A day in the life of a psychology student


Faculty: Science and Engineering
School: Psychology and Sport Science
Course: BSc (Hons) Psychology and Criminology
Category: Psychology

4 November 2019

Psychology with Criminology student Erin takes us through a typical day at ARU in Cambridge, from lectures and seminars, to study time and a satisfyingly large slice of pizza...

As a psychology and criminology student, my typical day might look very different from what you would expect. Although a lot of it is study time, there are also a few perks to finally being in third year.

So, what does a day in the life of me look like?

Getting ready for uni

Well, it starts about 9am with breakfast (the most important meal of the day!) and, most importantly, a hot cuppa. While sorting out my breakfast this is normally the point I open the ARU app to check my emails and timetable to see what I should be up to today. It’s a Tuesday which means I have my sex, sexuality and gender lecture at 1pm followed by a seminar at 4pm.

So, let's get ready! After I shower it usually takes me (at least) 15 minutes to find a cute outfit for the day – today, I decided on a striped shirt and cord over-dress which I thought was pretty good as it’s a little cold outside. Then I like to sort my backpack out based on what I'll need, so today has:

  • my planner
  • a notebook
  • pencil case
  • laptop.

As I pack my bag ready for the day, I always like to double-check my planner just to make sure I have everything I need. Turns out I’m actually seeing one of my old housemates later! I keep this in mind to guide what to do after my seminar today.

After a bit of tidying in prep for my guest, I grab my keys and head to uni for the day. I live not even a full 15 minutes away so I usually leave home 15 minutes before my classes start, so there are always a few minutes spare (just in case).

Attending psychology lectures

Today's lecture is on social constructivism, it's really interesting and talks about how gender is an outward performance, imitating socially constructed forms of masculine and feminine ideals. It really challenged the set of beliefs I had surrounding gender and where it originated from in the form of self. A few friends and I talk about what we have just learnt before parting ways to do our own thing for the next few hours.

Pizza slices on display at Charlie's pizzeria in Cambridge
Academic paper with some sections highlighted in orange or pink
Pencil case, planner, laptop case and notebook

I planned to do a bit of library study before my seminar today, so hoped to grab lunch close to campus to give myself as much time as possible. I meet up with a few course mates and we have the classic lunchtime debate. Where do we want to go? What time is everyone's next lecture? Why can we never agree on lunch? Until someone (AKA me) has the genius idea of pizza; it’s a classic 2pm-on-a-Tuesday-pick-me-up.

Charlie's is less than a five-minute walk away from the main entrance of uni. It's a great lunchtime treat to mix it up from the regular meal deal, and just such a nice treat. With a cheeky slice of Margherita down I head back to the library to do some reading for my Monday class, clinical psychology.

Studying in the university library

I spend just under an hour reading a suggested paper. I always feel it’s important to read through the paper completely at least once before going through and annotating it. I used to be the worst for just highlighting the whole page. When it seems like my concentration is fading I always take five minutes away to do other things, like check my emails and a few group chats I’m in.

Joining an afternoon seminar

Backpack on, I head to my seminar for sex, sexuality and gender. It’s an hour-long seminar filled with discussion around the topic we covered earlier in the day. This adds so much more depth to the topic, and sparks loads of interesting conversations around gender and how it can be considered a performing art.

It’s been a productive day at uni and at 5pm it’s time to start heading home. I get in and put my backpack down, grabbing my laptop to recharge it for tomorrow. It’s at this point I remember I’ve got a friend coming over, which results in a quick shopping trip to grab dinner.

Relaxing... and preparing for tomorrow

As 7.30pm rolls around, she arrives. We spend the evening eating Mexican food with a glass of chardonnay each, comparing our days and watching Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends. It’s always nice to have an evening off from study to see a friend.

We call it a night around 10.30pm. I put my laptop back in my backpack, along with anything I might need for the following day, before calling it a night and heading to bed, ready for tomorrow.

Erin's course is just one of our undergraduate psychology degrees which include Psychology, Psychology with Clinical Psychology and Psychology with Criminology.

If you're fascinated by human behaviour, and the science behind the way we think, come along to an Open Day to find out more about studying at ARU in Cambridge.


The views expressed here are those of the individual and do not necessarily represent the views of Anglia Ruskin University. If you've got any concerns please contact us.