’s level, gaining an MSc in Clinical Health Psychology. I have worked as a Support Worker for Scottish Autism, an Intake Consultant for an international third sector organisation focussing on employee wellbeing and mental health, and eventually went on to become an Assistant Psychologist working with Chronic Pain patients. All of these experiences, alongside the skills and knowledge learned during my undergrad have helped me to reach my eventual goal of gaining a place on one of the Doctoral courses in Clinical Psychology. Now I am training to become a Clinical Psychologist, splitting my time between therapeutic work, research, and my own learning on a 3 year-course funded by NHS Education Scotland (NES).
What advice would you give to current students?
The best piece of advice I could give is to be stubborn and trust in your own abilities. I have never been particularly academic, and have gone through many years of feeling like a fraud, who doesn’t belong in a profession which is so competitive to enter. Ultimately, if you are passionate about something, and willing to learn from difficult experiences of rejection and failure, then you can be successful at it… it may just take longer than you expected. There is no rush!
Did you engage with the Careers Service at UWS?
Yes. Coming towards the end of my undergraduate degree, I still had no clue what sort of job prospects I could expect. Psychology is a pretty niche discipline, and doesn’t follow the pathway of most careers. It’s difficult to know where to begin.
It was helpful to hear about the different options out there, and the information I received at this point ultimately pointed me in the direction of Clinical Psychology.
If any, what reservations did you have before taking part in these activities?
It’s hard to put yourself out there, to try something new, especially thinks like volunteering or mentorship. There’s always that “cringe” factor with people in Scotland, where trying something different is so often seen as a bad thing. new experience and something I had never done before but participating definitely allowed me to realise that I knew what I was doing I just had to believe in myself more.
How did you overcome these?
Focussing on the benefits that can come from something, rather than the challenges associated with it, and learning that putting yourself out there and trying isn’t embarrassing. Just try it.
How have these experiences helped improve your employment prospects?
I started volunteering with Samaritans in the third year of my undergrad, and it was the best thing I ever did. I kept this up for about 4 years when work commitments began to interfere with my ability, but it was something that I learned a great deal from. It gave me my first experience of supporting people in distress, helped me to understand the scope of mental health difficulties faced by the NHS, and the power of just being willing to listen to someone when they are in need.