Bucks graduate Georgina describes how higher education can change your life and perceptions in so many ways. Trust us on this, you have to read it.
What is involved in your day-to-day work?
Marketing and promoting Wellbeing Enterprises, and designing and creating new projects to improve the wellbeing of people in local communities.
Managing staff and all the finance for the organisation and income generation strategies.
What have been your main career achievements to date?
Running my own business and social enterprise, creating many new projects in the public sector to improve peoples lives, health and wellbeing.
Upon reflection, what were the most important things you learnt form your time at Bucks New University?
The qualification gave me the skills to be the best person I can be, to understand the tools and techniques that I need to regularly use to be happy, find the right roles and right people around me to do the things I want to do.
Its helped me to work better in teams, to share my learning with others, to practice and build resilience and flourish in my day to day activities.
My time at Bucks has helped very much in my career and in my own personal life and qualities.
It was an amazing course that changed my life really.
I was a mature student and when I joined the course I was focussed on how it would help me in my job/career. What I learnt was much more important – it taught me strategies to be happy, to be positive and to be my best self.
I met some fantastic people such as Andrew Machon who was a positive psychologist and a speaker on one week of the course and he told me things that I always took with me and used in life if I wanted to make a change.
My dad died whilst I was studying after a year long illness and the positive psychology strategies I learnt helped me to enjoy time with him and find happiness and make the effort to see him as much as I could, enjoying reflective conversations during that time and I owe that to my positive psychology tutors who encouraged me to do the things that would make me happy or that when I looked back on would be great memories.
I now look back on my Dad’s last year of life and realise I got to know him better in that year than I ever had and in some ways I credit the course for that. Because of this I have no regrets even when I missed lectures to be with my dad, it was the right choice in the end. It was a special time on the course and mainly due to the caring that the tutors showed us. They always had time for us, got to know who we are and what made us tick, and motivated us no end even when we didn’t feel motivated.
You can use positive psychology in so many ways. My dissertation was in wellbeing and community wellbeing and how to measure it. The areas I covered in my research helped me to learn about so many areas including; public sector commissioning, community groups and how they operate, how to evaluate interventions, community wellbeing interventions, social marketing and positive psychology – as well as interviewing people, transcribing interviews (which I learnt on an iPhone is very hard so would recommend investing in headphones and foot pedal for transcribing – you can google it), doing a thematic interview and things like ethics in research.
You can use in lots of ways – there are lots of professions where you can use it – for instance in HR and talent management in any company helping them to recruit and motivate talented people in companies – I ran a business for a while and was appointed to do lots of interesting contracts such as strengths team days for National Grid, helping to write training tool-kits for Local Authorities, training teachers in schools in strengths and managing a four year project to improve mental health in schools.
I moved up North after my Dad died and have had really interesting projects related to my course since I’ve been up North including working as a Business Manager for a social enterprise specialising in wellbeing, and now just about to manage volunteers in Cheshire for Macmillan where I really think there will be loads of opportunities for me to share positive psychology learning not only with the volunteers but the staff in the organisations where I’ll be working as well as hopefully people with or recovering from cancer.
I am interested now in learning more about research methods particularly participatory action research where people in communities can get involved in finding out what is needed and then making it happen.
I am going to keep in touch with Bucks and would like to study with them again as it was such a caring department and I think I’ll always be in touch with my tutors Matthew Smith and Piers Worth who helped me so much.
I now realise that any learning should not only be to see what career it will help you with. It is to enhance skills and strengths in you too so you can enjoy life more and be happy.
What I learnt is that it is not just work that’s important but every day is a gift and I intend to do the best I can to enjoy it and get the most out of life. There’s no lesson more important than that!
Are there any misconceptions about your role/industry that you would like to address?
People think positive psychology is positive thinking which it isn’t. It’s a science and we learn quantitative and qualitative research methods and like scientists, we test theories in application to see if they work.
Also I think it should be given the kudos and acceptance that other psychology is given – it is seen more as coaching but really it is the same as other psychology but just exploring mainly the positive aspects of human development rather than the more negative aspects like anxiety and depression.
What advice would you pass on to your first year self?
Trust that you will learn how to do it and ask for help as much as you can from your tutors.
Trust if you don’t understand straight away you will eventually if you keep persevering.
Do what you enjoy and someone somewhere will pay you for it and if you keep doing it you’ll get good at it.
A message from Bucks New University Alumni Service:
Please follow Georgina’s amazing example and let us know how your education at Bucks has impacted on your life as well as your career.