33 years old, thinking of studying Psychology

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alltrapbrah
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Hi all,

So... here am I at 33 years of age, and I'm thinking of returning to education as a means to address my unfulfilling working life. Since 21 (post uni), I've basically drifted from one unskilled low paid job to another, and I can't continue this way unless I want to end up utterly depressed in my later years...

The way I see it, odds are good I'm going to have to spend the rest of my life working, so I figure the only rational course of action is to make sacrifices in the short-term (i.e. putting the hours in studying) so that I can perhaps have some semblence of a meaningful career in the long-term.

I've been meditating on this issue for 6 to 12 months now, and the answer I've arrived at is to study Psychology.

Why?

Well... my interest in psychology is perhaps the only consistent theme of my adult life. I've flirted with other interests, dabbled in this, that or the other, but the ONE thing I always return to is psychology.

Having looked at my options (or lack thereof rather), I'm pretty certain that the route I'll go is to study Psychology at the Open University, mainly because it's seemingly the only option I can afford.
I can't go to a brick uni full-time because A) I'm ineligible for loans (having done Bachelors degree already) and B) I just can't afford all the other stuff (food, accommodation, etc) without an income.

My plan is to see how the OU course goes, and if I find I'm progressing well, then perhaps in 6 years or so I could pursue a masters at a brick university (as I'll be eligible for student finance once again and maybe have a bit more money saved), and perhaps go even further beyond that.

I'm pretty certain that this is the course of action I'll take, but regardless, I thought I'd post here to get insight/opinions from other folk, and to see if anyone can relate or perhaps has some ideas I haven't thought of.

Note: I suspect there might be questions about my prevous degree - it was a BSc (Hons) in Computer Science, and I "achieved" a Third. I rate it as one of the biggest mistake I've made in my life thus far.
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G97D
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I think it’s never too late to go back into education (or do anything for that matter) so I wanna say good on you for making this final decision. It doesn’t matter where you study as an education is still an education anywhere. Being older and wiser puts you at an advantage anyway so you’ll breeze through the year. I have so many mature students in my lectures (I’m 21 studying building engineering) and I can say they know a lot more than us younger folk😂 I think it’s amazing you’re choosing to do this for yourself and I wish you the very best in your studies.
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hannah00
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Given that you are 33 years old, perhaps study a subject that is more employable or vocational.

Rather than one that is at the back of NHS funding priorities
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ElectricWarrior
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33 is still very young for a man
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Realitysreflexx
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Several fronts here sorry this may come off a bit negative,

1) psychology anywhere is a risk and frankly not a hot field, but from OU forget it. Maybe a more modern economics or business qualification?
2) i feel like your trying make up for a third, but your experience should at this point why not just switch jobs?
3) You have a sought after degree in a hot booming field why not a CS masters? Im afraid its too late to chase the dreams of psychology imo at your age, as you want a stable high paying career.

Im currently in a similar situation im working in my first degree at 28 (headed into year 2 now) and also will be 31 when i get my masters finished, so i have done thinking on this myself age/qualification wise and have tried to make sure i tailor my qualifications to the current jobs market more then anything. Currently psychology is simply not in demand or growing in the slightest and would be an unwise qualification to invest precious time into.
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009674
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i think its amazing that you want to go back in to education. maybe someone like you can make a difference. i wish you all the best
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futonface
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I'm really interested to know why you feel your computer science degree was a big mistake? My brothers doing the same degree and is struggling, he's not sure whether to stick with it and maybe get a third or drop out. Is it worth all the stress for him to carry on? (He's in second year going into third, might have to re-do some modules).
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Anagogic
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If you're interested in psychology why not look at doing neuroscience instead?
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goggleyed
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Never to late to go back into education. When I was at uni I was actually one of the youngest people there, literally half the people in my seminars were between 30-45. and most 33 years olds (that I've seen anyway) can usually pass for 25. I'm sure its the same in your case

As for the course itself, never anything wrong with gaining some knowledge in pyschology. What are your plans with that degree though? Do you want to go on to becoming a psychologist because a friend of mine who has studied psychology says its a hard field to get into. There are of course other career choices within the medical field though that are likely to take on someone with a psychology degree. not saying that to thwart your plans, I could be completely wrong, just letting you know what i heard. either way, if its what YOU want, you should go for it.
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Muserock
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Good for you. I also returned to Education so I know the challenges of studying as a mature student but it is worth it!

I just wonder, could you do a conversion course rather than complete a new degree?
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Allie4
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How much does it cost to do that degree in an open university? are you taking out a student loan to do it?
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alltrapbrah
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(Original post by Realitysreflexx)
Several fronts here sorry this may come off a bit negative,

1) psychology anywhere is a risk and frankly not a hot field, but from OU forget it. Maybe a more modern economics or business qualification?
2) i feel like your trying make up for a third, but your experience should at this point why not just switch jobs?
3) You have a sought after degree in a hot booming field why not a CS masters? Im afraid its too late to chase the dreams of psychology imo at your age, as you want a stable high paying career.

Im currently in a similar situation im working in my first degree at 28 (headed into year 2 now) and also will be 31 when i get my masters finished, so i have done thinking on this myself age/qualification wise and have tried to make sure i tailor my qualifications to the current jobs market more then anything. Currently psychology is simply not in demand or growing in the slightest and would be an unwise qualification to invest precious time into.
All good questions.

1) This was/is actually a big concern of mine. My friend linked me some articles that highlight how poor the return is (financially speaking) on a psychology degree. I also get the impression you need to go the distance (masters, pHD, etc) to make it worth one's while, and to top it all off, it's also brutally competitive so you likely need to be the BEST in the game.
But having said all that, I'm of the mindset that it's crucially important to do what you're interested in. I think a big problem in the world right now is that we have too many people doing things they're unsuitable for simply because they pay well.

2) If anything, it's the opposite, which is to say that my poor experience at University put me off returning to study for the longest time, and created doubts about whether I could hack it. And another reason why I'm strongly considering returning to education is that I'm having an absolute nightmare trying to move into more interesting jobs. It's quite clear that, to the wider world, i'm little more than what's on my CV.

3) We clearly speak different languages in this regard - I'll take a fulfilling and interesting career over high-paying any day, especially whilst i'm still youngish.
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alltrapbrah
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(Original post by Allie4)
How much does it cost to do that degree in an open university? are you taking out a student loan to do it?
A bit over £17,000, when it's all said done. But stretched over 6 years, I could self fund it entirely.

I'm also ineligible for loans for further Bachelors degrees due to the fact I already have one.
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alltrapbrah
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(Original post by Muserock)
Good for you. I also returned to Education so I know the challenges of studying as a mature student but it is worth it!

I just wonder, could you do a conversion course rather than complete a new degree?
This did cross my mind, but I never really looked into it because I suspected that the entry requirements for any conversion course are likely a minimum of 2:2. Most are probably 2:1.

I got a Third.
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MadamePompadour
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What area of Psychology are you interested in? Child/Education Psychology is very much in demand. CAMHS are getting more and more in demand every year and they cannot find enough child psychologists to fill the posts. Also Occupational Psychology is a growing sector with the public sector using them to keep staff at work instead of signing off work long term sick with stress related illnesses. Im a lot older than you and doing the Bsc Psychology with OU. When I qualify I will still have 18 years working until I retire at 69. You will have more than a quarter of a century working life after qualifying so plenty of time.
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alltrapbrah
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(Original post by goggleyed)
As for the course itself, never anything wrong with gaining some knowledge in pyschology. What are your plans with that degree though? Do you want to go on to becoming a psychologist because a friend of mine who has studied psychology says its a hard field to get into. There are of course other career choices within the medical field though that are likely to take on someone with a psychology degree. not saying that to thwart your plans, I could be completely wrong, just letting you know what i heard. either way, if its what YOU want, you should go for it.
I'd like to be a clinical psychologist, BUT...

Such a goal is premature at this point, and several years down the line my interests within psychology might go somewhere I haven't anticipated. Maybe I go into marketing/advertising, or work within prisons, or become a researcher... who knows.

All I know is that my life keeps throwing me clue after clue that I really should channel my energies into psychology, or something of that ilk.
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alltrapbrah
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(Original post by MadamePompadour)
What area of Psychology are you interested in? Child/Education Psychology is very much in demand. CAMHS are getting more and more in demand every year and they cannot find enough child psychologists to fill the posts. Also Occupational Psychology is a growing sector with the public sector using them to keep staff at work instead of signing off work long term sick with stress related illnesses. Im a lot older than you and doing the Bsc Psychology with OU. When I qualify I will still have 18 years working until I retire at 69. You will have more than a quarter of a century working life after qualifying so plenty of time.
All areas of psychology interest me.

Frankly, to really understand how people think and behave, I think you need to have an interest in all areas. For example, I don't think you could have a decent understanding of criminals had you not a decent understanding of child psychology, because all criminals were children at some time or another.

But I suppose what you're asking me is what would I perhaps like to specialise in.

I'm not sure, but I think it's something that will reveal itself as I progress.

I'd like to work with criminals, but children and family psychology are fascinating too.
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Claire461
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(Original post by alltrapbrah)
All areas of psychology interest me.

Frankly, to really understand how people think and behave, I think you need to have an interest in all areas. For example, I don't think you could have a decent understanding of criminals had you not a decent understanding of child psychology, because all criminals were children at some time or another.

But I suppose what you're asking me is what would I perhaps like to specialise in.

I'm not sure, but frankly I think it's something that will reveal itself as I progress.

I think I'd like to work with criminals, but children and family psychology are fascinating too.
I would say go for it. I didn’t do psychology but just completed my undergraduate in Criminology this summer and I’m 70. More and more people going into degrees now. One of my daughters did her nursing degree at 42 and my youngest daughter is 35 doing a Law degree.
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chazwomaq
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(Original post by alltrapbrah)
All areas of psychology interest me.

Frankly, to really understand how people think and behave, I think you need to have an interest in all areas. For example, I don't think you could have a decent understanding of criminals had you not a decent understanding of child psychology, because all criminals were children at some time or another.

But I suppose what you're asking me is what would I perhaps like to specialise in.

I'm not sure, but frankly I think it's something that will reveal itself as I progress.

I think I'd like to work with criminals, but children and family psychology are fascinating too.
I'm a psychology lecturer around your age. I really like your attitude above about being interested in all areas of psychology.

However, I would warrant caution. Many psychology students want to be professional psychologists. Very few will. For example, clinical psych is understandably the most popular. But it is extremely competitive to get a place on a clin psych doctoral programme. You will be competing against the top from Oxbridge etc. Chances to actually work with criminals as a psychologist are also very few (unless you become a police constable!).

Now you can still go into many non-psychology careers. The most popular for my students is teaching. But a psychology degree from the OU is unlikely to be the answer to your problems in terms of becoming a professional psychologist. It may give you a chance, but only a small one. If that is OK with you, psychology is a great degree and you will learn loads of interesting stuff (and the odd bit of nonsense!).
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alltrapbrah
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(Original post by Anagogic)
If you're interested in psychology why not look at doing neuroscience instead?
Now this is an interesting suggestion, and definitely something I'm rather curious about.

What's the typical pathway for such a field? I've noticed that the OU doesn't have any courses in neuroscience.
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