From Undergraduate to Postgraduate: why Tamsyn chose Bath for each stage of her studies.

Final year PhD student Tamsyn Hawken talks about why she chose the University of Bath...and stayed.

Photograph of Tamsyn Hawken
Tamsyn Hawken, final year PhD student in the Department of Psychology

I came to the University of Bath in 2009 as an Undergraduate student studying Psychology. I went on to complete my Masters (MSc) in Health Psychology and now I’m in the final year of my PhD in Health Psychology. My research focusses on stress, coping and resilience with a particular focus on young carers. I’m now in the final stages of collecting data and am beginning to write up my thesis, so it’s a very busy time.

I’m the first person in my family to go to University and coming from a very small rural village in Cornwall, with a population of around 50, it was a big move and a big decision for me. I looked at lots of Universities, but Bath was the first place where I felt at home and where I didn’t feel too small. Environment was a really important factor for me, in terms of making me feel at home and my productivity. I loved the campus setting and how green the surroundings were, in particular the lakeside. By the time I came to do my MSc, I didn’t feel ready to leave. And by the time I came to do my PhD, I still wasn’t ready, especially as I could see how my department was growing, developing and innovating - so it’s always held my interest.

During my time at Bath, both the University and my Department have been extremely supportive of me personally and academically. They have made me feel supported and cared for, and like my individual needs, beyond being a student, have been met. My Department gives me the freedom to do things outside of Bath and because of its reputation within Higher Education, I get asked to be involved with lots of exciting projects outside of the University.

As a doctoral student, you need to feel supported to make the right decisions, but also supported if you make a mistake. Knowing I’ve had that support behind me has encouraged me to push the boundaries and take more risks.

My advice to new students, just starting out at Bath, would be to prioritise self-care. You’re a person before you’re a PhD student and you’re a person ALL of the time. If you feel like there is something holding you back, no matter how big or small, speak to Student Services and see if there is support available that can enable you to reach your potential.

‘By the time I came to do my MSc, I didn’t feel ready to leave. And by the time I came to do my PhD, I still wasn’t ready, especially as I could see how my department was growing, developing and innovating - so it’s always held my interest.’
Tamsyn Hawken, Department of Psychology

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