News & Events

A day in the life: Graduate student Faith Nomamiukor

This month, we bring you an interview with Faith Nomamiukor, a graduate student in our clinical psychology program supervised by Dr. Blair Wisco. Recently, Faith was interviewed in a newsletter by the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS). See here for this interview.

We decided to follow up with questions of our own that capture Faith’s experiences in our department, including her research focus, her thoughts on navigating Covid-19, and advice for new graduate students in the clinical program. Enjoy!

Walk us through a “day in the life” of a clinical psychology student in your stage of the program at UNCG. What is your daily routine?

I always start my day off with a sit down breakfast and coffee. This is really important to me because it allows me to have some quiet time when I wake up without distraction (no phones or internet). In this way, I am able to start each day off with that small dose of self-care. After breakfast I am off to doing whatever work I have for that day, whether it’s attending a virtual course, meeting with a therapy client, catching up on homework, or working on my thesis. In the evenings, I typically talk on the phone with family and sometimes a college friend. In addition, I also try to work out at least 3-4 times a week and every 4-5 days I cook a new meal prep for myself. I try to be creative with my meal preps by focusing on the best ways to recreate meals I grew up on by making them plant based.

What is your current research focus and (how) has it been impacted by Covid-19?

My current research focus is my MA thesis, which examines the effects of social media on rape myth acceptance and distress among college women, and whether these effects change depending on if a woman was previously exposed to sexual assault. Specifically, we are examining the effects of the MeToo and HimToo movement. Luckily, because my research is about the effects of social media, and is therefore best done online, my study has not been negatively impacted by Covid. If anything, Covid might have helped recruitment since most college students can now only participate in online research instead of in person studies.

What can you tell us about the clinical skills that you’ve gained in the program thus far? (How) have these changed in light of the pandemic?

I’ve really enjoyed working with therapy clients! Everyone I have had the pleasure of working with so far has had such unique personalities and life experiences. I’ve loved learning more about their life stories and being trained in evidence-based practices on how to best treat their disorders. Since starting therapy training, I have gotten better at remaining calm and thinking clearly enough to help a client when they are in the middle of extreme distress. In addition, I have improved in helping clients feel encouraged and reminding them of all the things they have overcame in the past, that provide evidence about how they are still strong enough to overcome what they are going through now. I’ve also really loved being able to help clients learn how to prioritize self-care by setting firmer personal boundaries with friends and family.

In relation to my adult clients, I feel that overall Covid did not have a negative impact on our sessions or work together. However, Covid did make it more difficult to keep child clients engaged and on task throughout session. In person, we were able to have more hands on activities with child clients to keep their attention span; however, when conducting therapy online I have had to learn how to be more creative and I definitely struggled with this transition.

How have you managed to stay healthy and cope with the stress of a full schedule, being away from your family, and the uncertainty of the pandemic, civil unrest, and the volatile political climate? 

It has definitely been hard not seeing family during Covid and dealing with everything else going on in our world right now. I think that what has helped me the most is talking to family daily, reconnecting with friends, and also attending my virtual church services every weekend. In addition, I’ve also noticed myself turning to health and fitness as a distraction during Covid to get my mind off of all the other stressors. I work out more than I ever have before, and I really enjoy finding new healthy recipes to cook for myself.

What advice would you give to a new student in the clinical program?

Try your best to be as close as possible to your cohort mates, even if it means setting up regular virtual hangouts during Covid. They understand more than anyone what stress you are currently going through and the support that they can provide is invaluable. Keeping in contact with other individuals in the program has helped me so much during my time here. Nothing cures a bad day better than a friend with a listening ear and a desire to make you feel better. Relatedly, also try to keep in touch with your family and friends outside of the program as well – the more social support, the better.

What does fun look like for you? What are your hobbies and/or outside interests?

Before Covid at least, fun for me looked like hanging out or cooking meals with friends. In addition, I also have a new obsession with weightlifting and I am trying to get all of my close friends to join me in that hobby.

Thank you, Faith, for taking the time to share your experience!