By KENNY CHEE
WHEN administration officer Vidhya Nair enrolled for a part-time course to get a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology last July, she could not be more thrilled.
She had finally found a course she really likes, after realising that multimedia and infocomm technology - in which she obtained a diploma from a polytechnic - was not her cup of tea.
The icing on the cake is that the psychology course has friendly and approachable lecturers who respond promptly to questions, from within a day to three.
The degree is offered here by Australia's Edith Cowan University through SMa School of Management.
Miss Nair, 20, hopes that with her psychology degree, she can become a counsellor. She had seriously considered this as a career after obtaining her diploma.
'I want to meet people, especially those who have been hurt and want to change their lives,' she said, adding that she would like to help prison inmates re-integrate into society through counselling.
The move away from multimedia was a big one for Miss Nair. But she has a family friend - a voluntary counsellor in his 50s who is enrolled in a psychology course with the school - to thank for encouraging her.
'After seeing (him) learning even at his age, I don't think anything is impossible,' she said. Achieving her dream could not be more enjoyable.
Currently six months into the degree, she finds the modules she has read fascinating. One allowed her to 'better understand the reactions of people I have met in school and in my working environment'.
Credit goes to the lecturers for using real-life cases to teach and make lessons practical, she said.
For example, one lecturer drew on her experiences in counselling women to explain how women who had had miscarriages would think.
Miss Nair and 38 other coursemates, mostly executives aged between 25 and 35, also get to put on their thinking caps for interesting assignments.
In one module, Miss Nair did a statistics assignment where she came up with a hypothesis on reading times. She then conducted experiments to test the hypothesis.
Such self-conducted experiments are rewarding 'because we get to experience them first-hand', she said.
And she cannot wait to attend future classes on how biological factors like hormones affect how people think.
'I've not done any biology subjects in school so I'm really looking forward to learning how the brain works,' she said.
This is the first of an 11-part monthly series brought to you by SMa School of Management.
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