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Alumni 2015 – Paul Allen

8 July 2015
School of Pyschology

We speak to Cardiff University alumni, Paul Allen, about his experiences while studying and then working at Cardiff University . Paul is a research associate in the School of Psychology. 


“The research has given me the opportunity to travel on board ships and see a whole different world which has been fascinating”

1. What did you study at Cardiff University? And why did you decide to study it?

I studied Psychology from 1998 to 2001. To be honest, I didn’t have a strong idea what I wanted to do when I finished school, but I had enjoyed Sociology at A-Level, and have always been interested in what makes people tick.


2. What are you currently doing now – career wise?

I work for Cardiff University in a joint role. Half my time is spent as a research associate within the psychology department which I’ve been doing for 13 years. The project I started work on was looking at fatigue in seafarers (who work incredibly long hours), and I’ve continued working in the maritime domain.

Alongside the research I completed a masters in film in 2008, and then started using film within my research to help disseminate the findings. This led into other film projects for the psychology department and central communications and marketing team, which I spend half my time doing now. Outside of work I continue working on my own film projects including a low budget feature film in 2010, and more recently a short film funded by Ffilm Cymru Wales.


3. Where you involved in any societies or student media during your time at Cardiff University?

I tried a few societies, including ultimate frisbee and the extreme sports society – although I’m not remotely extreme. The main thing I was involved in was a band. We got together in second year and played gigs all around Cardiff (I’m a drummer).


4. Did you face any challenges whilst studying at Cardiff University? How did you deal with it?

I come from a village on the Isle of Wight, so coming to a city was a big change for me, but I really enjoyed the excitement of it all. The psychology course was pretty demanding, but in the years that have followed I’ve really valued the skills I learnt. The other challenge was obviously learning to become independent, and the politics of living in a house with 6 other people (which became the subject of the film I made!).


5. What was one of your best moments at Cardiff University?

I remember in the early days the excitement of coming back to Cardiff after being at home over the holidays – the anticipation of arriving back in the city and seeing my new friends. Other highlights would be playing in a band and seeing everyone singing and dancing along. Getting my degree result was also a great day and topped off an incredible 3 years.


6. How did you feel when you graduated from Cardiff University?

I was undoubtedly looking forward to getting into the ‘real’ world and earning some money after 3 years as a student! It was obviously the close of a chapter in terms of formal education but I was excited about the future and what life would have in store.


7. What advice would you give to students that are graduating this year?

It’s sometimes hard to know what you want to do afterwards – I certainly didn’t – but try as many things as possible which will really help shape your ideas in terms of what you might like to do in the future. Nothing is wasted.


8. How would you describe your time at Cardiff University? 

I had an amazing time, made lots of friends and the psychology course was fantastic. I obviously love the city too as I’ve been here ever since!