Psychology alumna Nayara Sangiorgio graduated from London Met in 2018. We caught up with Nayara to hear about her university experience and to see what the future holds for her.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I was born and raised in Brazil, and my family moved to London 12 years ago. I fell in love with this city instantly. The diversity of London is so exciting and no, the weather never bothered me!
I love travelling. I volunteered to work as a mental health support worker in Sri Lanka in 2017. I lived there for five weeks and had an amazing experience.
Thinking back to before you started your psychology course, did you ever think you’d be where you are now?
Yes, it’s been a wonderful journey of self-discovery. I always knew it was going to be psychology for me because I was fascinated by the study of human behaviour and I was inspired by the work of Philip Zimbardo, Carl Jung, Daniel Kahneman, Amy Cuddy, and Christina Maslach.
I took the course because, like my academic heroes cited above, I was eager to know more about people and what drives us and the distinct operating mechanisms of our humanity.
Do you feel that going to university sends other people in your family or friendship circle a positive message?
Yes, I do. I think going to university teaches us to develop essential life skills such as timekeeping, organisation, teamwork and above all, critical thinking.
It's also an opportunity to get out of our comfort zones and to meet new people from diverse backgrounds and to cultivate friendships. I have made friends for life and they've had such a positive impact on my life.
How would you describe the journey you’ve been on?
Amazing! I met so many incredible people, learned a lot about myself and where I wanted to go professionally and personally.
Looking back now, I appreciate every lecture. The collective experience on campus was one of mutual support. I built friendships with people who lifted me and helped me along. We were all on a journey together and we had fun and we had this very supportive environment.
How has London Met and the course helped in that journey?
London Met is an outstanding institution. I didn’t think I could enjoy the learning process as much as I did. The University has very supportive lecturers who wanted us to succeed and be the best version of ourselves.
Through the process of preparing for final exams and writing the final year dissertation, there was so much support from the lecturers and the academic tutors.
What makes psychology a valuable degree?
Psychology is simply fascinating. It is in everything we do and affects how we think and the resulting outcome behaviour. Psychology can be used to understand the underlying mechanisms of our thought processes and decision-making as well as how we interact with others.
Do you feel that you’ve changed as a person through your experience?
Absolutely. I stretched emotional muscles I didn’t know I had. In my experience, it builds resilience and it kept me grounded and constantly challenging my ability to think critically.
What are you currently doing now?
I’m currently studying for an Organisational Psychiatry and Psychology MSc at King’s College London.
In the University, who has had the most impact on your development and why?
Everyone was great. But I am particularly thankful to Dr Chris Chandler for his patience and support and for making biopsychology fun to learn, Dr Paul Hutchison for his kindness and availability, and lastly to Dr Parveen Bhatarah who was my dissertation supervisor. Parveen allowed me to develop my hypotheses from my own topic of interest and she gave me autonomy to develop my research with insightful guidance. These are outstanding lecturers who made my academic journey a truly enjoyable experience. On a side note, the academic tutor Bernard Aidoo was a great asset to my learning as he was patient and helpful beyond words.
How has the Uni helped in terms of inspiring you?
I was particularly inspired by the lecturers. You know academia is such a beautiful journey but it can be overwhelming at times. The actress, Natalie Portman summed it best when she said “I don’t love studying, I hate studying. I like learning. Learning is beautiful.” Having people who have the patience and the love to support our learning makes it so much easier. The amount of support we received from these very busy lecturers meant a lot. I will always associate my undergraduate experience with love and respect for London Met. I met SLV.Global through the University, an organisation that provides psychology work experience abroad. This is something I did in the summer between my second and final year.
Tell us more about SLV.Global and your experience in Sri Lanka?
Chris sent us an email telling everyone about SLV.Global and letting us know that they were doing an information session at the University. I decided to go as I really liked the idea of gaining hands-on work experience abroad, meeting new people and taking myself very far from my comfort zone.
I contacted SLV.Global and was invited to an interview. They offered me a place during the summer and helped me with everything from getting my shots to booking my flight, meeting everyone on the programme, getting my visa. They helped me with everything!
I spent five weeks in Sri Lanka in the summer of 2017 as a Mental Health Activity Support Worker in a psychiatric facility as well as various settings for individuals living with mental health concerns. In addition to this, I taught English to young people whilst role modelling life skills to promote positive mental health and ran therapeutic activities for at-risk children and for individuals with special needs. I was living with a local family during my time away and fully immersed myself in the vibrant exciting culture of Sri Lanka. This experience, in particular, was the most challenging and also the most rewarding in my time there.
While in Sri Lanka I participated in workshops on drug addiction and shadowed a Psychiatrist for a day. I also took part in a workshop on Mindfulness and Meditation at Samuthãna, which is the King’s College London Resource Centre for Trauma Displacement and Mental Health in Sri Lanka. This placement has helped me learn more about my future career and what I want do to with my degree, and the kind of contribution I would like to make.
I have developed a bigger sense of community, teamwork and above all resilience from working in this particular environment. I also met lots of other psychology students from all over the world who were there doing the same thing as me. I’m still in touch with most of them. I loved the experience so much I became a Student Ambassador for SLV.Global.
What’s it been like studying among such diverse students?
The only way to build healthy interpersonal relationships is by spending time with people, I was fortunate to study with people from many different countries around the world, and learned things about them and their culture that I did not know. When we spend time with people from different backgrounds from our own we reduce biased opinions, it ends up supporting our own knowledge of ourselves too.
What’s next in your journey?
This is a big question. I would like to become a business psychologist and work as a consultant, supporting organisations to improve job satisfaction and engagement. I’m also enthusiastic about promoting wellbeing in the workplace and I’d love to teach later on in my career.
Are you proud to be London Met?
I am very proud to be a London Metropolitan alumna and to have been under the tutelage of such amazing lecturers.
I’m grateful to them for having made my learning experience fun, and I know I had mentioned this before, but I cannot emphasise enough the positive impact these teachers had on my experience and opinion of higher education.
If I become a teacher later on in my career these guys will serve as a point of reference to me.
I mean it when I say that London Met holds a special place in my heart, I had a wonderful and healthy academic experience, thanks to the support of the university team. I will always cherish it.
Can you describe your experience in one word?
Any advice for new students?
Stay curious, remember why you started, drink lots of water, and connect with people!