At the Community and Health Studies Info Night on March 19 in the Ross Glen Hall, we chatted with a few of the attendees. Although their stories were different, they were all looking to further their education as a key to their future.
In addition to information on Community and Health programs, there was a career fair with industry employers in massage therapy, personal training and funeral service on the hunt for their next hires among our graduating students.
After suffering injuries in a car crash seven years ago, Erika Casto has been living with chronic pain and is considered disabled.
“After that, my life changed a lot. I couldn’t sit for too long and I started seeking a lot of treatment trying to recover,” said Casto, whose severe back pain was making her job as a bank account manager excruciating.
Last December, her boss delivered an ultimatum.
“Either I waste what I have working as a teller or I start again in a different career. And that’s why I’m here.”
Casto found the answers she was looking for. She says she realizes her journey to wellness holds the key to her future.
“I tried different practitioners and medicines that I never thought existed. Eventually my own therapist told me if you’re not on your own path, your body doesn’t heal. If I change my path, my body will heal.”
Casto learned more about training in Reiki and was able to connect with potential employers asking what they look for when hiring staff.
“I have found interesting things.”
After completing more than 800 required hours through a Vancouver spa therapy course, Yassin Alwarid struck off for the Yukon and started his own massage business.
But 18 months after opening his Whitehorse doors, sweeping regulation changes issued by insurance companies requiring registered massage therapists to have 2,200 hours of training made it impossible for Alwarid to serve his clients.
“I started researching recommended Registered Massage Therapist schools and Calgary came up. I came over to Mount Royal to check it out. This is the only university in Canada that offers massage therapy,” said Alwarid, 38.
“I did it on reputation, it was a good choice. The campus is great, and it’s convenient for me for where I found a place to live. And being in Alberta, you get good connections here.”
Now in his second year of the massage therapy program, Alwarid says he’s excited for his future and feels more at home thanks to Calgary’s urban buzz.
“Calgary’s got some culture, the people are nice. It’s been a good experience.”
Craig Robinson is a professional driver looking to shift gears in his career.
“I’m looking to broaden my horizons and see what kind of options I have,” said Robinson, 54.
He checked out Continuing Education’s Police Studies program and learned more about a career as a parole officer.
“I think I’m pretty good at understanding people. If I can get something along those lines, a bit more intellectual and less physical, I’m interested,” he said.
“I’m here to see how else I can help in society.”
Krista Robb says her university studies elsewhere left her cold and uninspired. While working for an airline, she volunteered to help build houses for the needy in the Dominican Republic.
That’s when she came down with an illness that changed her life.
“It was really a huge magnifying glass on my life. You’re not sick because you have a parasite or don’t feel well, you were sick before you left,” said Robb.
“I came back and went on a big health journey. Now that I’m healthy I want to get out there and help other people.”
Robb is looking to bundle her resources as she narrows down her field of study in wellness.
She’s still fine tuning her future, but knows it’s going to involve yoga, nutrition, environmental consciousness and spirituality.
It’s always nice to hear what brings people out to information night, and inspires people to continue their education. Tell us your story and let us know why you keep learning, in the comments.
– by Karen McCarthy with files from Sherri Zickefoose