For many years since I was around my mid-teens I found that I had always had some kind of obsession with trying to understand people and why they behave the way that they do as well as a passion for true crime after an incident in my past that will always stay with me till my final breath which led to an deeper delve into the world of crime trying to make sense of things and people around me.
You see in 1999 I was at my regular weekly dance class with my friend Molly who was the daughter of my mothers close friend when we were both asked to leave and being so young at the time we obviously thought that we had done something wrong at the time but never did we expect to get the news that we would receive later that day. Heading home Molly & I would be asked to take a seat to discover that the evening before sadly Molly’s mother had been killed by her former partner after a night out with friends which was a shock to us all because never in a million years did anyone ever expect him to harm her in anyway and from that moment the memory has always stuck with me and so I started researching true crime to try and understand what happened that night and why because as most people who personally know me I am a very logical person and I try to think everything through from a that perspective.
In the start I basically came across the case of the Amityville Horror (The true story behind it not the paranormal) where a son killed his family and tried to claim that he was hearing voices and was possessed which caused him to act that way and so I ended up falling down the rabbit hole of forensic psychology to learn that in the UK where I am based you can’t even enroll into studying the course until you are a minimum of 25 years old and have to go through countless mental stability tests to ensure you’re able to take in the content that is so dark and taboo to most other courses.
But what is Forensic Psychology?
Forensic Psychology is a specialised field which combines the practice of both psychology (the study of the human mind and behaviour) as well as Law and those who generally work within this field of scientific study utilize their psychological expertise as it applies to the criminal justice system and the word Forensic actually originates from the Latin word ‘Forensis’ which means the forum (court system) of Ancient Rome which is a fun fact of the day for you.
This means that generally those who work as a forensic psychologist apply psychological theory to criminal investigations to help understand the psychological problems that may be associated with criminal behaviour as well as help to encourage the treatment of those who have committed offences such as producing action plans and rehabilitation treatment programs within prison systems to help rehabilitate offenders.
And so from leaving college I started to look into which university’s offer a degree in Forensic Psychology and the moment that I reached the age of 25 back in 2017 I enrolled to study with The Open University studying from home to attain my degree through the six year course to which I am just about to start my final year this upcoming September. My degree in question explores many important psychological questions that relate to crime and justice and over the past few years I have examined how forensic psychologists use evidence from conducted research to contribute to debates and polices on crime, policing, criminal justice as well as rehabilitation as well as how psychology itself is critical to understanding education, employment, mental health and relationships.
But why did I choose to study with the open university and what is it?
Unlike with most degrees that you can go on to study throughout the world at Universities, The Open University is an extremely affordable and flexible option for those who lead busy lives who still wish to better themselves without having to put their lives on hold until education is complete. At the time when I decided to enrol into the course at University I was leading a very busy lifestyle as I was travelling up and down the entire UK most weekends due to my singing career at the time but on top of that I was just about to be married in my personal life as well as working two fulltime jobs one as a telephone sales woman from 7am until 5pm on a Monday through to a Thursday and on top of that I was also working at a restaurant on a Monday through to Wednesday and so I didn’t have the time to commit to a full university experience.
And so I looked into options that would suit my lifestyle better and came across the open university. The Open University is an online university program that offers countless varieties of courses from teaching, languages to music and psychology amongst other things and with the university you get all support that you would receive in an actual university setting such as support from a tutor each year of study as well as access to a wide variety of online resources through their virtual library. I would also receive relevant lectures that are optional and the option was way more affordable than studying at an actual university with course materials included in the price each and every year unlike most places that offered the course.
And so with all the options and opportunities to better myself without it affecting the life I was leading to much at the time it seemed like the best option for me and so I secretly enrolled in the course without telling my friends and family at the time and applied for student finance and when the acceptance letter came through that December (2016) to begin the course the following February it was at that point that everyone around me were made aware of my plans and most to my surprise weren’t that supportive of the decision I had made to better myself and my career opportunities.
The amount of people that turned to me and said I was wasting my time even thinking of enrolling in university and that I wouldn’t even pass the first semester of the course due to my lack of motivation and dedication was surreal and so I took it upon myself to ignore the negativity and stop attempting to please those around me and do what I wanted for myself for once which is where my self improvement journey really began even if it’s been railroaded along the way because I knew it was something that I truly desired to put all my time and effort into to look back on in the years to come as an achievement which has started already as I begin my final year soon enough.
But what has my journey been like so far?
At first the transition into studying for university level was extremely hard as it had been several years since I had been in an educational setting and so for me it was a whole new world as I couldn’t remember how to write academically or revise as well as what my learning style was and so most of the first year was spent transitioning into this new environment and learning new things that were so much out of my comfort zone such as how to reference and organise but looking back now and comparing the person I was back in 2017 to now I cannot believe how far that I have come and developed.
Back then I was a scared little girl navigating through each and everyday to try and survive where as now I am a lot more organised with my life and I know what I truly want to be now and I won’t stop for anything or anyone to achieve that in my life like I would have done back then. I was certainly more of a people pleaser constantly worrying about what others thought about me whereas now that is the complete opposite I am a lot less stressed and cluttered in the mind thanks to the countless years of study so far into the practices that psychologists use not only personally in their daily lives to help them to process what they come across but also what they encourage their clients to undertake over the years of treatment too.
But what are these practices that I speak of? Well let me go into that now…
1. Organisation: I’ve learned that over the years of study how much my life benefits from being organised not just mentally but physically too and so each and every day of my life I tend to organise my day to try and be as productive as possible especially on my days off instead of sleeping the day away and not achieving anything as for me I tend to feel a little more negative if I do nothing each and every day that I can reflect back on and to do this I organise my work spaces and my daily tasks through a bullet journal system which I will explain more below.
2. Bullet Journaling: Bullet journaling has become such a precious part of my daily routine especially when university is in session as I tend to keep all of my daily life schedule in one place from work, meetings and university study that I can use as a rough guideline to really knuckle down and schedule my time to achieve the best outcome each and everyday to make sure that I do the tasks that take priority with what little time that I have available.
3. Restorative Environments: Restorative environments have only been something I have known about for the past couple of years and I actually learned about this through my studies but whenever I feel a little overwhelmed from life for whatever reason I tend to take a step back and head to a place with fond memories from my past such as the local cistercian abbey and take a seat alone to think and recuperate a little whilst reflecting on good moments in my life that come from that area.
4. Mindfulness: I heard about mindfulness a few years back before even starting my degree study and at the time I honestly had no interest in really trying it out because I didn’t understand how meditation could work in anyway to help relieve stress caused by whatever reasons up until last year during my study we had to go in-depth about what mindfulness practice was and how it came to be. And so I decided to try it out especially because during the second half of last year I was really struggling with my mental health to the point I was behind on my university work and it has been one of the best decisions that I have ever made to take a little time out of each day to focus on myself and my personal wellbeing.
If you would like to know more about any of these topics and how they have helped me in my journey through university so far please let me know in the comments down below as I could do a whole blog post on each of those practices if given the chance but I am unsure if my readers would be interested in them and with all that being said that brings us to the end of todays post about how it all started and why I decided to enroll in my course and university of choice.
Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read this and please don’t forget to leave any comments or feedback in the comment section below or give me a like if you like what you read today!
See you on Wednesday ~ K.