Our alumni’s PSC journey – a multi-layered learning story

Agata Piotrowska
Wednesday 16 November 2022

In this week’s blog St Andrews’ alumni, Clémence Aycard, shares about her PSC Award experience and what it brought into her university development:

If you haven’t read my previous post, then let me introduce myself: I’m Clémence, a French alumni of the Museums and Galleries Studies MLitt. In my last contribution, I talked about the well-worth-it hardship of distance-studies, and shared my top tips to survive such experience.

Today, I’d like to tell you the story of how I added more deadlines to my student life – improving many a skill in the process, starting with my already-then strong sense of organisation.

Professional Skills Curriculum (PSC) first appeared to me as an additional opportunity to make the most of my enrolment at St Andrews. I also saw it as a mean to develop general skills that would certainly prove useful in my future career. I work in museums, which is not an easy path to choose. New jobs are scarce, and competition incredibly high. So when someone put together the words ‘extra learning’, ‘professional’, ‘skills’ and ‘free’, it really sounded like something I should not be turning down.

Choosing my trainings required an honest self-analysis of my skills. I realized I lacked practical skills, and the confidence to build professional relationships. Therefore, ‘Networking’ and ‘LinkedIn’ were amongst my main targets. Although I think of myself as sociable, I find the idea of networking highly daunting, and until a few months ago, LinkedIn looked to me like a temple for professional success I felt I had no place entering. Both workshops proved highly valuable in building my self-confidence. I have learnt to showcase my achievements with pride, but also read and listen actively in return, to create an atmosphere of reciprocity in which discussion, learning, and potential partnerships can happen. I now use LinkedIn almost daily and have found strength to interact with new people at conferences. To be honest, I can’t tell if I’m doing it right – but at least, I’m doing it. It’s a start.

I also enrolled in communication workshops. Though I already knew a few things, reminders of how to properly address others, particularly using body-language, are always useful. Since the Communication Skills training, I have noticed a real difference in how I listen to people, address them, and move in front of them. I like to think it’s made me better at my job, but also a nicer human being in general. As for Web Communication, it has really helped me tame that negative tone I tend to apply to everything anyone ever writes to me. I have learnt not only to relax when reading my emails, but also to write them better myself. As for the wider web – well, I’m open to all feedbacks on how I’m doing in addressing you right now!

Next target was practical projects, and for that, I focused on Making Podcasts and Project Management. Why podcasts? Because I’m such a huge fan of them, and though I don’t have an idea for one just now, you never know what might happen. Project Management is a great tool if you have goals of your own (and I have no doubt you do). Whether you need to improve your organizational skills, understand how to deal with a team of people, or are looking for tools that will make your life easier, there will be something for you there.

Finally, my very first and last trainings deserve to be paired together. I started my PSC by learning about Character Science, and I finished it on some Socially Responsible thoughts. I wish there had been more choices of trainings in the ‘Socially Responsible’ category – as an eco-anxious interested in ethics and social justice, I felt like I didn’t have enough to learn from the only workshop available. Nonetheless, both trainings paired together forced me to take a step back from my own assumptions: analysing all point of views and feelings (starting with mines), before reacting in a way I might regret. It’s an enlightening, if difficult exercise.

Dealing with the PSC scheme wasn’t easy. Balancing it with writing a dissertation, my job, and volunteering, I often had to watch the videos late at night, at a time I could have have done something else (like sleeping). Not all I learnt was new to me, but there is also comfort in repetition. I have strengthened important skills and developed valuable new ones. Mainly, I find that they were more than just practical ‘professional’ skills: a lot of the learning I did now applies to every aspect of my life.

So, consider having a look at the PSC – there is a lot more to it than what I have listed. I registered late, and so had to do it all in six months, but if you register early, you can have a full year to spread your learning further. There’s an award to be earned at the end, but hopefully you would be concluding the scheme with much more: useful life skills to amaze the world with.


Thank you, Clémence, for your contribution. If you have any questions to the author of this blog, or would like to contribute as well and share your experiences with current and incoming students, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us at [email protected]. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Please remember about the upcoming (and very exciting) workshops you might benefit from:

Let’s Discuss…Imposter Syndrome, Thursday 24 November 2022

Research commercialisation as impact, Thursday 24 November 2022

Professional networking for researchers: strategy and engaging, Tuesday 29 November 2022

Intellectual Property (IP) – your most important asset?, Thursday 1 December 2022

And, if you are thinking about applying for a part-time job now, or a full-time job for after you finish your course, why not consider:

CVs and job applications: getting onto the short-list, Thursday 24 November 2022

Interview skills: academic and competency based interviews, Thursday 8 December 2022

We hope to see you there!

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