Skip to main content

"Studying changed me so much as a person that I decided to have a baby"

Hannah Wilson graduated from a Master’s in Organizational Psychology in 2022. Hannah is a Senior Lecturer and Programme Manager within a management school in the North of England. Undertaking her Birkbeck degree completely changed Hannah’s perspective about herself and her abilities.

Hannah Wilson and her baby
Hannah Wilson and her baby

Struggling with my mental health  

Before deciding to do a Master’s degree, I was suffering with depression and anxiety as diagnosed, and was really struggling with my self-confidence. I knew to overcome this, I needed to do something for me, and I needed to learn. I found Birkbeck, and decided it was the perfect option as I could continue working as an academic whilst studying part-time over two years. This was the challenge I had been searching for that was just for me. 

I tackled my imposter syndrome head on 

Initially I found studying challenging. I found I was putting pressure on myself due to my tendency for perfectionism and I had to find the confidence to be reviewed and do assignments. I had massive imposter syndrome at that time, so coping with anxiety around assignments was a challenge. I pushed myself through it, spoke to other people on the course and my lecturers, and just went at it. It wasn’t long before my confidence started to rebuild with the support I had from my lecturers and people on my course, as well as the extra support I received from Birkbeck for my dyslexia.  

I decided to start a family and pursue opportunities in work 

Doing my Master’s at Birkbeck boosted my self-esteem in all areas of my life. I felt confident in my decisions, in my knowledge and skills and that I can face many challenges that life threw at me. So much so that I decided that it was the right time to have a baby - before studying, my confidence was so low that I wasn’t ready to have children. Studying also reaffirmed I was able to do my job and was more open to opportunities in work, that when the right one came up I was delighted to accept and knew that I would be able to succeed.  

I didn't need to move from Liverpool 

I was based in Warrington and during my degree I went to the Birkbeck campus for workshops. I found meeting the people on my course in-person really beneficial and we still have a WhatsApp group which people post on regularly – it’s a great community to have. 

The lecturers made the course interesting for everyone 

The academics were just brilliant and so engaging. They had both practical and theoretical knowledge, and the course was suitable for students from all different kinds of backgrounds. They made teaching inclusive, including different workshops, opportunities for discussion and engaging and challenging theoretical discussions that challenged how we thought about work, the world and ourselves.  

The course has made me want to pursue activism work 

Women are often disadvantaged at work and the course really inspired me to try and support women’s experiences in the workplace. Coming back to work as a mother has been eye-opening and I’m keen to become a breastfeeding support worker. I’ve found a course to enroll on - that will be the first step and then I’ll see where else it takes me. 

I felt a part was missing 

I’d already done an undergraduate degree and a PhD before starting at Birkbeck, but due to my imposter syndrome I always questioned if there was a gap in my theoretical knowledge because I hadn’t done a Master’s degree. Undertaking the degree that bridged that gap between the theory and knowing how to go out into the world and practice as an organizational psychologist has been incredibly useful, and it’s meant I’m better equipped to teach my students and support them with what they want to do in the future. 

Further Information