If you’ve watched the television series House you’ll appreciate the rewards of being a diagnostician. Main character and medical sleuth Dr House is a real-life role Tamsyn Jurgens, 25, says she aspires to.
“I would love to work in a diagnostics department for mental health,” she says. “In an ideal world it would be something like what Dr House does but in mental health.”
Tamsyn is moving ever closer to her career objective thanks to SACAP. She completed her undergraduate and postgraduate psychology degrees at the college. We’re keen to find out where she’s headed and whether she enjoyed her SACAP experience. Here’s what she has to say…
Psychology wasn’t Tamsyn’s first choice, she admits. “Originally I planned to study dietetics. However, the degree was too much work and stress for me so I dropped out and changed to psychology.”
This decision completely changed the course of Tamsyn’s career. She completed her Bachelor of Applied Social Science at SACAP in 2019. Then, earlier this year she graduated with her Bachelor of Social Science Honours in Psychology.
Tamsyn’s fascination with mental matters motivated her to deepen her studies. She’s applied to study for her Master’s in Psychological Research through Wits University next year.
Lighting her truth
“I’ve always had a good inclination for reading people, understanding behaviour and analysing situations. I never had the desire for counselling, though,” Tamsyn concedes. “When I learned there were other psychology paths outside of counselling, I knew I had to go for it!”
Consequently, Tamsyn has become passionate about mental health disorders, she says. “I have a particular interest in the less familiar ones like dissociative identity disorder, autism and sociopathy.”
Additionally, she says, “I prefer the behind-the-scenes research and analysis kind of work. I would love a career that revolves around research into mental health conditions.”
To achieve her career objective Tamsyn enrolled at SACAP. “I registered for my Bachelor of Applied Social Science at the Johannesburg campus,” she recalls. “SACAP has a good energy. We were encouraged to form relationships and friendships by sharing thoughts and opinions with new people.”
Driven by her passion for research, Tamsyn decided to further her studies and dive into SACAP’s honours programme. “I thought it would be a good step towards achieving my end goal,” she explains.
She’s glad she did. “The programme introduced me to new skills,” she says. “For example, it developed my academic thinking even further and the research thesis really confirmed my passion for research.”
Would she recommend SACAP’s honours degree to prospective students? “Yes, most definitely!” Tamsyn exclaims. “It’s a good route to take for anyone in the field who doesn’t necessarily want to do clinical or counselling psychology.”
“SACAP gives you an edge over the rest,” she adds. “For example, it’s one of the few institutions that help students with competencies like stats skills. Not many universities offer stats as a module for psychology students. As a result, many of my peers from other institutions found the stats part of the course challenging.”
Happily, Tamsyn feels her SACAP journey has equipped her with career-specific skills that she relies on every day. Her brand-new business is just a few months old and it’s already making a difference in the lives of others.
“I developed Zareh Intra Business Research to help improve mental health in the workplace,” she explains. “Happy employees work harder and happy customers attract more business.”
“From statistical analysis and research methodology to critical thinking skills, I utilize what I’ve learnt at SACAP in many ways,” she continues. “What’s more, my knowledge of psychological principles and ethical rules keeps me within my scope of practice. I know when to refer people to the right professional when necessary.”
SACAP’s honours programme in particular is proving to be tremendously informative in her small business, asserts Tamsyn. “It has helped me identify what people need: a few tips, a change in environment or professional help. I am better equipped to conduct interviews and survey style research to determine what can be changed. And I now know how to analyse stats and come to relevant conclusions.”
Tamsyn hit a curveball when she realised dietetics wasn’t her bag. Fortunately she stumbled across SACAP and began a journey that has resulted in the birth of her own business.
With the prospect of her master’s on the horizon Tamsyn’s future looks bright. Where does she want to be five years from now? “I hope to be working in the field of psychological research, making a difference in the world,” she says. “I’d like to conduct research privately as well as host seminars and workshops to improve mental health in the workplace.”
What’s your five-year plan? Do you want to have a positive impact on other people’s lives, too?
SACAP can help you. The college is renowned for its academic excellence, conscientious support and range of world-class psychology courses.
Tamsyn discovered her career niche through SACAP and you can too. Want to know how? Enquire here now.