Su-Yin graduated from Cardiff University in 2000. Find out where her successful career has led her after graduating from Cardiff University.
Student name: Yang SuYin
Course title: BSc Psychology
Year of graduation: 2000
Current employer: Tan Tock Seng Hospital
Su-Yin has done outstandingly well in her career and is currently a senior psychologist and clinical lead for the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Program in Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
In addition to that, she was voted into the Pain Association of Singapore as a council member – being the first ever psychologist and non-doctor to receive the accolade. She tells us 18 things she remembers fondly about Cardiff.
Why did you choose to do your BSc at Cardiff University?
An en-suite accommodation was very important to me as I wanted my privacy. Cardiff offered that. There was also a mission church from Singapore that was worshipping in Cardiff and my uncle knew the pastor so that helped in my decision.
Did your education in Cardiff equip you with the necessary skills for your job?
I had excellent lecturers at the Department of Psychology – Kathy Greenland being one of them, amongst others. Dr Gregory Maio was one of the best supervisors I had.
Dr Maio brought about my interest in research; he taught me to look at values from a different perspective. I constantly remember what he taught us in social psychology. My chats with him during supervision time broadened my knowledge of psychology far more than I originally expected.
Interaction with them contributed to an all round education at Cardiff. It was a steep learning curve though especially for practical sessions. Dr Miles Hewstone’s lectures broadened my mind about how important psychology really is in the social world.
You’re currently a Senior Psychologist in Tan Tock Seng Hospital – what are your responsibilities, and what does your average day look like?
My responsibilities in this area are to ensure that I’m kept up to date with the latest modalities and psychological intervention for chronic pain. I also lead the team in developing treatment processes/protocols for chronic pain. I also administer the teaching and education for the team involved in group therapy.
An average day would be to see about six patients in the clinic for a morning clinic. I then do research in the afternoon (data collection and data mining) to collect measures for treatment outcome data and sometimes even supervise junior psychologists and attend meetings if it’s called for.
Why is your job important?
I would say it’s important because I like to think that I can add value to a patient’s life. Through interaction, I hope I’m helping them to live a better more fulfilled life whether they are suffering from a mental health problem or whether it’s a chronic pain/health related issue.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Putting a smile back on someone’s face and knowing that they are in a much better position to face the world. I like giving them back their independence so that they can live a more satisfactory life.
What have been the challenges in your job?
Going to court as an expert witness and having your reputation scrutinised by the lawyers. You must be grounded in your work and know your patient well enough to sit on the stand.
What lessons from Cardiff (academic or social) did you take away that you keep with you until today?
Academically: Keeping an open mind and not being afraid to approach your lecturers for a chat. I used to get exam tips this way. Matching your research interest with a supervisor who’s good is always helpful. Do broad reading especially from journals - don’t just stick to the reading list.
Socially: Mix with everyone, don’t just stick to your own kind. My best friends then were German, British and British Pakistani. I’m still in touch with my German friend and was invited for her wedding a few years back. Two of them came to stay with me in Singapore as well while on holiday.
Have fun, enjoy the food, enjoy the environment and enjoy what the city has to offer. Allow yourself to be surprised.
What words of wisdom would you share with a prospective student who’s thinking about coming to study in Cardiff?
Keep an open mind and allow yourself to immerse in the culture and environment. Don’t compare your experiences with your past experiences from home. The amount you learn and take away with you is how much you allow the experiences to mould you into a better person!
Try to see the positive in every situation and learn from it. I transited from being a sheltered teenager to becoming an adult in Cardiff. I turned 21 in my final year and the independence that I gained during my stay and studies in Cardiff is something that has shaped my life and career until today.
Did you enjoy your time here?
Yes, very much. No regrets at all. Let me tell you some of the things I like about Cardiff:
1. Rhubarb crumble and custard from the refectory.
2. Japanese food at the Izakaya at Cardiff Bay.
3. Shopping in St David’s and browsing the market and alleyways.
4. Haircut at CATS in one of the alley (can’t remember which now although I know how to get there). Best haircut by Helen there. Not met another stylist as good since. Even Tony and Guy's academy in London could not beat the haircut at CATS.
5. First time experiencing lecturers changing class schedules to attend the Rugby 2000 World Cup.
6. Rabbit stew!
7. Brecon Beacons.
8. Breakfast at Ramon’s.
9. Walking the high street, especially when I went back to Cardiff for a visit in 2005.
10. Yummy yummy jam donuts from Greggs.
11. Cornish pasties!
12. Partying at Zeus (not sure whether it’s still there now).
13. Hanging out with friends at Bar Med (again, not sure whether it’s still there).
14. ABC Cinema. Cheap movie tickets!
15. Definitely en-suite accommodation at Colum Road.
16. Late night shopping at Tesco Extra while taking a break from studies and trying to get the best bargains.
17. Being able to have a pint at the local pub in between exams without feeling guilty about it. In Singapore, I would never ever have been able to do that.
18. Working at the International Office helped me earn some extra cash for holidays in Europe.
And so much more... I kind of miss it now reminiscing about all these things!