Spotlight: Ece Aydin, CPA Undergrad Representative for the UBC-Okanagan campus

Ece Aydin.
Ece Aydin has lived in the same place now for three whole years. This is unusual for her, as she has previously moved around all over the world for her entire life. Ece came straight out of high school into psychology at UBC Okanagan – but high school was in Dubai. Born in Turkey, Ece moved to Europe when she was five. There was a time where her family moved back to Turkey, and since then she has gone to an international high school in countries all over the world. Her three years at UBCO are maybe the first time in a long time she has spent three years in just once place.

Ece decided she wanted to study psychology when she was fifteen. She was fascinated by human behaviour – how our thoughts influence our behaviour, and vice versa. She was comfortable with hearing problems and anxieties from her friends, and she was good at helping them out. Now, a few years later, Ece is a third-year psychology student at UBC Okanagan, and this year became an Undergrad Representative for the CPA. A straight line academically, if not geographically.

“The things I’m learning blow my mind every single day.”

After Ece finishes her undergrad, she hopes to go to grad school – and stay in the same area. She hopes to be able to do her grad school in Vancouver, and after that a PhD in counselling psychology. Her passion is child and developmental psychology, with an eye toward adolescent psychology and addiction one day.

“I really believe in early interventions. As a child we can be molded into any type of person. Especially with disorders as children, like ADHD or autism, I feel like diagnosis in early years is really important for children to be able to navigate their lives in the future.”

When it comes to addiction, Ece really feels that early intervention is key, but also that the stigma society places on those who suffer can be overcome. That people who have substance use difficulties can be accepted, and integrated into society, in a more accepting way than they currently are. The destigmatization of addiction is something that comes up often in our conversation.


What is the psychological concept that blew you away when you first heard it?
I think it was something I learned in one of my psych classes in grade 11. It was the first time I heard about the fundamental attribution error. Which basically means that when we make a mistake, we tend to blame external factors, like our environment. But when someone else makes the same mistake as we did, we tend to blame it on their personal flaws. I never knew that I was actually doing this, until it was defined and had a name associated with it.

You can listen to only one musical artist/group for the rest of your life. Who is it?
It’s probably Amy Winehouse, as depressing as that may sound. But it’s very peaceful for me, and it has a lot of sentimental meaning for me as her album was one of the first birthday presents I remember receiving.

Top three websites or apps you could not live without and why
My messaging app, because I have to keep in contact with people, especially right now. There are people I haven’t seen in many months with whom I like to be in constant contact. Also the CNN international news, because I kind of get anxious when I don’t know what’s going on around the world. And for the third one…I guess Pinterest. I like the whole ‘organizing’ aspect of it.

If you could spend a day in someone else’s shoes who would it be and why?
That’s a very hard question. I remember when I was a kid seeing Doctors Without Borders on TV, and I think I would really like to see what that’s like. To see how it is that they’re so selfless that they go into situations that we couldn’t even imagine.

If you could become an expert at something outside psychology, what would it be?
Definitely art. It’s something I do in my personal time, and I would want to be an amazing artist, or an art critic. I want to be able to see a piece of art and define right away what it is, what the story behind it is, and what emotion they’re trying to convey.

“Whoever you are, and whatever addiction you might be going through, that doesn’t define you as a person. That’s just something you went through. And I hope to get out there and help others understand exactly what addiction is.”

As she began her second year at UBCO, Ece was looking for ways to become more involved. Student life had to be more than just attending and passing classes, right? She found the CPA website, and saw that they had Student Members and Student Affiliates. She found the Student Representative on the campus, and discovered that they were looking for an Undergraduate Rep. It was, as Ece describes, the lucky break she had not even been aware she was seeking.

“It’s really nice to be part of a psychology network where there are so many researchers and students like me. I find that I learn so many interesting things all at once when I get newsletters from the CPA.”

Of course, with COVID, the life of a CPA Undergrad Rep is not exactly like it has been for previous students in the same position.

“I haven’t been able to do anything yet this semester…I wanted to host workshops, and events, and things like that to introduce myself to other psych students – explain to them what the CPA is and the benefits of membership. But as you know, the pandemic has changed a lot of plans. We’re going to send out social media posts so anyone who is on our campus can join, and get to know us. But of course everything is going to be virtual.”

This also means that not only has Ece been living in the same place for three years, she has now been confined to the same place for eight months. Maybe this is a welcome rest, although being an undergrad psychology student, coupled with being a CPA Student Rep, does not make for the most restful of lives. What it does mean, however, is that Ece has been able to focus on her environment, and her studies, for as much time as it takes to know what she wants, and where she wants to go.

“I am going to help people in my life. This is what it’s all for, in the end.”