Russell Sharp, Alumni, School of Psychology

Russell Sharp

After my undergraduate Psychology degree at Leeds, I worked as a Teaching Assistant for two years in a school with a range of young people with additional needs. I then worked for Leeds City Council as an Inclusion worker, supporting a range of vulnerable young people. Following this, I had an opportunity to work for the BBC and I went undercover in the British Army to investigate bullying. I was undercover for six months and the whole project took over two years and ended up on national TV. I recently wrote a book about the experience and used the unique story to present a range of psychology theories from my undergraduate degree / doctoral research and current professional role focussed on the concept of resilience and mental wellbeing. 

As I practice as a Psychologist, the direct teaching of psychology theory and its application have been invaluable and a secure grounding. On the way to being a professional psychologist, the wider aspects of the degree supported my work through the many transferable skills around research, writing, thinking skills, social skills, organisational skills and more. The whole undergraduate experience at university beyond the classroom enabled my social and emotional maturity as well and opened me up to wide and diverse experiences that helped me grow as a person.

If I could, the advice I would give to myself now whilst studying would be you never know what information will end up being useful at different points in your life, even if it doesn’t seem so meaningful at the time, so treat it all like gold dust. Savor the classroom based and non-class class room based aspects of the university as it is all part of a journey of development. Keep working hard, but don’t stress too much getting any particular assignment ‘right’, as there will always be different perspectives on any subject and more to learn about the same topic in the future. Well done for the effort you put in.