"Psychology and research turned out to be a fitting combination for me"
I was looking for more in-depth knowledge as part of the lectures of my Psychology and Health Bachelor. During the research internship at the Profiles project, I discovered that I like to do research. A whole new world opened up for me.
During her internship, Pearl van Lonkhuizen was immediately asked to analyze data on cancer survivors and write a paper. The data had been collected as part of the PROFILES project of Tilburg University and the Netherlands Comprehensive Cancer Organization (IKNL) by means of questionnaires. Doing research based on those data is one of many ways to try and improve the quality of life of cancer patients and survivors.
With the help of her supervisors, Pearl pressed on. She had to work hard on an academic paper and the comment was that it was not bad for a first draft.
“English was never my strongest subject in high school and my entire Bachelor was in Dutch. As a result, I was not used to writing in English at this level. I spent a whole summer vacation honing my language skills. At the start of my internship, I was still a little nervous, but I learned to work together effectively with the other researchers. Nicole Horevoorts and Dounya Schoormans were a kind of mentors to me. They taught me many technical tricks to work more efficiently and their feedback has improved my writing skills. This has boosted my self-confidence as a researcher.
I knew from experience that the situation of cancer patients can rapidly deteriorate. Therefore it is very important to do this kind of research. What we discovered in this investigation is that spiritual or religious patients seem to have a better quality of life. They cope with their illness in a different way. In the context of other forms of cancer, for example breast cancer, this had already been investigated, but not yet for various myelomas and lymphomas. Since this was a first pilot study, further research needs to be done.”
Because of this internship, Pearl now has a much better idea of what she wants to do. “I really like the combination of being a psychologist and conducting research. I would like to continue in neuropsychology. This is really what I want to do.”