Meet Vanessa Anne Poggiali-Trapani, 52 – lover of music, visual arts aficionado and advocate for positive optimism. She wanted to be an artist or a composer when she was little, she says, but as the vibrant vignette of her life has developed over time so too have her aspirations.
Today Vanessa’s dream job is to become a performance-coach-cum-counselling-psychologist. To make her vision a reality she enrolled at SACAP. She is currently in the final year of her Bachelor of Applied Social Science degree, which she’s studying online.
We’re curious. Is she enjoying her course? What’s online learning like? Where does she hope the qualification will take her? So we caught up with Vanessa Anne and asked her. Here’s what she had to say.
Vanessa Anne is a creative person. “The common thread that has run throughout my life has been some form of drawing,” she explains. “Whether it has been drawing as a visual artist and a graphic facilitator or drawing out potential in students through training.”
Currently Vanessa Anne says she relishes the idea of combining psychology and visual learning in her dream vocation: performance-coach-cum-counselling psychologist. “ I can’t wait to draw out possibility from my future clients.”
Performance coach and counselling psychologist are vastly different roles, aren’t they? While they appear dissimilar, Vanessa Anne asserts, they have a lot in common. “Much like a composer, both a coach and a psychologist help a person compose a life that is harmonious to its listener – notes, instruments and performers come together to create a symphony, a unifying pleasing sound.”
Positive optimism drives Vanessa Anne in her quest for this kind of symphonic subsistence, she says. “I’m motivated by Austrian Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl’s concept that learned optimism can be a massive strength in the face of inevitable obstacles. I believe in saying yes to life!”
Path of discovery
Studying psychology wasn’t Vanessa Anne’s initial choice, she admits. “I worked for many years as a visual practitioner because I thought my visual art skills might be best suited to educating people. The helping profession has always inspired me, though.”
Four years ago Vanessa Anne decided to nurture her interest in supporting people. “I went online in search of an online campus that offered degrees in coaching or counselling and came across SACAP,” she recalls.
“I chose SACAP and specifically to study for my Bachelor of Applied Social Science degree because of its primary focus on the various disciplines of psychology. Importantly I wanted my studies to include the impact social complexities have on individuals and groups. Fortunately these elements are in my SACAP course,” she says.
Shifting towards success
Vanessa Anne is glad she enrolled online for SACAP’s online degree: “It has single-handedly been the most life-changing experience for me!” she exclaims.
How? “The knowledge that I’ve acquired can be assimilated into both my work and my private life,” she says. “Also, the collaborative environment of the course has been incredible.”
Her favourite component of the online degree so far? “The reflective focus. It’s mandatory for us as students. While I find it the most challenging part of the course, it’s equipped me with a better understanding of myself,” she concedes.
“What’s more,” Vanessa Anne continues, “It’s enabled me to make changes in my own life. I now have a greater awareness of how clients feel when asked to ‘open up’ and the courage it takes to do so.”
“The online platform has given me an opportunity I would not have been able to take otherwise,” says Vanessa Anne. “I’ve loved the flexibility of being able to manage my time on my own.”
“In a bizarre set of circumstances,” she continues, “The lockdown actually served to improve my learning experience because we took part in classes with other students from around the world. This special opportunity was made available to us for the first time. SACAP’s lockdown adaptations meant we could explore our assignments in a new, connected, face-to-face manner online.”
Beyond her career aspirations Vanessa Anne feels her SACAP qualification has enriched her life in other ways, too. “It has enabled me to live a brave life, aware of who I am, what I want to be and do, and how I want to engage with others.”
As she approaches the final leg of her degree she says she’s excited about the prospects that lie ahead. “I’m hoping my degree will enable me to start my own organization equipping emerging adults with the resources they need to traverse the treacherous terrain into adulthood. I also hope to become a lecturer in social psychology one day,” she adds.
Brave new world
Poised on the precipice of a brand-new year the old adage that fortune favours the brave couldn’t be more appropriate – or thrilling! The Covid-19 pandemic has catapulted the need for mental health professionals to an all-time high. Like Vanessa, will you be brave enough to heed the call?
In observing the demands of the pandemic from a person-centred perspective SACAP discerned a different type of need. Subsequently, SACAP has diversified its online study options accordingly. In addition to its established and well-respected online campus it now offers two new learning opportunities: Online Live and Online Flexi.
Online Live’s hybrid approach to online learning is ideal if you enjoy the flexibility of studying online but like structured real-time engagement, too. Online Flexi is a self-directed approach to learning online and ideal if you want to self-pace through weekly online engagements and tasks while managing your personal and professional commitments. In the age of Covid the time to be courageous is now. SACAP’s latest blended learning opportunities could help you forge your way to a brave new world. Are you keen to stand up and be counted? Discover more here.