Do you remember what your dream job was when you were a kid? Taya Dannhauser, 20, from Johannesburg does. “Growing up I loved all things related to people,” she recalls. “I was curious about ancient civilisations and neurology, but my long-time passion has always been to become a clinical psychologist.”
A cut above
Taya’s personal experience in therapy solidified her desire to pursue psychology as a career path, she says. “My own sessions with a psychologist ignited my curiosity and inspired a drive in me to become one,” she explains.
“A friend was studying psychology through SACAP and absolutely loved it. I researched other universities but none of their programmes resonated with me,” Taya admits. “SACAP’s contextual, holistic approach to psychology really stood out.”
Picking a path
Initially Taya considered studying SACAP’s three-year Bachelor of Applied Social Science Degree, but there was a chance her family might emigrate abroad. “I didn’t want to have to abandon the course halfway through so I decided to enrol for a shorter programme,” she says.
Last month Taya graduated from SACAP’s Higher Certificate in Counselling and Communication Skills with a distinction. What did she enjoy most about the course? What direction does she hope it will take her?
We caught up with Taya and asked her. Here’s what she has to say…
Ode to online
When Covid hit Taya had just spent her gap year travelling around Europe. “Fortunately I was able to enrol for the Higher Certificate in Counselling and Communication Skills via SACAP’s well-established Online Campus,” she says.
“I’d completed some of my matric online and even though it wasn’t my first experience with virtual learning, it was nerve-racking at first,” she concedes.
“I worried that I might not grasp the material properly or become proficiently integrated in the programme. However,” Taya continues. “The support I received from SACAP was incredible.”
Taya’s learning journey was engaging and collaborative, she says. “SACAP has two unique online learning approaches: Online Live and Online Flexi. Conveniently I was able to combine both. As a result, I benefited from real in-person as well as virtual instruction.”
“Consequently I think the Higher Certificate in Counselling and Communication Skills is a great entry point into higher education,” she says. “The course is broken up into small modules, which makes the transistion from high school less scary, too.”
Taya’s top three
We asked Taya to share three highlights from her course. “Firstly, I liked the online forums and discussions,” she says. “They were great opportunities to engage with other students.”
“Secondly, the educators are brilliant!” she exclaims. “Historically I have always performed well academically. In one test, however, I didn’t get the mark I wanted and it knocked my confidence. I mentioned this to the lecturer and she scheduled a meeting to clear up any confusion. The next test I aced with 100%!”
“Finally, the course material is challenging, but it also permits space for personal growth,” Taya concludes. “It’s ideal for anyone keen on studying psychology but unsure which direction to take.”
Taya says she’s particularly impressed by SACAP’s caring attitude towards its students. “As a class rep I had the opportunity to engage with the SRC and noticed how students have a real impact on the way the college is run – even having a say in parking fees!”
This caring approach impacts students in other ways, too. Unlike bigger institutions that might make you feel like just a number, SACAP fosters person-centred development. Taya concurs: “I used to be very shy. My confidence levels in groups was low and my family used to joke that ‘I got very small.’”
“My experience at SACAP has changed all that. It’s challenged me to grow as an individual and really intensified my love for psychology,” she says.
View to a skill
Taya’s sights are still firmly set on becoming a clinical psychologist. Her plan is to continue studying psychology, she says. “I hope to enrol for my Bachelor of Applied Social Science Degree and then maybe my Masters. Although I plan to be in private practice one day, I don’t want to lose touch with my deep love for community. I want to do as much as I can to help.”
How about you? Do you have a desire to help others, too? The importance of psychology in this crazy Covid-battered world of ours cannot be underestimated.
Whether you’re considering psychology as a career path or want to boost your current vocation check out SACAP’s psychology courses. The college offers a wide range of accredited programmes, which come highly recommended.