Catching Up: Seven Questions and a Wildcard
Tell us about what you have been up to since graduation. What are you doing now?
Since graduation, I have been working as an LMT for Advanced Care Chiropractic in Gresham. I have also been going to Mount Hood Community College full-time. I plan on returning to UWS for the chiropractic program in fall 2018.
When you look back at your experience at UWS, what do you remember as the best part?
The quality of the education and the relationships I had with my classmates and professors were awesome. I was excited to learn because the material was presented very well and I was with the people that I would describe as a second family.
How did your time at UWS prepare you for your career and life?
UWS helped me prepare for my career by providing me with a great clinic experience where I could practice my technique in a safe environment with instruction. The soft tissue classes also provided me with the knowledge of how to really work soft tissues to achieve muscle release. The kinesiology and anatomy courses were challenging, but they provided me with an edge over graduates from other massage schools. When I talk to massage therapists from different schools, none of them got to observe in a real cadaver lab like we did at UWS.
What made you choose UWS over other schools?
Dr. Brian Vroom, whom I work for now, is a close friend’s father. He went to UWS for the chiropractic program in the 90s. He told me that UWS had an exceptional massage therapy program where I would get a quality education and he was right.
What made you decide on this education and career path?
I initially wanted to be a physical therapist, so I thought knowing how to do massage work would give me a major edge rather than jumping straight into a college or university undergraduate program like most people do. I knew experience and hands-on learning was better than just educating myself through lecture and books.
Are you still close to any of your classmates and do you try to get together?
Yes! I work with my best friend from UWS, Victor Kutsar. I haven’t seen many of my other classmates very often after school because it is hard to find time to socialize on a full-time school and almost full-time work schedule.
If there was one thing you could say to the general public about massage, what would it be?
It is so much more than relaxation. It is a key tool for well-being and healthy living. Our media stereotypes massage therapy as a weird profession and that it is all about making people feel good only while they are at an appointment. Making people feel good in the appointment is nice, if that is what the patient wants, but getting them to be healthier and energetic when they walk out the door is even better. Witnessing the progress when a joint increases its range-of-motion due to the work you have been performing and making your patient incredibly happy is fulfilling and encouraging. It is a challenging, but rewarding profession. You will be tired and have sore hands from doing hours of massage in a day, but seeing your patients move better and tell you that they can perform daily activities with less pain makes it all worth the effort. You begin to feel like you can really make a difference in the lives of others.
WILD CARD: Which class and/or instructor was your favorite and why?
I liked my deep tissue class the most because that is where I learned my most effective techniques that I still use today in a team-based environment. It also helped me understand exactly how massage makes a physical difference in the people you work on. Paulina Blair (Thibodeaux) was my favorite instructor. She has always been extremely supportive and helpful for as long as I have known her. When I went to my UWS orientation when I was first considering taking the program, she was the one to show me the school. She taught my modalities class and helped lead us on our outreach events. One event that has stuck with me was the Shamrock Run. We were doing free massages for the athletes that were running and it was such a fun time even though the weather was terrible that day. Paulina is still a good friend and mentor to me.