• Charlotte

Project blog: Student views on diversity #2

This week's powerful post comes from Kirstie Pope, following on from Rebecca, who is also a student on our Developing Child module. Over to Kirstie for her views:

The main reason I feel so passionate The Developing Child is because I don’t fit in the ‘normal’ box either. I’m a part-time student, a full time young carer and battling cancer on a daily basis. I can usually be found in warm corners, most likely with a book. None of my life has ‘gone to plan’ or followed the normal trajectory, but I’m ok with that. I’m currently in my fifth year of a three year degree and I’ve still got a way to go. Life gets in the way sometimes, however I really do believe that the things we learn outside the classroom are just as important as the things we learn inside.

‘There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle, because we do not live single-issue lives.’ – Audre Lorde.

Occasionally I sit in lectures thinking ‘this is of no use to me now, but hopefully it will help me in the future.’ Maybe one day I’ll become a clinical psychologist or an academic in the field, then I really will need to know about chi-squared or the endocrine system. Right now, I’m just pleased I can still remember the terms.

The Developing Child is not one of those lectures. I never thought one module could change my perspective on life, but it has. That may sound like an exaggeration, but I can promise you it’s not. Hear me out…

We’ve looked at race, gender, age, socioeconomic status, privileges, inequalities, diversities and adversities. We didn’t even have to step outside of the classroom to do that. Within that room, the main thing (in most cases the only thing) we have in common is the fact that we’re all studying psychology at uni. No two of us share the same life experiences. We might be put into the same box by society, but we’ve all had different journeys and because of that, all have different stories.  The developing child has enabled us to ask questions many would not dare… Does growing up in care really have an impact? Are children more than just witnesses to domestic violence? Are those with disabilities further handicaped by society? Can your skin colour affect your opportunities? Does being a woman really restrict us in this day and age? Do we still have a class divide in 2018? YES, the answer to all of these questions is yes!

We’ve pulled apart ‘normal’ and focused on context. I didn’t even know what intersectionality meant before October, yet now I see it everywhere. Those statistics that politian is shouting about, they were collected by a retired, white middle-class, privately educated male. But that’s ok, I’m sure he’s the best person to report on the discrimination of young black men in our mental health system. This module has made me increasingly aware about the journal articles I use in my assignments. For the first time, I’m looking at the names on the top of the page and thinking about the influence that could have on their research. You probably wouldn’t ask your brother which tampons he thinks are best. So why would you ask a white, middle class, privately educated male about the treatment of ethnic minority females in UK state schools?

I walk away from this workshop each week wanting to change things and knowing that I can. Maybe I won’t be able to change the world. I doubt I’ll ever get to tell Donald Trump what I think of him and  I probably won’t be able to abolish the gender pay gap either, but I do have a voice. This module has taught me things that matter, things that REALLY matter and they matter now. It’s changed the way I think, the things I read and consequently what I write. By not challenging injustice, you might as well be supporting it.

We’re the next generation of psychologists, researchers and problem solvers. We have the power to highlight what is wrong and push for what is right. This module has taught me that each and every one of us will have obstacles, challenges and reasons why we’re not treated as fairly as others, but it has also taught me that you don’t have to accept anything at face value. The best way to conquer adversity is to tackle it head on.

Share your thoughts over on Twitter! @CharlotteJD

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