PsySSA would like to thank the Volunteers from the Student Division again for their assistance during the 24th Annual Psychology Congress. Without their continuous tireless efforts the Congress could not have run so smoothly and successfully.

PsySSA volunteers’ reflect on their experiences at the 24th Annual Psychology Congress below:

Genevieve Burrow (PsySSA SD additional executive committee member):

The PsySSA 24th Annual Psychology Congress was an unrivalled experience and exceeded my greatest expectations. The highlight was undoubtedly Justice Edwin Cameron, and the profundity of his message will stay with me forever. Furthermore, meeting and networking with PsySSA members in the Western Cape will strengthen Student Division connections in my province. The networking facilitated a level of engagement with professionals that I would not have experienced elsewhere. Being a part of the PsySSA volunteer team was extremely rewarding. Every single person worked hard and epitomized the concept of teamwork and community. Meeting the PsySSA team in person was also a highlight, and I left the conference feeling academically and personally enriched. I look forward to volunteering next year and found this experience incomparable to any other. I feel proud and privileged to have been a part of Congress this year.

Nayana George (chairperson, PsySSA@SACAP):

Many of my lecturers had mentioned that the PsySSA Congress is the perfect place to “rub shoulders with the ‘big guns’ of psychology”.  But let’s be real… you’re so busy helping run the actual event, that your conversation with the professionals ends up sounding like: “Hi ma’m, how are you? … Are you at the right venue sir? or…You’re right Prof, the muffins are really sweet today”.  It sounds tedious, but I left that Congress knowing that at least five ‘big guns’ knew my face because of it! Moreover, I left Congress feeling much more connected and aware of who and what was shaping the opportunities in the field of Psychology, in South Africa.

But the major highlight of my experience had to be the volunteer group and the leadership team. I had so many laughs and a great opportunity to network with amazing psych students from different walks of life. The Volunteer Coordinator leadership was very admirable; there was never place for ego and hierarchy as they always did their best to prioritize our needs during the Congress. I’m very proud and grateful to have been part of this year’s volunteer team!

Rivendri Govender (newly-appointed SD additional executive committee member):

The 24th Annual PsySSA Congress was a very rewarding and enriching experience. Apart from being able to learn so much from all the different presentations, this experience has also allowed my self-confidence to grow. Being given the opportunity to chair a session has allowed me to further develop my group facilitation skills which is something that I will be able to use at university. As I look back on the past week I realized that I returned home being more passionate about the field of psychology and the many opportunities which I discovered. One thing that I take away from the congress and will strive to promote is that there is no physical health without mental health.

Bakang Mashishi:

The experience was amazing. It was a lot of fun, informative and exciting. My best part was the networking session.

Gontse Maubane:

Being selected to take part in the conference was a miracle. I had an amazing week, yes it was hectic, but it was worth it. Being surrounded by professors and doctors in the field that I am studying was just proof that nothing is impossible. The conference was enormous, well thought-out and planned which made it possible for me to learn, network, be motivated, exposed and most importantly improve myself in the process. This was a great opportunity, more than words can describe. The conference gave me some form of a shift from one level to the next and I am extremely grateful for that.

Vanessa Mokobedi:

The conference was fantastic, I learnt a lot in terms of my master’s proposal and I got a lot of content as well. I further networked with people in my field of study.

Nonhlanhla Molekoa:

Let me start with my best part of experience. I was volunteering at the round table session – community psychology. What was interesting was how they didn’t view psychology only on an individual level but as more than that. Personally, I wanted to make a difference on a larger scale and didn’t know much about community psychology. Being part of the session, I heard how they want to make a difference in communities as people who want to listen and work together with the community. They treated us as people who had something to give and learn and allowed us to voice our experiences and thoughts.  I also enjoyed the networking session because I met a lot of professionals in the field where I want to venture and gave me a lot of information on how to open my own practice someday. The stress was good (worth it), and even though I did not meet many professionals, those I did meet are enough to shape the professional I want to become, so thank you for the opportunity and hope to see you next year.

Tarry Ncube:

In a few words, I would say overall, I had an unforgettable time at the conference. I learned so much from the sessions I attended. I got to meet so many great people, all of whom I to be like. It was a great opportunity to be able to attend to conference, and one that I look forward to having again.

The number of psychology professionals who attended the conference reminded me that my goal to become like them is closer than I realised.

The individuals who made up our volunteer group were hard working, dedicated, and a pleasure to work with.

Kamahelo Phakela:

I’ve really appreciated this experience and it made me realise that I’m on the right path with my career; meeting all the intellects made me see a picture of where I would like to be one day. I had the opportunity to give a presentation with my team and it was taken with utmost seriousness and we were encouraged to go on with the findings.

I’m thankful for this experience.

Rekha Kangokar Rama Rao:

My experience during the congress was amazing. I learnt more than I signed up for. It just wasn’t learning about advancement in psychology, but also managing crisis at the ground level. The grit and patience required to keep things going on with a smile. No matter how sore the feet are.  I walked out more confident than before. Thank you for giving me the opportunity and a great team!!

Matshepo Setlaleleng:

The 24th Annual PsySSA Congress is not the first conference I’ve attended but it is the first one I have volunteered at. I’ve always seen academics and professionals in psychology as “celebrities” because I have read and heard about their work but this time I finally got to put a face to the textbooks and articles I’ve read and cited. The networking session felt like being surrounded by celebrities and overwhelming because of the amount of knowledge in one room and not being sure who to approach. I did finally get to speak to one professor, Kobus Maree and I was touched by his passion for the work he does, his humility, and how relatable he is.  Other professionals I met were very encouraging, they explained that there is a future in other registration categories besides clinical and counselling and emphasised that they have an important role to play in psychology too. I saw this during the roundtable discussion on Wednesday where one professional voiced her concerns about the lack of opportunity for registered counsellors, how little they get paid and how important they are in the psychological community. Being present during the paper presentations gave me an opportunity to see what kind of topics the professionals are researching; that was a chance for me to see ‘psychology and psychological research in practice”. I am so grateful for the experience and I met other students for different institutions. I look forward to one day attending a conference as a registered professional, but I would definitely volunteer again!

Lizette van den Broek:

Thank you very much for the opportunity. I had an excellent time, I learned a lot and it was overall an awesome day. My experience of Congress:

As a volunteer, I got to experience some of what was happening behind the scenes and this instilled a sense of appreciation in me for such big events. I had the honour of seeing how everything played out and I don’t think it could have gone much better. The volunteer team were excellent, and I never felt unsupported. In between the running around and assisting delegates with queries and directions, I got to attend incredible talks by incredible people. As a student in psychology, it was great to see how diverse the field is and how people are approaching their work. It reminded me that there are no limits in psychology and research, and I am in the right field.

Thank you for this experience.



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