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Well, I know that some people's views on university students are mixed. Some say that we have it easy, and have no idea what 'propper work' is. Before I start this, I would like to mention that in some cases, this is true. I have friends studying some degrees that really shouldnt exist. For example, a friend of mine is studying computer game design, and in the last 2 years, he has written 3 4 page essays, one of which was 'describe your university experiance'. In this case, I would be tempted to agree with those people. Having said that, some degrees really do require 40 hour weeks, staring at a computer screen, and working you ass off.

I am studying psychology, whcih requires (this year) the following:

10 hours worth of end of year exams

45 hours spent in a school (this was voluntary, but made the degree just about livable)

100 hours spent as a lab rat (basically, you participate in peoples experiments. One time I had to put my hand in an ice bath for 30 mins)

26 pieces of courseowrk (These include statistics, and research reports that are about 20 pages long)

5 online exams every week

30 hours worth of lectures per week (every week)

The organisation of a dissertation

So, make what you will of that.

On to my problem

Basically, I did really well last year, getting onto the deans list for extraordinary academic achievment (this required 75 per cent mark, which is over a 1st class) This year, I have got 1st in prity much all my coursework. But exams are stressing me out. I have been to the doctors with chest pains, and she said they are likley to be stress related. This is not too much of a problem, but I said I had been having them for a week. Its more like 6 months.

When I applied for university, my tutor was a psychology teacher. As a result, I ended up signing onto psychology, I didn't even know that teacher training degrees existed. I do now, and teaching is all I want to do, ever. I spend a day a week at a primary school (missing lectures then cathcing up on them later) and spend all summer there in the holidays too. I have been told I am rather good at it. In addition to this, psychology is not the best way to get onto post graduate teacher training.

So I ask myself, Why I am putting myself through all this stress and heart ache, when I could swap to a teaching degree, get my health back, and generally be a happy person again. Well, one problem is the fact that I would have to pull 9k out my ass becuase student laons company will not pay for my first year (I am in year 2 psychology now, so have used up 2 years of funding). Another potential reason not to swap, is that I only have 1 year left. But then, If after that one year (assuming I even get there) I am not allowed onto post graduate training, It was a waste anyway. The other problem, is that I dont hate psychology, its just that 10 per cent of it is the most interesting stuff in the world. The other 90 percent, leaves me uninterested, and it is hard to do well in something you are not interested in.

I understand this is a long rant, And I dont generally ask for help or advice on the personal level. So If you have not read it, then it has helped to write it down anyway. If you have an opinion on the matter, that would be even better


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I developed excema and lost a lot of weight due to exam stress at Uni. My finals were the worst experience of my life and in the end I feel lucky to have got a Desmond where I was on course to get a good 2.1 maybe scrape a first. My course work was good enough that I was exempted from exams in both second and third year, which came back to bit me in fourth year due to lack of practice.

It was still worth it as a life experience.

I also know two people with psychology degrees who did teacher training and one works abroad in an English speaking primary school in Germany. The other teaches in the private sector (as we call public schools in Scotland). If you have an aptitude for teaching that will shine through.

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I know its awkward with funding and all, but if I were in your position I would change to a teaching degree because at least you wont have to suffer the PGCE year. If your degree is getting to you now then you will find the pgce impossible. Its the sheer amount of paperwork - equal to 3rd year plus working as a teacher! you can barely do it! I did it after getting a 1st and then having a 1yr old to look after but it almost ruined my life lol...

Theres so many teachers now looking for work, you will find it difficult if you dont have the perfect degree background for the job, so unless you want to teach psychology at secondary/a level you might be better of changing now before you are too far in.

Where I live the uni chucks out 15+ teachers a year in my subject and maybe 3 jobs have come up within 50mile radius in this last year so its pretty grim :(

Good Luck with everything :)

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hey mate, i completely on your side with this, i have had a little mental breakdown after seeing what my exams are going to be like and i have to say i have not sat a proper exam in a hall for over a decade and i am crapping myself. i am also starting to wonder why i am putting myself through this as its not like i need the degree and its not like i know where i am going with it. but then i am not enjoying it at the moment either. that is due to stress though and i have been informed by many that if i get through this year i will find the third year easier.

on your side i would be inclined to continue on, and then go for the teacher bit after, at least then you have more than one thing to fall back on as its been said, teacher jobs are hard to come across, but chin up as people are telling me, you can do it and stop panicing and do the best you can.

just wish i could take that advice myself lol

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Cheers folks.

It is all rather difficult. Its not just the exams its the whole general experiance. Uni to me is not a social thing, I live at home so all I can really do is go, do the work, and come home. So if its all about the work, then the work needs to be interesting, and most of it is not.

The other thing that is hard to swallow is the fact that I am actually paying to put myself through this. But then I have also been told that the 3rd year is alot better. I have already sorted my dissertation, and its going to be rather good.

I am quite close to exams now, So I guess I will let fate decide in a way. If I pass, I will stay, If I Fail, then I will not be doing any re-sits, I shall just leave, and get busy grabbing as much experiance and cash as possible, and then start again with something I know that I am going to be good at.

Either way... this time next year I will be in teacher training of some description.

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It sounds to me like you know what you want to do, it's just a matter of selecting the route which none of us can decide for you.

I'll throw in the things that I would be thinking about if I found myself in your position:

1) Cost - would it be cheaper to finish the course then do an additional teacher training course or would it be cheaper to stop the course you're on at the moment and go straight on to the teacher training course this coming academic year.

2) How much time will it take? Is it quicker to do it one way or the other? I would opt for he quickest but I'm just impatient!

3) Are you guaranteed to get onto the other course?

4) Could you actually put up with another year of the phsychology degree?

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Rik, I write as someone who did their degree quite late on in life, and as someone who has many years experience in the education sector.

IMO (and I think that's what you asked for lol) you should finish the degree that you're currently doing. I appreciate that you feel psychology isn't relevant but I can assure you that it's far more relevant than you think, and more relevant than some of the degrees other people take into teaching!

It sounds to me like you're well ahead of the game for your third year if you've already got your dissertation in hand!! :shock:

I think any prospective University will look more at your application for a teaching qualification more favourably if you finish your current course, rather than drop out if it - it shows commitment.

I am employing someone in my Study Centre at the moment who finished her Geography degree last June and has taken a year out to gain some experience with children and learning,both working and as a volunteer, and has just been offered a place on a teaching degree course.

Maybe this route could be something to consider - would give you a chance to sort yourself and your future out.

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Thanks for all the advice.

I mean, psychology would be handy becuase it might help me get into some special educational needs stuff after teacher training? I heard somewhere that there are courses you can do once you have QTS which allow you to do something like that?

Also of course, If I do get into teacher training with it, and then get a few years experiance working as a teacher in a school, then I could go down the educational psychology route later on if I felt the need.

I think I shall just stick with it. 3rd Year should be fairly ok, the theory behind my dissertation means that it will get a 2,1, regardless of the experimental aspect of it. (my tutor is head of dissertation organisation and policy and stuff, and said that dissertations in psychology are generally marked by 2 aspects, theory and applied. Even without an applied section the theory is good enough with mine, fills a gap in the research and all that rubbish lol) And my dissertation is all based in schools anyway.

Just gonna chill out really and see how it goes. I still stand by the fact though that if I do fail, it is not through lack of hard work, it is through not enough interest, and as a result if I fail, I am changing rather than doing resits. Just have to see how it goes :)

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If you're stressed just because you're a stressy type of person, then you should work on that. But if you're stressed because you have to work so hard to get a 1st, then you're probably not a 1st class student. Take it easy and get the 2:1; a piece of paper isn't worth your health and noone cares if you have a degree or not after your first job.

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I'm not a stressy person. If anything I can be disturbingly laid back lol.

Its not the grades either, I am happy with anything really (except fail obviously lol)

Its the exam specifically that is stressful. Even if you take everything out of the equation, it is still stressful due to the fact that in the worst case scenario, you end up in debt, and without a job or any real relevant experiance to sit on.

But i will get there in the end. When it comes to coursework, I aim for a 1st, and 99 per cent of the time I will get it. With exams,due to the 'do or die' feel of them, I take grades out of the picture, and just see what happens.

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In that case good luck. Choose the path that makes the most sense and live regret free knowing you made the sensible choice. You can be ready to take advantage when fate smiles upon you, and prepare for when she decides to kick you in the nuts. Beyond that there is nothing you can do.

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Good luck to you mate.

I'm doing an Open University degree whilst working full time and the stress gets to me every now and then. I hate exams and have never performed very well under exam conditions and get very stressed in the days before taking them. In the end, you have to focus on what you aim to get out of the experience as a whole not just the hardship of exams. Even though they stress me out and I find them difficult, it makes it even sweeter when they're over and I can look back and wonder what all the fuss was about. Life throws obstacles and hardships in our way all the time, it's how we learn to overcome them that makes us stronger and will make you proud of yourself once its done.

Hope it all goes well for you.

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