Trent Wrightson left his life in Newcastle to study Naturopathy in Melbourne. Learn about his experience studying Bachelor of Health Science, Naturopathy at The Southern School of Natural Therapies (SSNT) – the longest established school of its kind in Australia with 55 years in health education in our network.
How would others describe you?
Dedicated and nerdy – I was the only person in my class to show up to our final lecture
Tell us about the very moment you decided to leave your old life behind and start studying. How did you feel? What was at stake?
My previous degree was in community development, so from a study perspective, deciding to study Naturopathy wasn’t worlds apart. But I did make a big move from Newcastle to Melbourne so moving from a smaller town to a big city was a big step. I left behind all my friends and family and started fresh in Melbourne. Deciding to study Naturopathy was a natural progression for me. I have always wanted to achieve health equality across communities and sustainable health. As an advocate for social health, I want people to be able to look after their own health better and be more in control.
Tell us about any other past experiences that inspired you to dedicate your life to health.
After a month long visit to Alice Springs, I realised the extent of the difference between our health here and the health of people within indigenous and regional communities. I want to be part of the health solution for these people.
Were there any barriers you had to overcome before commencing this course? Or any barriers you had to overcome while studying at SSNT?
Packing up and leaving my life in Newcastle was difficult and adapting to a new inner city Melbourne lifestyle. I had to make new friends, new professional connections. Also, the course is highly academic and I dedicated a lot of time to study.
Did you study online, on campus or as a hybrid? Were you a full-time or part-time student?
Full time 1st and 2nd year, part time 3rd year as I wanted more time to complete that year and back to full time for 4th year.
My advice for students going into their clinical placement is to make the most of having access to the supervisors. Ask as many questions as possible and take initiative to gain long term clients.
What were a few of the favourite subjects you had while studying?
My favourite subject was Health Promotion. Learning about the ties in health and socio economic impacts resonated with me the most.
What does good health mean to you?
Good health is much more than how you look, rather how you feel. We should feel good about ourselves, have healthy relationships, a sense of belonging. Good health should also mean health equality across communities. Just because the most Australian’s are healthy, doesn’t mean we have a healthy population.
How did on-the-job training with real clients and clinics improve your employability?
Clinical placement was the best. Interacting with the public and with clinical professionals in the form of our supervisors was where I really got to put theory into practice. When you leave, you really miss having a mentor to go to, so my advice for students going into their clinical placement is to make the most of having access to the supervisors – ask as many questions as possible and try to be as busy as possible in the clinic and take initiative to gain long term clients.
Why did you choose SSNT to excel your career? What impact has it had on your future?
Before I decided on SSNT, I had started an Advanced Diploma in herbal medicine with a provider in Newcastle, but after starting I realised it was something I really wanted to do and thought a bachelor was the right avenue. I met a friend who was studying at SSNT and highly recommended it – the first time I visited the campus, I knew it was the right place for me to study.
What opportunities have you had as an alumnus from SSNT to further your career or impact on the community?
Opportunities have come my way that I was never expecting. When the Torrens/Laureate Alumni Grant came around, we never expected to win it – we would have launched our initiative regardless. But to have that extra support and the funding made such a difference and all the promotion that came with it. Also earlier in the year, I spoke at the NHAA conference where I met one of the key note speakers and got offered a scholarship to do a course in Nicaragua.
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