Psychology degree is a dream come true for Jasmina

Psychology degree is a dream come true for Jasmina

Since she was a little girl, Jasmina Paneva dreamt of travelling abroad to go to University. Now, just 13 years later, she is all set to graduate and is well on the road to fulfilling her dream of becoming a scientist.

Since she was a little girl, Jasmina Paneva dreamt of travelling abroad to go to University. Now, just 13 years later, she is all set to graduate and is well on the road to fulfilling her dream of becoming a scientist.

When she was accepted to study Psychology at the University, Jasmina was the first in her family to leave her homeland of Bulgaria. The reality of the move soon set in and she initially found the transition very difficult.    

“Moving across Europe at 19 was very scary and it wasn’t easy. I battled pretty severe depression and a personality disorder, which was only diagnosed while doing my exchange semester in the US in second year,” she said.

“It was never going to stop me from living the dream I had had since I was 10 years old. In my first year, I met a lecturer who agreed to see me for half an hour every week, even though she was not a professional. I will be forever grateful to her, as she is the reason I eventually asked for help. I got medication and counselling, and by the time third year had come along, I was feeling better in myself.”

In third year, Jasmina blossomed and became involved in student politics, becoming part of the university’s Welfare Committee for the Student Council and signing up to be a student mentor. She also volunteered at Brain Bee, an organisation and international competition in neuroscience for secondary school aged kids.

“By the end of year 3, I had also signed up to be a STEM Ambassador. I discovered joy in filling my time with doing things I cared for, like politics and science. My grades were getting better and that summer I won an award for an internship in an EEG lab at the School of Psychology. It was amazing getting to do an internship with brain imaging, as this is what I am continuing to do for my master’s degree.”

In fourth year, Jasmina was elected School Convener, a role which involved her managing and mentoring the class reps for each year and being part of the Education Committee at AUSA and Student Council.  She also attended the University Senate and the Undergraduate Committee as a student rep, as well as being on the Teaching and Learning Committee of the School of Psychology.

Jasmina did extremely well in her dissertation on colour perception, receiving full marks, with the result she was one of just five students considered for best dissertation of 2019.

“I am immensely happy with what I have achieved. I did not win but I am proud to have been considered. The bigger win for me was that my supervisor has said that she wants to have it published in a scientific journal.

“I count this as my biggest success. I want to be a scientist, and what better way to start my career than to have my undergraduate work be published in a journal? All in all, Aberdeen has been incredible. It has given me exactly what I needed to get over my illnesses and thrive as a person, as a citizen and as a scientist. For that, Aberdeen will always be home.”

Jasmina will be joined at her graduation today by her proud parents and younger brother.