2020 will be remembered as a turning point in human history. Not just because of the enormous death toll, but because the COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated a need for rigorous reinvention.
Unable to anticipate or plan for the vast and on-going consequences of the coronavirus, countless institutions continue to plunge into uncertainty. Scarily, it’s an adapt or die predicament and, as Charles Darwin purported, those who adapt the fastest will survive.
According to Matthew Maila, 24, SACAP’s agility in adjusting its education systems to suit the changing learning landscape has been nothing short of “phenomenal,” he says. Matthew is in the final year of his Bachelor of Applied Social Science at SACAP and he believes SACAP is perfectly poised to not only survive, but also thrive.
“During lockdown SACAP quickly merged its physical campuses with its already well-established online campus and created an innovative learning variation that addressed the needs highlighted by the new restrictions,” he says. “Unbelievably SACAP did all this in just two weeks!”
Matthew was also struck by the assistance he received during the lockdown period, he says. “SACAP went above and beyond to ensure we were supported throughout our learning experience. The college invested in data and internet modems so that we could transition to the online platforms and continue our studies without a hitch, which was incredible.”
Matthew on Changing lanes
Matthew’s affinity for SACAP began long before lockdown, though. Proudly from Polokwane – “An amazing city in a phenomenal province” – he’s passionate about empowering people. However, psychology was an unexpected career choice, he admits.
As a youngster, Matthew imagined he’d become an electrical or electro-mechanical engineer. “I loved taking electrical and mechanical items apart, understanding them, altering them and then putting them back together with the purpose of making them more efficient and effective,” he explains.
Matthew’s matric maths and physics marks curtailed his engineering dreams, unfortunately. However, he believes this may have been a blessing in disguise. He took on part-time work helping run student camps for schools in Gauteng and was exposed to the psychology behind team building. He loved it!
Fast forward a couple of years and Matthew discovered SACAP. “SACAP enticed me for a number of reasons: all the educators are qualified and experienced practitioners in their respective fields as opposed to being just academics; and the small classes – I dislike massive class setting because it doesn’t allow for the effective and efficient transfer of knowledge. If we’re in the same class, I want to learn from you as much as I do from the educator. You don’t really get that in big classes,” he says.
Practice makes perfect
Matthew enrolled to study for SACAP’s Bachelor of Applied Social Science at the Johannesburg Campus where he’s completely immersed himself in all the college has to offer. “I have been part of numerous student leadership teams namely the Peer Assisted Learning Service (PALS) and the Student Representative Council (SRC). I was the student affairs officer during the first trimester of my SRC tenor, and later stepped in as the chairperson,” he says.
“Through these practical on-campus volunteer experiences I was able to actualize, implement and practice the theory covered in the Bachelor of Applied Social Science,” Matthew continues. “It added an extra layer to my practical learning experience, which made it more fruitful for me when I studied.”
Matthew is On course
Motivated by his desire to empower people, Matthew says he values the synergy that results from good team dynamics and has set his sights on a career dedicated to industrial psychology. “I want to focus on improving individual, team and organizational efficiency and effectiveness by means of applying transformational leadership principles,” he says.
Matthew chose to study for his Bachelor of Applied Social Science to achieve these career goals and says the course has surpassed his expectations. “Firstly, the true outcome is unexpected. Going into the programme my objective was to understand why people behave the way they do. Instead, I learnt to understand myself on a deeper level. The degree has helped me to get to know me, understand me and become affectionate towards myself. As a result, I’ve learnt how to help and relate to others.”
“Secondly, the course is very specific. I attended a different university previously and one thing I absolutely despised was having to study modules that I was never going to use in my life. In my SACAP degree all the modules are geared towards psychology, they’re meaningful to my journey and have inspired me to push through the tough times and get the work done.”
“Thirdly, the assessments are challenging. It’s not just about getting them done or producing a paper about a topic. They require you to really think critically about what, why and how to go about doing something.”
As he enters the last phase of his degree Matthew is convinced he’s made the right course choice. “It has taught me how to understand myself better, how to be purposeful, person centered, somebody of excellence and integrity, but most importantly it has taught me the value of empowering myself so that I can have the strength to empower others to make a change,” he says.
Fortified by his positive attitude and sense of purpose as well as the specialised skills he’s learnt at SACAP, Matthew is excited for his future. “If I’m not in government enacting change, I hope I’ll be running a large-scale private business that offers programmes that enable change and empowers others.”
How do you feel about your future? Roiled by the devastating ripples of the pandemic it’s easy for pessimism to seep in. Undoubtedly the world has become a different place. Never before has the need for mental health professionals been greater, nor more necessary.
The good news is that SACAP offers a wide range of psychology courses that will not only boost your career, but also help heal the world as a whole. What’s more, to keep abreast of our changing times SACAP has developed its person-centred approach and now offers three new personal study options: On Campus, Online Flexi and Online Live.
In the face of change SACAP’s new blended learning approach underscores its commitment to remain ahead of the curve and holds much promise for new and returning students. Fancy the flexibility of online learning alongside structured real-time engagement? SACAP’s mixed learning opportunities are ripe with exciting possibilities. Find out more here.