PsychLiverpool will always have a very special place in my heart, right beside my darling husband and cider. The image above is us at the top of Glastonbury Tor fortified by love, hormones and alcohol. This was the beginning of PsychLiverpool, when I started planning the blog and in my merry state I decided I was going to be the most dynamic editor, like the “Anna Wintour” of Merseyside (you see the signature sunglasses were already in place). PsychLiverpool was born out of a desire to connect students through a safe, reliable environment. The vision I had was to provide a community for peer support for students, where they could make meaning from psychology, apply it to their lives, explore topics that interested them and build skills without the pressure of academic assessment. I appreciated the need for such a space as I was acutely aware of the impact of ‘life’ when I originally studied for my degree, coping with two medically disabled daughters, a divorce and then later the suicide of my second husband. The latter was personally catastrophic and it was my students who were the brave ones. They knocked on my front door and brought me back to myself, pushing me to focus on who I was and not what had happened to me. During this time, without the support of this network to keep me grounded, I would have almost certainly faltered.
2016 was an amazing year for PsychLiverpool. The website won a Learning and Teaching Award and I was commended institutionally for the “Greatest Impact on Student Experience”. We also received some much-needed investment from the University of Liverpool, and Emir Demirbag (Technical Director) and Jasmine Warren (now Editor-in-Chief) joined our team. The success of this redevelopment and the expansion of PsychLiverpool can be evidenced by the fifty-thousand hits in the past year, with hundreds of visitors each week, suggesting that PsychLiverpool has met its goal of becoming a “community for making meaning”. Fast-forward to today, another great day for PsychLiverpool and a proud day for me, as I transfer the Senior Management of PsychLiverpool to Jasmine and Emir, whose innovation and commitment over the past three years has been instrumental in creating today’s dynamic student space. PsychLiverpool is now a web-platform bringing together over 5000 students across Merseyside. It creates meaning beyond textbooks, supports exploration and creates a supportive environment to publish and find careers advice.
In the past three years, 25 student editors have stayed with the team for more than 12 months, some remain committed alumni who write and seek out opportunities to expand the reach of PsychLiverpool. I have written over 20 references for my Merseyside Student Editorial Team, with some of them now working in areas such as postgraduate study, legal research, humanitarian and community work. I have learned so much from the students who have contributed, edited and commented on PsychLiverpool. The honesty and candour of the student voice, the miraculous mix of fun, humour, honesty, directness, bravery, rage and love will stay with me for the rest of my life. Goodbye PsychLiverpool, but you are in steady hands.