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Monica Faulkner - MSc Applied Psychology

Monica Faulkner
A student and self-employed single mum from Edinburgh found the energy, optimism, and resilience while tackling a chronic medical condition and a myriad of responsibilities to graduate with a master’s in applied psychology.

Monica Faulkner (46) crossed the virtual stage of Robert Gordon University’s graduation celebration in front of a global audience of peers, alumni and family to accept her MSc in Applied Psychology on Friday 4 December.

“As a single mum of three lovely girls—two teenagers, and a soon to be teenager—I am hugely proud of myself,” said Monica.

Family responsibilities and a pandemic weren’t the only obstacles that Monica had to overcome to succeed in her studies. She unfortunately and suddenly, suffered from a chronic medical condition in her first year.

Monica adds: “I had just started and was in year one, almost at the end of semester one when I fell ill. I didn’t recover fully until the end of my first year. I also had family problems at that time, therefore, I am immensely proud of myself that I could finish on schedule with no resits.”

As a self-employed consultant and qualified coach, Monica showed great resilience and self-determination in the face of her challenges and the pandemic—not just for her learning journey, but for her career as well.

“I was working alongside my studies,” said Monica. “But, to help me through the pandemic, I could actually furlough myself as I am self-employed. It gave me more time to dedicate to my master's.”

“I’ve always wanted to study psychology—and wanted to do it for my first degree, but ended up with BA in Business, then a Masters in Human Resource Management, and now finally I have my Psychology degree!”

Monica enjoyed the online learning elements of the course as it resonated with her nature as a true self-starter. 

“I could do all the lectures in my own time,” said Monica. “I really enjoyed my dissertation and the self-learning around it. The course was both an inspiration and a distraction from everything that was going on. It was my time to invest in myself and enjoy the learning.”

The next steps for Monica are to take a break from studying, after her trio of degrees and overcoming the many challenges of 2020.

Monica adds: “I will take a break, but only for a year or two. I love studying and learning new things. I am the eternal student!

“RGU is a good university with an excellent reputation, which will definitely move me forward with everything I’ve learned."

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