Katie-ann Gray graduated in 2023 with a BSc Psychology degree from Queen Margaret University (QMU), Edinburgh. She offers her top tips to those starting their university journey, how best to use the services available to you, and shares her experience as a 4th year living in student halls of residence on campus. 

Why did you choose to study at QMU? 

I chose to study at QMU as I’d heard from previous students that they had felt very supported throughout their studies by their professors and the University services. I knew this was highly important to me given how stressful I can often find studying. I also thought it was a much more welcoming university than some of the others I had visited. 

What interested you in psychology? 

I’ve always been interested in mental health and what informs human behavior. Prior to applying, I was studying Social Sciences at HNC level at West Lothian College and was then delighted to be accepted into the 2nd year of BSc Psychology and Sociology at QMU as I had always wanted to go to university. When I then learned it was possible to transfer directly from that course to BSc Psychology, I realised this was the best choice for me as it was accredited and more suited to my interests. 

What attracted you to study in Edinburgh?  

"I’ve always loved Edinburgh - the history, the architecture, and of course, the many cafes which are perfect studying spots!"

How did it feel moving from your home city? 

Once COVID-19 restrictions finally began to ease and in-person classes could go ahead again, I was really excited to finally move to the city. I lived in the student halls at QMU for my 4th year, which was exciting, but brought its own unique challenges. I missed home, but I’m so glad I did it as the memories I formed with my roommates made it all worthwhile. Consider investing in a pair of earplugs and research your accommodation options – these are the best bits of advice I can offer for moving! 

What did you most enjoy about your course?  

My dissertation was the highlight of my course for me as I really enjoyed the subject and the freedom to research what interested me. My supervisor was also fantastic and so supportive – even though I’ve now graduated, we still keep in touch, which is wonderful. I doubt my experience would have been similar at a larger university. The lecturers were always very encouraging and happy to elaborate further when I had questions. They were also very friendly and passionate about their respective subjects. 

What were some of the challenges you faced with the course and university life?  

The stress of balancing university work alongside other responsibilities was probably the most challenging aspect. Talking to friends, sticking to a routine, and utilising the lecturers helped me overcome this. 

Do you have any advice for students who might be interested in applying for the BSc Psychology course at QMU? 

Don’t be afraid of the classes on statistics! You don’t have to necessarily understand numbers to work in this field. Also, having an idea of what area of psychology you want to pursue is great, but be open to other options, don’t limit yourself to one path! 

Did you use any QMU student services? 

The Wellbeing Service at QMU helped me with problems I was having with my accommodation outside of the University. They chased up the right people for me when I was too stressed and confused on how to solve the problem. It’s a great service and they were so lovely throughout. 

What’s your ‘top tip’ for making the most out of being a student? 

"Putting yourself out there – got a research idea you’d like to explore? Reach out to a lecturer! An event is happening at the University? Go and check it out! Don’t limit yourself to your studies if you have spare time!"

What has been the most valuable lesson that you’ve learned at university? 

I’m more capable than I think. 

What have you been doing since graduating? 

I’m currently studying an MSc in Clinical Health Psychology which has been challenging and interesting so far. When that’s complete, I’m open to options in further academia and research. Ultimately, I hope to be a practicing psychologist, although I doubt I’ll ever want to stop being a student!