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Vicky Garfield

BSc Psychology

Vicky Garfield started a part-time BSc in Psychology aged 20. She was attracted to Birkbeck, University of London, due to its central London location and its diverse student body, both in terms of cultures and ages.

Vicky said: 'Many of the students were older than your traditional school leavers, and came from very different backgrounds. The teaching style was very interactive and encouraged interesting discussions.'

Determined to work and study at the same time, Vicky worked throughout her four-year degree in various roles, including at a call centre, as a child minder, a data analyst and in special educational needs. Vicky said: 'It was difficult combining work and study, but the benefits definitely outweighed the disadvantages. Your social life suffers, but being able to work and study at the same time is beneficial. I knew I wouldn't have any debt when I left because I was earning and learning, and that was important to me.'

Vicky really enjoyed the course, particularly her dissertation on behavioural genetics and the overlap between autism and ADHD in children. She said: 'The teaching was great, and the support from the tutors and lecturers was really good.' Her studies at Birkbeck convinced her that she should embark on an academic career, and she is a long way toward achieving her ambition. After Birkbeck, Vicky completed an MSc in Research Methods in Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London, and she is now studying a PhD in Genetic Epidemiology at University College London. Her research, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, is about the genetics of obesity and well-being.

Vicky added: 'I have stayed in touch with both friends and academics at Birkbeck. All of my friends who have studied at Birkbeck are now successful. I would not be studying my PhD now if it was not for my studies at Birkbeck.'

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'I would not be studying my PhD now if it was not for my studies at Birkbeck.'