Yasmine Lau is a qualified CBT Therapist as well as a 1st year Trainee Clinical Psychologist at Royal Holloway. Yasmine shares her journey onto the doctorate and how she survived interviews!
What was your favourite prequalification role and why?
I would have to say my MSc in Mental Health Studies at King's College London. Firstly, I loved the postgraduate aspect at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, there was such a community there too. I met a lot of people, colleagues and those involved in my dissertation, who I admire in terms of their work ethic and general attitude towards life. My supervisor was really supportive too and I did a placement in St Thomas’ hospital Evelina Hospital which I absolutely loved and learnt a lot.
Did you include information about being from a BAME background in your application or interview?
Yes I did, I was hesitant at first to select on the demographics what ethnicity I am, which I think on my part is a shame, but recognising this is due to my subconscious biases I decided to be transparent on my application. I didn’t include any written information as part of my application though.
How many times did you apply to the doctorate before you gained a place?
How did you prepare for your interview?
To be honest I was very relaxed about the interview as I wasn’t expecting one and I was quite pessimistic about the process that I had almost given up on the idea of getting on the course. Also as it was lockdown it meant I had more time to myself to do self care (baths, walks, yoga, watching lord of the rings), so naturally, I was more relaxed. I went through potential questions they could ask, did a few practices with my friends who also had interviews. Otherwise, I tried not to overthink it as much as possible.
What was one piece of advice that really helped you on your journey into training?
One of my ex-colleagues and friend always used to tell me to remember my whole self as in, all the experiences I’ve had, all of who I am is not boxed into just one category. We are multifaceted and to remember that in the application and interview process. Also to show myself too. I found this helped me to relax and really just show my personality and why I wanted this.
What advice would you give for success at interviews?
Similar to above, doing what you can to stay calm, take care of yourself fully and doing whatever it takes as part of that. For me that is yoga, face masks, baths, candles, walks, connecting with friends. Try not to overthink the questions, not allowing it to be bigger than it is and showing myself and being myself.
Did you have an unsuccessful application after interview (could be previous years)? If so what did you learn from that experience?
Yes I had an unsuccessful interview at UEL a couple of years ago. To be honest, I wasn’t in a great space in my own mind and personal life at the time so mentally, I wasn’t ready for the interview and couldn’t give it my all. But the one thing I took was that it isn’t everything to get onto this, and it doesn’t mean anything bad about you if you don’t get on this year.
Your time will come if that’s what you really wish for and every experience you have (work and personal) will undoubtedly add to you as a person and can help towards your application and interview another year. Practically, I learnt tips just to stay calm before the interview such as deep breathing and practicing self-talk weeks beforehand, so that I could be actively listening and present during the interview and being able to answer the question fully.
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