Dr Jordi Asher, BSc Psychology and PhD Psychology graduate, now a Lecturer at University of Essex.
Ten years after achieving my undergraduate degree from Essex, the very same Department of Psychology from which I graduated was offering me a Lectureship. The journey was not, however, what you might call conventional.
I arrived at Essex as a mature learner with no set idea of where I wanted a BSc Psychology to take me. Having initially considered Organisation Psychology as an area of focus, due to having several years of relevant experience, it was immersing myself in research that drew me in.
My priority then became applying for a range of positions via the university’s Research Experience Scheme, while also taking every opportunity to obtain teaching experience. Working as a part-time lecturer in Essex Pathways for a year and a half was a great avenue to do just that. Having continued studying for several years, I earned my PhD in Psychology in 2018.
Fast forward to the present and I thoroughly enjoy the life of an academic at the university. The role is incredibly varied and I am lucky enough to work alongside extremely dynamic and diverse people, both colleagues and students. One real perk is that managing my time is almost entirely my domain, with research, teaching, and presenting my work to international audiences all on an average week’s agenda.
Looking to the future, I am in the process of developing a medical technology for people with visual field loss sustained after stroke or brain injury. My goal is to continue developing and testing this over the next three to five years before potentially expanding its scope to assist in other sensory impairments.
Anyone reading this who thinks a career in academia might be for them, my advice would be to go for it - but only if you are totally passionate about your field of interest. While becoming a lecturer at a university like Essex is a very rewarding role, competition for jobs is always fierce and you will therefore need a PhD and several years’ experience as a postdoctoral researcher and in teaching. Perhaps the most important piece of advice I can give is to make sure something in your CV sets you apart from the rest.