A Placement & A Pandemic: the first 6 months of my Environmental Psychology placement year.

Image of me sitting outside

What is Environmental Psychology?

For those of you that don’t know, Environmental Psychology is all about how we as humans interact with our physical environment, including both how the environment can impact us, such as natures’ influences on our wellbeing, but also how we can impact the environment and how this can be changed, for example through psychological interventions. The EPRG is a group at the University researching all aspects of these people-environment interactions.

Working from home

When I secured my placement in the Environmental Psychology Research Group (EPRG) here at Surrey, I had never imagined 99% of it would be from the desk in my bedroom at home (an irony, considering what I have since learnt about the impact of physical environments on people). As my start date in July neared it became clearer as time went by that working from home, at least for part of the year, was inevitable. Although slightly disappointed at first, thinking about the opportunities I could be missing out on, such as meeting new people and gaining new skills, it soon became clear that working from home was not going to change this and I have since discovered it’s benefits (e.g. the very short commute from bed to desk).

My PTY experience

As a research assistant, I have been working on lots of different projects, ranging from a collaboration with Natural England exploring digital nature use and wellbeing during lockdown, to authoring my own chapter in a book! It is safe to say the friendly EPRG team have got me involved with a load of different and challenging tasks.

Although only 6 months in, I believe my placement year has been a great experience not only in terms of the work I have been a part of, but I know that the skills and knowledge I have gained will be invaluable for my post-grad life, as well as the guidance in career direction it has provided me. Working from home and 2020 as a whole have definitely had some challenges, but I am grateful that I was still able to gain so much and make the most of working in such a great research group.

Overall, I have thoroughly enjoyed my placement year so far and am looking forward to the next 6 months in the EPRG – whether they be working from home or not!