A Day in the Life of an Undergraduate Psychology Student at UMass Amherst

    Posted by Winnie Ching on Jan 24, 2018 1:52:48 PM

    In psychology, 2017, undergrad, a day in the life

    Every day is a little different with different classes and deadlines to keep up with so it is very important to plan ahead. One way to plan ahead is to keep a planner to jot down all the major deadlines and assigning yourself a reasonable amount of work to do each day to finish on time. Personally, I like to keep 3 planners, which may seem a bit excessive but it works well for me; I have one planner that includes the tasks I need to accomplish each day, one for planning my day hour by hour, and my monthly planner is for keeping track of important dates and deadlines. For others, using the calendar app on their phone may be just enough to stay on schedule. Everyone has their own preference and I would encourage everyone to find what works best for them. 

    I’ll be describing what a typical Friday is like for me.

    7am – My alarm goes off and starts ringing incessantly. I usually snooze my alarm about 3 times before I turn it off and wake up to get ready for the day.

    8am - By now I have already brushed my teeth, washed my face, and changed my clothes. I usually like to review my notes before class so that I can follow along better for the upcoming lecture. I’ll also use this time to complete any assignments I have time for before class starts. 

    9:30am - Before I head out to my first class of the day in the Tobin building, I’ll throw 2 granola bars in my backpack because I know I’ll need it later in the day. On most days my classes start at 10am and I like to get to class early so I can be ready to start taking notes as soon as class starts. My first class of the day is Behavioral Neuroendocrinology and it is a small honors class with 25 students. I would say this is one of the more difficult psychology classes and it’s great that it’s a small class because the professor can give more attention to each student and asking a question in class isn’t as intimidating as it would be in a big lecture class.

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    11am - Now that my first class has ended, I will be heading off to my second class, Interdisciplinary Directions in Psychology in the Thompson building. It’s a great class that provides students exposure to different careers in psychology and the lecturer gives students a lot of insight on diversity and how we should approach it.

    12:30pm - Class ends and now I have to rush to a lab meeting at Tobin because the meeting starts exactly when my class ends. I slip into the lab meeting hoping nobody would notice, especially the principal investigator, but of course everyone would notice the one person coming through the door and crawling to her seat.

     1:30pm - Our weekly lab meeting ends and I have an hour before my next class so I decide to buy lunch at Root’s Café because it’s conveniently close to Tobin. I decided to have a salad because I love the tofu they use in their salad. It’s very flavorful so I never feel the need to add extra dressing. As I’m eating my salad, I’ll do some reading for my next class, which is a seminar on the neurobiology of parental care and takes place in Morrill II building.

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     2:30pm - Class starts with my classmates giving a presentation on a chosen topic. Every Friday 2 students would present a research article and provide discussion questions to facilitate a discussion on the topic.

     3:45pm - Class ends and now I have to run back to Tobin to peer advise for the psychology department from 4 to 5pm.

     4pm-5pm I sit in the advising office and I assist students with a variety of things such as picking classes, making a plan for the upcoming semesters, and giving advice. I love this job because the interaction I’m having with my fellow classmates is mutually beneficial; I can answer questions they have about the major and they can educate me on their career path. Many students in the department are pursuing very different careers and as I become more knowledgeable on these careers, I can be of more help to students. During my downtime, I like to chat with the faculty advisor next door who happens to be my professor for the Interdisciplinary Directions in Psychology class I had in the late morning. I would highly encourage students to take time to connect with the faculty and express interest in the subject because you can learn so much more from the faculty outside of the classroom as well.

     5-6pm Peer advising has ended for the day so I make my way to Hampshire Dining Hall for dinner with my friends. We take this time to catch up and talk about our day.

     6-10pm Now I’m back in my dorm and I take out my planner to plan out the assignments I would like to have completed over the weekend. At this time, I can do whatever I want depending on the amount of homework I need to complete by the end of the weekend; if I have a lot of assignments due on the following Monday, I would get started on that. If I have a light workload for the weekend, I would watch TV shows and webcam with my family until it is time for bed.

     10-11pm At this time I’ll start getting ready to go to bed and I’m usually fast asleep by 11pm.


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