Omer Karacay graduated from WCCMT in August 2015 and is currently working as a Registered Massage Therapist at Inlet Wellness Gallery in Port Moody. In addition, Omer recently joined the WCCMT faculty as a Teaching Assistant. He is here to share with us what his WCCMT experience was like. [Read more…]
Danielle St. Laurent graduated in April 2017 and is currently in the process of writing her Board Exams. Danielle has already had handful of job offers and has secured a post with a clinic who was specifically seeking WCCMT graduates to hire.
What made you decide to become an RMT?
I always knew I wanted to go into the healthcare field. Both my parents were paramedics which I’ve always admired, but knew that I didn’t have the stomach for. My Mom mentioned that I should consider becoming an RMT just after I graduated high school and from then on it was always in the back of my mind. It wasn’t until three years later when I heard a commercial for WCCMT on the radio that I knew that it was what I had to pursue!
What made WCCMT stand out to you when deciding which school to go to?
WCCMT has been around the longest and when I was doing my research and asked around it was very highly recommended. It was an easy decision! Even before I took a tour of the College I was sold!
What made you pick WCCMT in the end?
After meeting with Admissions and taking a tour of the school, I loved the atmosphere of the College and how everyone interacted with one another. I liked how the clinic was a part of the College and how small the class sizes are. It was really important to look at the end goal too, so finding out that WCCMT consistently has the highest board exam scores was very important to me.
How would you describe the atmosphere at WCCMT?
It has such a comfortable and home-y atmosphere which was nice as it eventually became my second home! Everyone knows everyone at the school no matter what term and everyone is really close and supportive of one another.
What resources did you find most helpful in order to succeed in our program?
The bio-prep course, that is available before the program starts, was a great resource. As someone who hadn’t taken biology since high school, three years prior, it was nice to get a refresher before starting the program. I also attended many grad tutorials offered by recent graduate of the program which were extremely useful. The instructors gave so many after school tutorials for us and in clinic. There was always extra help available! If ever we were confused about something it was easy to find help.
What do you think of the instructors at WCCMT?
They always put in so much extra time and effort. They are always around when you need them and always take the time to answer your questions. Even when it’s coffee or lunch break, and staying later after class, you could tell they were more than happy to stay and answer questions or give extra demos. It’s obvious that the instructors love what they are doing and are the best in their respective fields.
What was your favourite part of the clinic internship and why?
Outreaches were one of my favourite things about WCCMT. There is such a variety of them and in the last three terms we got to experience so much. The ones I went to were Friends for Life, UBC Sports, BC Women’s Hospital and GF Strong Centre. The instructors there made the experience great too. I can tell that they loved being there and teaching us as much as they possibly could. There were Inreaches as well like Pre-natal and the Multiple Sclerosis Inreach (these are just the ones I attended) and those were awesome as well. It was so cool each term to work with a different group of patients and different conditions each time and learn about how we could help people in so many ways.
Is there a specific clinic experience that stands out?
I had one patient at the Friends for Life outreach that really made a difference in my life. This particular person was so kind and soft spoken. They made small talk with me throughout the treatments and ultimately wanted to relax and I think they needed someone to talk to. I could tell they were just a genuinely nice person who would do anything for someone. They were terminally ill and every time I treated them they made me feel like I had made a difference in their life. At the end of the five weeks, they thanked me so much for my help and we went on with our lives. It made me realize that no matter what happens in life, there’s always a positive side. This new attitude has helped me overcome a lot of obstacles and each time I come upon one, I remember that patient and their positive take on life. Of course, things are going to be overwhelming but it’s worth it to remember the good things as well!
Did you feel prepared for the Board Exams?
Definitely! The Mock Board exams and the Board exam prep courses were such a big help in getting ready for the exam. It’s great that the school does so much to make sure we are ready!
What resources helped you feel more prepared?
The two mock board exams we took in Term 5 were so helpful. It was nice to have an idea of what the exam was going to be like. In clinic we had a couple tutorials that helped prep us as well. After grad, the board exam review classes led by our instructors were very helpful to keep us on track!
How soon after the Board exams did you find work?
I actually got a job before writing my board exams. I was scouted by a clinic because of a referral from the school.
Did you have a lot of employment options and did you feel as a WCCMT graduate employers were more interested in hiring you?
Definitely. The owner of the clinic I was hired at had contacted WCCMT directly and asked the administration to refer a student to them, so they were looking specifically for graduates of our school!
What was it like going to school in New Westminster?
Well, other than school, I spent all my time at the Starbucks next door with the rest of my classmates! Of course there was all the food options at the New West Skytrain station and along Columbia Street. The Columbia Street Sandwich Company across the street is where I ate breakfast at least once a week! The city recently developed The Pier Park down by the Fraser River so there is a great place only minutes away to go hang out and study in the warmer months.
Would you recommend WCCMT to your friends? Why?
Absolutely! It’s definitely the best college. It’s maintained a great reputation for almost 35 years and consistently has highest board exam scores out of all the schools.
What advice would you have for someone who is thinking of becoming and RMT?
Give it 110%. It’s a fantastic school and awesome career to get into. Give it your all because it will pay off!
What questions should people ask when considering a school?
Make sure you know what you want from school. For example I wanted the option of class sizes and a variety of outreaches in the clinical internship which WCCMT definitely offers. I also really liked that the clinic as well as all the resources you could need were right there in the school for us to use.
David Wolynec is a WCCMT graduate from 1995, back when WCCMT New West was WCCMT Vancouver. He currently practices in Kamloops with a strong focus on rehabilitation.
What originally sparked your interest in Registered Massage Therapy?
Way back when I was considering massage therapy, I saw that it was an up and coming profession in the medical world. It allowed alternative healing without medications. It also allowed diversity and specialized practice.
What do you enjoy the most about being an RMT?
I enjoy being a medical professional who works within the medical community and is an integral part of my patient’s rehab.
What brought you to decide to open your own practice and what lead up to that point?
I opened my own practice to build my rehab philosophies and work with other medical personnel. It allowed me to be relevant in the rehab community with having several practices while also providing me with financial stability
What drew your interest to your current areas of focus?
My focus in my practice was developed by my passion as an athlete and my understanding of the importance of having a good rehab team to be part of my success. I also developed my practice with interest from within my community and being part of the athletic community.
Can you explain your philosophy and what makes your practice unique?
My philosophy in my practice is to treat the whole patient and not just their symptoms. I strive for a wellness model which includes self-awareness in one’s own recovery.
What advice would you have for someone who would like to start their own practice and what advice would you have for someone considering becoming an RMT?
My advice to someone starting a new practice would be to find meaningful partnerships that will benefit the practice and the people in the practice. Being a sole owner is challenging as you wear all hats in the business, and that is not a very effective model and leads to many hours of work.
My advice to someone thinking of becoming an RMT would be to research the field and try massage therapy sessions to make sure it’s what you love. Be active in your health and wellness and be in good health yourself, as you will become an influential person to your patients.
Thanks to David for sharing his experiences with us! Want to share your story? Contact [email protected] to be featured in our blog. As always, WCCMT would love to see you on LinkedIn, our New Westminster Facebook Page so you can stay connected with our community.
Meike Hall is a New Westminster Campus student who has just successfully completed term 1. We asked her if term 1 met her expectations and what she is anticipating term 2 will bring.
What made you decide to be an RMT?
While I’ve been asked this a thousand times since first signing up, the answer is still hard to pinpoint. Multiple factors informed my decision to become an RMT, but first and foremost was what the job does for others; helps in the healing process from physical injury or malfunction and offers people a better quality of life from minor ailments or physical challenges be they temporary or long-term.
Why did you pick WCCMT?
After checking out what multiple schools had to offer back in 2015, I found that WCCMT gave me everything I was looking for: reputation, value and history. That WCCMT has been involved in the promotion of massage therapy in BC for as long as it has, for having such highly valued graduates out in the field, and for offering the best education for the right price, these all made it my number one choice.
What expectations did you have for term one and how was what you experienced different?
I truly didn’t have many expectations except that it was going to be a challenge – and it most certainly was! Because the field is so vastly different from my background, I expected everything to be new, foreign and somewhat exciting. In truth, it was all very new, only partially foreign and while it was difficult in its own way, what we were learning was exciting, so it’s fair to say my expectations were met.
What was your favourite part of your first term?
Favourite part? Gosh, that’s hard to say. I think it was the manual skills class when we got to apply what we were learning. Almost every week I would look around at us all working on new techniques and think, “Woah! We’re actually doing this! I’m doing this! It’s real!”
What was the most difficult?
Remembering everything that needed to be remembered and not letting it overwhelm me;taking everything – exams, quizzes, reading assignments – one day at a time.
How do you feel coming up to term two?
Excited, a little surprised and still nervous. Excited because we get to move on to the ‘next level’, surprised because I truly can’t believe I made it through the first term, and nervous because it’s what keeps me hungry in my studies and wanting to succeed.
What are you looking forward to the most in term two?
To be honest, I’m not really sure! Maybe not being the newbies anymore, ha! Or maybe working with a new set of instructors, learning more and adding to our mental ‘toolbox’.
Is there anything you aren’t looking forward to/are dreading?
Forgetting what I learned in Term 1 by having it replaced with new information. Not that it’s a guarantee to happen, but I’m dreading the possibility. That and more OP’s – they still make me nervous!
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about joining the program?
If it’s what you want to do, be brave and be prepared! It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it. It’s a lot of sweat, but it’s rewarding. Even if all I walked away with was Term 1, I’m much richer than I was beforehand.
Thanks to Meike for sharing her experiences with us! Want to share your story? Contact [email protected] to be featured in our blog.
We spoke with Margot Joy Leviton; a New Westminster Campus graduate from 2005. She has been busy running a practice, and creating her jewelry line.
What made you decide to go into massage therapy?
From an early age I liked to help my friends and family by doing massage on them. My mom used to pay me in pennies to massage her back. I liked how I could do something for her at such a young age. From Theatre School to volunteering on Minor League hockey teams, I’ve always had people who liked me to work on them.
I had never thought of doing massage as a career until my mom was going through Cancer. Her RMT taught a beginners course in basic Swedish Massage and after taking it and seeing how I helped my mom with her pain, I was hooked. I’ve always loved to help people and massage was a wonderful way to do this.
What did you like the most about being at the college?
I really enjoyed our instructors. We had a younger, inspiring and fun group of individuals who loved teaching.
Can you tell us a bit about your current practice and how you got Knowing Hands started?
In 2010, I chose to focus my practice using primarily Myofascial Release, Craniosacral Therapy and Visceral Manipulations. It was also during this time that I decided to change my business name to Knowing Hands. When I took my Intro to Massage class to qualify for the RMT program in 2003, the comment on my evaluation was Margot has “knowing hands”. My mom had always suggested I name my practice this, but it didn’t resonate for me until this moment in time. I treat many different issues, but my present focus and passion is now on concussions, blows to the head, trauma to the tailbone or falls on the tailbone.
What is your favourite thing about being an RMT?
I love being able to help people by facilitating their healing. When I applied for massage school I wrote an entry letter stating that: “I believe if we had more massage and touch in society, we would have less hate and violence”. I still believe this. I believe that what I do contributes to a more loving and peaceful world.
What inspired you to start a jewellery line and what is the purpose behind it?
I believe in healing in any shape or form and I connect to stones and crystals. I started to have different types of stones and crystals around me and noticed changes. I purchased a few jewellery pieces and saw how my love of stones may get costly. I thought I would just make it myself to save money and be able to design things to my specific liking. I started wearing my pieces and people started asking to buy them. Four years later, SoulStones Jewellery is my second business.
Do you combine your RMT practice and jewelry line?
It’s been an interesting situation for me to be an RMT, which is rooted in Science and Physiology and experience more spiritual aspects of my touch. I don’t use stones or crystals on my patients during my treatments, but for those who inquire, I recommend certain stones to help them clear trapped emotions.
What advice would you give someone who would like to be an RMT?
If you like to work with people, have skilled hands and want to help humanity, being an RMT is a great career path.
Thanks to Margot for sharing her experiences with us! Want to share your story? Contact [email protected] to be featured in our blog.