Our world has changed. Overwhelmed by the Covid-19 crisis what we deemed normal merely months ago feels like an indulgent daydream today. How can we reframe the uncertainty and anxiety that so many of us are feeling? “We need psychologists now more than ever,” says Erick Kabongo, 27. “However, to make a difference in other people’s lives you have to start working on yourself first.”
Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Erick says his own journey of self-discovery began after he finished matric. “Initially I wanted to become a doctor but realised I didn’t qualify for medical school in this country,” he explains. “Choosing psychology was the closest option to medicine at the time – it’s something I’ve never regretted!”
Erick enrolled at SACAP and finished his Bachelor of Applied Psychology (BAppSocSci) in 2018. He says the degree gave him a solid footing in psychology and nurtured his desire to help people. “I loved SACAP’s approach to teaching through role play, case studies and Work Integrated Learning,” he says. “I also really liked being introduced to research at an undergrad level.”
As a result of his circumstances Erick had to work and study at the same time. “SACAP offers a flexible and accommodating environment,” he says. “I studied through a combination of online, face-to-face daytime and mostly evening classes.”
Buoyed by his positive experience at SACAP Erick has continued his studies in psychology. “I completed my honours degree at the University of Johannesburg last year and I’m currently at Wits University where I’m completing my master’s degree in community-based counselling,” he says.
Community is crucial
Erick is motivated by his heartfelt desire to make a positive difference in people’s lives. “I would like to change the landscape of psychology in general and specifically community psychology by being part of development programmes, conducting research and publishing through academia,” he says.
Assimilating spirituality and psychology is also something Erick feels very passionate about. “I believe that spirituality in general – Christianity in particular due to my own Christian convictions – and psychology can offer great value when integrated in an effective and efficient manner.”
To this end Erick has created a YouTube channel called The Unconventional Christ Followers, where he cultivates and supports a devout community. “It’s a platform for young people to share their thoughts, showcase their talents, ask questions, engage in conversations and build meaningful personal relationships with God,” he explains.
Key to his success
Erick says his Bachelor of Applied Social Science has been an important catalyst for his growing development. “Not only has it provided a firm foundation that has prepared me for my current studies,” he says, “it’s enabled me to understand myself and my spirituality better, which is important because I use my knowledge of the Bible and psychology to engage with my audience on my YouTube channel.”
In light of the current global coronavirus pandemic Erick believes his SACAP degree has also helped inform his worldview. “It’s helped me appreciate the concept of systemic theory and the interrelationship between various systems. For example, how something that started as a health problem is now affecting various other systems such as families, the economy and people’s social lives,” he says.
Amidst the confusion and uncertainty that currently cloaks the country Erick has developed his core values and is reaching out and connecting to people in a real and relevant way. You can too. SACAP’s BAppSocSci is a highly regarded degree that will help foster your raw passion for people into a fully-fledged career.
What’s more you can get cracking soon. To mitigate disruptions caused by Covid-19 SACAP has migrated all its classes onto its Online Campus, which means that you can begin classes in June and then switch back to the physical campus of your choice when the coronavirus crisis subsides. BAppSocSci applications close on the 31st of May 2020. What are you waiting for? Your country needs you! Apply here now.