I won! I cant believe it. thanks so much to everyone who voted
St Andrews School, Ashtead, Surrey 1986-1990 (GCSEs and A Levels)
1992 Middlesex University (English degree); 2005-2008 London Metropolitan University (Diploma in Psychology & Masters in Sport Psychology)
Since becoming a psychologist I have worked at a weight loss camp for children and teens, and in South African township schools giving sport psychology workshops. Before that I worked in telecommunications for 10 years doing project management. And before that all sorts of things including an internet cafe and cleaning jobs
I am a self employed sport and exercise psychologist, based in London but I travel all over the world
One of the benefits of working in sport psychology is the variation in the work I do each day, especially as I am self employed. My work and activities fall into four main categories.
1. Continuing to develop and improve my skills
This might include reading papers and books, meeting other psychologists, and attending training courses and conferences
Because psychology is a science, I also have do scientific research or write scientific papers. In the past I have researched what athletes think about performance enhancing drugs and also what kinds of things might help people do more exercise. My latest piece of writing is looking at something athletes have, called “mental toughness”, and whether it is always a good thing to be mentally tough.
3. Practical psychology (applied psychology)
This is the real nuts and bolts of my work and where I get most pleasure and satisfaction. I work with individuals and teams to help them improve their sport performance (like cope with nerves about a competition or work together better as a team). I also work with people who want to improve their health by increasing the amount of exercise they do. These people need help to start a new exercise routine and stick with it, and often need to get more confidence about doing it, especially if they are overweight and feel self-conscious going to the gym or doing sports. I have had several great experiences so far, including working at a weight loss camp, working in South Africa, and next year I am hoping to work on the team of psychologists who support runners in one of the international Marathons.
4. Teaching and communication about psychology
I don’t work in a university or school, so the way that I do the teaching and communicating part of my job is mostly by giving talks about sport and exercise psychology at sports clubs or gyms, and writing on my blog or writing other articles for magazines. I like this bit of my job too because I think psychology is so interesting and I would love other people to think so too. That’s why I was so pleased to be selected for “I’m a Scientist”.
My Typical Day:
I might start the day working on an article or blog I am writing, or do some background reading for my latest research project. I also try to spend time looking at new opportunities for work (like chatting to gym managers who might want me to come and give a talk). Then I would maybe see one or two clients (exercisers or sports people/teams) then write up my notes after those sessions
What I'd do with the prize money:
I would use the money to create videos and podcasts about sport psychology topics that I could send back to the township schools in South Africa where I worked and to other underprivileged schools
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
organised, impatient, talkative
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Yes I was. I never wore the correct school uniform as I was trying to find my own style, and they were pretty strict back then. Also, I used to always try to get out of PE (which is ironic considering the work I do now)
Who is your favourite singer or band?
The Nextmen are my favourite hip hop DJs, but GaGa is most often on my gym playlist
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
(1) have no regrets (2) find the confidence to try new things, and even fail at them (3) make money doing what I enjoy
Tell us a joke.
How many psychologists does it take to change a lightbulb? One, but the light bulb has got to WANT to change