Alexandra Ruddy

 
School Mental Health Climate
Laurie Ford
Ottawa
Canada
 

Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

Together, my past academic, research and professional experiences led me to further explore and integrate my interests in education and psychology. During my undergrad, I developed a keen interest in psychology and I knew I wanted to continue studying this field. After conducting research involving youth, working in schools and working with children with diverse needs, as well as completing my first graduate degree in Child Development, I grew passionate about working with and helping youth in school and clinical settings, and I wanted to apply my knowledge and skillset in a practical way. Pursuing a Master’s and now a PhD in School Psychology allows me to gain more knowledge, to develop my skills, and to further explore areas in which I am passionate about as a school psychologist, specifically youth mental health.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

UBC is a great, reputable school that offers students many academic and research opportunities. I was particularly interested in studying School Psychology and the School Psychology program at UBC is one of only a few accredited programs across Canada. The possibility of studying on UBC’s beautiful campus was exciting and moving to Vancouver was also a motivating factor!

What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?

I was first attracted to the UBC School Psychology program due to its integrated training model that involves coursework, research, and extensive clinical training. The program has a strong emphasis on research training, while still providing numerous practical training opportunities in many different settings. I was attracted to the doctoral program for similar reasons. The doctoral program will prepare me with the knowledge and skills to enhance and inform my research and practice addressing the mental health needs of youth in diverse settings. By continuing in this program, I can continue to pursue research involving school-based and youth mental health and I will continue to learn and refine the particular skills needed to become a skilled and competent school psychologist. Furthermore, and most importantly, there is a strong sense of community amongst faculty and students in this program that provides ongoing support and encouragement.

What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?

Vancouver is a beautiful city and I am always in awe, specifically, of the beauty of the mountains. In addition, I got to meet an amazing group of supportive people in my cohort who have become close friends!

What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?

My past academic and research experience prepared me for my graduate program at UBC. In addition to the many psychology and research courses taken during my undergrad, I also received a lot of research experience and completed an Honour’s thesis. Prior to my current Master’s program, I completed a Master’s degree in Child Development that also involved coursework and a research project. Although both are valuable experiences in which I was able to develop and refine different skills and research interests, my first Master’s program, in particular, prepared me for the expectations and demands of the School Psychology graduate program at UBC.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

Work-life balance and self-care are important! Graduate school can be stressful and demanding, but it’s really important to find ways to relax and to find time to do things outside of schoolwork.