Walt Disney famously said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” It’s a valuable quote that takes on a particularly special meaning in 67-year-old Thembi Nduna’s life.
“I was born and bred in Atteridgeville, Pretoria,” she tells us when we caught up with her recently. “I now live in Johannesburg. I’m basically a township girl.”
Last month Thembi completed SACAP’s Advanced Certificate in Counselling and Communication Skills. “I’m a newly minted psycho-social worker!” she exclaims. We’re curious: why did she choose to enrol at SACAP? How did she find her experience of the college overall?
So we asked her. Here’s what she has to say…
After three decades in the corporate sector Thembi has decided to revisit her original dream plan. “Ever since I was a child I intended qualifying as a psychologist,” she says. “Even though I have my Master’s in mass communications, I knew I had to start at the bottom and learn the ropes.”
Quest for quality
During her online research Thembi discovered SACAP. “I wanted a school that would provide me with a good foundation in psychology,” she recalls.
SACAP checked all the right boxes in Thembi’s opinion.
“The fact that the college teaches applied psychology was a key attraction,” she says. “The number of students per campus was another draw card. I wanted to be known as a person, not a number!”
SACAP’s unique Peer Assisted Learning Service (PALS) and the Student Representative Council (SRC) coalesced as Thembi’s definitive cherry on the top. “These services exist to ensure that “SACAPians” have the best experience,” she says.
Thembi completed her Bachelor’s Degree in 1975, “During the ‘Rinderpest’,” she jokes. “So I need to upgrade most of my psychology modules in order to be current and agile. SACAP’s Advanced Certificate in Counselling and Communication Skills has enabled me to catch up with the current psychological approaches and counselling techniques.”
The course will augment Thembi’s plan to complete her Bachelor of Social Science Honours in Psychology or BPsych Equivalent Programme, she says. It’s also been invaluable in her pro bono work. “I’m a volunteer student counsellor at a Johannesburg NGO because I want to hone my counselling skills through experiential work.”
Thembi’s SACAP experience has surpassed her expectations. “In relation to other colleges SACAP has set the bar high,” she says. “As a student, for example, I felt like I was the most important person there.”
“SACAP really cared about my academic and mental wellbeing, too” she continues. “The teachers were very patient and gave constructive criticism. I found the camaraderie on campus charming and I made new friends.”
Her favourite part of the course? “Definitely giving back to needy communities during my Work Integrated Learning module,” Thembi says.
Thembi’s top three
We asked Thembi to share some of her favourite highlights from the course. “Certainly the teachers,” she asserts. “They encourage student participation and engagement and allocate marks for doing so.”
SACAP’s teaching style is also impressive Thembi says. “During the Covid lockdown SACAP introduced new ways of teaching that went beyond virtual classes. VoiceThread, for example, is a collaborative, multimedia slide show that holds images, documents and videos.”
Knowledge application was the most appealing highpoint for Thembi. “By writing papers and conducting research, we were able to fully engage with the topic at hand and become conversant about the subject.”
Steps to success
How has SACAP helped Thembi achieve what she’s doing in her career today? “My general writing and report skills have improved immensely and I’ve become a critical thinker,” she says. “Most significantly, I’m able to apply and explain the various theories we’ve been taught when I’m counselling.”
Neuropsychology is an area Thembi is keen to explore. “I am passionate about knowledge and how I can use it to be of service,” she explains. “People are operating under a lot of stress, which can result in adverse effects like strokes.”
“These people and their families undergo changes that are crucial to understand. I’d like to provide easily accessible psychological counselling services to those in dire need of this type of assistance. I have a few innovative ideas on how to go about doing this,” she adds.
As a mature student Thembi says she’s excited about eventually achieving her childhood dream. “I aim to qualify as a registered psychologist either in neuropsychology or clinical psychology. And, if I have any energy left, maybe study for my Doctorate.”
Five years from now? “If I’m allowed to dream big, I’ll have earned my Master’s in psychology and established an NGO to be of service,” she concludes.
What are your goals for the future? If helping others is part of your vision then consider studying a psychology course. SACAP offers a wide range of reputable programmes that nurture embryonic dreams into full-blown reality.
Make 2022 the year your dreams come true. Register now!