Nic Laughlin, 26, had finished the first couple of units of e-business and philosophy degrees at university before finding his calling in psychology. He took the one-year diploma pathway to undergraduate study at the Australian College of Applied Psychology (ACAP) and is on-track to complete his Bachelor of Psychological Science next May.
“I was unsure of myself after university, so the counselling diploma provided a great start. I’d had an interest in psychology for a long while. This contrasted heavily to starting the e-business degree at university,” said Nic.
Starting with counselling was a good fit to Nic’s personality, as well as matching his ambition to take on psychology in the future.
“I’ve always had an interest in trying to help people,” he said.
“I viewed myself as having a strong sense of empathy and being good with words. I initially thought of starting with the degree but was not confident enough. I thought the counselling diploma would provide a smoother transition and also a clear pathway to a psychology degree.”
Earning his diploma bolstered Nic’s determination and inspired him to train as a Lifeline telephone counselling volunteer. The experience in crisis support and suicide prevention led to a paid part-time role for Nic during his full-time studies.
“I was volunteering at Lifeline three nights a week. After the six-month probation, I requested a transfer to the overnight paid shifts. I’m a night owl so this was a great fit. It has been fantastic to work at Lifeline alongside studying my Psychology Degree,” he said.
With one trimester to go before graduating, Nic is happy with his choice of College and pathway, for the learning environment and the options open to him in the future.
“My experiences of ACAP exceeded my early expectations. The main highlights were the community feel and support I experienced. Essentially, I felt like a name, not a number, part of the community, not outside of it. This was the key to getting me to stay motivated and complete my studies,” he said.
“With my Diploma of Counselling, Bachelor of Psychological Science and three years of paid work at Lifeline, I hope to secure full-time employment. I plan to work in counselling for a few years to find out what works for me, then see if continuing my education is the right thing to do. It depends on where the opportunities around employment take me.”