Name and course:
Ashley Durkin, BSc Psychology
Police Constable, Police Now - West Mercia Police
Assistant to a Charity Director, BeTr Foundation
Why did you choose to study at Aston?
I was a serving Special Constable for West Mercia Police throughout my time at Aston University and so I wanted to study somewhere that had good travel networks enabling me to continue my volunteering, while also attending a respected University which has a great campus environment.
How did the quality of teaching and student support enhance your time at Aston?
Lecturers are easy to meet up with should you need extra support and I always felt they were approachable following a lecture and willing to discuss any topics I was struggling with. Aston Replay enables lectures to be watched back in your own time and is such a good tool!
What was the highlight of your time at Aston?
Meeting great friends from all around the UK and even wider communities has definitely changed me for the better. Meeting people from other backgrounds and soon becoming friends really helps grow your confidence and interpersonal skills.
How do you feel your placement prepared you for your future career?
As a Police Officer my placement provided me with a great opportunity to learn about the psychological stresses myself, my colleagues and members of the public could encounter following a traumatic incident (e.g. following an assault from a criminal or being involved in or responding to a road traffic collision). Working alongside firefighters and police services I learnt about current Occupational Health responses to emergency personnel who sought assistance for mental health related concerns. Working with my supervisor I helped promote an alternative response to poor mental health within major police and fire services, practices which are currently helping emergency personnel with the pressures and impacts their work can have on them.
What was the highlight of your placement experience?
Assisting in the training of a peer support team which enables firefighters to support one another, reducing the mental burden of emergency work and promoting peer support from fellow firefighters.
Were you involved in any student societies or extra-curricular activities that you feel added to your Aston experience?
"Serving as a Special Constable with West Mercia Police definitely provided me with a fantastic opportunity to experience what work as a Police Officer really involves and how it really is a fantastic career if you want to make a positive impact on people's lives. I feel this voluntary work really complimented my psychology studies. I was also a member of the Aston Thai Boxing and MMA society which provided a great weekly workout and stress buster with some great people! "
How did you find the Aston campus experience?
Living within Mary Sturge for all my years at Aston allowed me to really focus on my studies, personal life and professional development as my security, comfort and amenities were all ensured and nearby. It is great being able to live so close to the University building as within 5 minutes I could go from sitting on my bed to being in a lecture. The small campus is also great as a trip to the library or gym will involve you saying hello to at least one person you know allowing you to never feel like you're at university alone or without friends nearby.
What was the best thing about being a student in Birmingham?
Having all the major shops, numerous travel links and a great student night life Birmingham has everything a student could need.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of studying at Aston?
If the course is right for you then do it, there is no reason for not liking your time at Aston University!
What would be your top recommendation to new students on what to do or see in Birmingham?
I would recommend a trip to the Sea Life Centre for something different to do and also walk along the canals when you need to take a break from studying.
If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice as a first year student, what would it be?
Enjoy first year more! The following years get harder!!
Psychology BSc course page.