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Celebrating Success Series: Nancy Tucker

11th September 2018

This is the first article in our 2018 news series celebrating the high performance of Pembroke undergraduate students and recent alumni in their examinations!

Nancy Tucker is about to commence her third year studying Experimental Psychology at Pembroke College. She recently performed at a very high level in her part 1 examinations, so we caught up with her to congratulate her on her success, find out more about her other achievements this year and how she would advise potential applicants considering studying Experimental Psychology at Oxford:

I enjoy learning about the different theories that try to explain human behaviour, and how experimental evidence can support or contradict them. Earlier this year my second book was published, That Was When People Started to Worry. The book looks at the lived experience of mental illness in young women. My first book was published the year before I came to Oxford, and I enjoyed writing a piece about it for one of the University magazines.

I was working on the second book alongside my degree, and (although it was sometimes stressful!) I liked having something creative to focus on as well as my studies. Writing the books has taught me a lot – perhaps most importantly how to cope with rejection, which is an unavoidable part of finding the right publisher.

Academically, it was useful to deepen my understanding of mental illness through research for the second book, as many psychology graduates go on to work in mental healthcare services. Since the book was published I have spoken at a few events dedicated to wellbeing in education, through which I have met some interesting people.

The Experimental Psychology course is very varied, and I appreciated the opportunity to explore a wide variety of areas and learn lots of new skills. In my second year, I particularly enjoyed the developmental psychology section of the course, as I used to work with children and was interested to learn more about the processes underlying typical and atypical child behaviour. I am now enjoying writing my dissertation, as I like being able to ask my own questions and explore a topic in depth. I am looking forward to the modules I will study over the coming year, as they are geared towards my interests.

It’s important to remember that Experimental Psychology is a scientific discipline, and we are encouraged to look at everything we learn in light of scientific principles – e.g. how we might conduct research into a phenomenon and what our hypotheses might be. I would encourage applicants to look for articles on subjects that interest them, and think about the questions raised in their minds by those articles. It’s great to have lots of questions because no one knows everything, even at Oxford!

Read more about Nancy's publications in this Guardian article.