This September 2017, Toronto will host the Invictus Games – a celebration of the strength of injured service members and veterans from over 17 allied nations.The event was established by Prince Harry in 2014 and is the only international adaptive sport event for injured active duty and veteran service members. In honour of the Invictus Games, CCMH/WCCMT will share interviews and stories of veterans who have graduated from our College and students with military backgrounds
Today we spoke with Amanda Kihn, a current student of WCCMT Victoria. She enrolled at WCCMT after serving for nearly 10 years in the Navy. We spoke with her about her transition to civilian life, her studies and challenges, why she loves Massage Therapy, and her aspirations for the future.
Hi Amanda. Can you tell us a bit about your experiences in the military?
I have sailed virtually every sea port on the Pacific from Alaska to Chile! One of my most memorable port visits was to Pearl Harbour, where I ate a mango that fell out of a tree on the base at Hickam. My favourite port to frequent was San Diego, the only place I have ever watched a professional baseball game. Go Giants!
Sounds like you got a lot of travel experience through your service! What led you to pursue a career in Massage Therapy?
I needed a drastic career change. When I left the Navy, I felt like a shadow of my former self. Massage Therapy seemed like a profession where I could continue to take care of people. When I was offered a vocational rehabilitation opportunity by SISIP/Manulife, I started looking for ways to serve humanity. This program was my answer.
We’re so glad you feel that way! Are there knowledge or skills from your past work and life experiences that carry over into Massage Therapy?
My skills are always a work in progress. Continuing education and professional development come naturally to me. I’m always ready to drink from the next fire hose. The military prepared me for studying long hours, dedication to the profession, and above all else, teamwork. This program can be stressful, but it’s only a fraction of the stress that I was used to when it came to my military experience. It’s still challenging, but I have faith in my own resilience.
Sounds like you were well prepared for your studies here! Why did you choose to study at WCCMT in Victoria?
The budget and timeline were perfect for the Vocational Rehabilitation Program. I was honest with them about my concerns transitioning back to civilian life, and the administration has always been on my side as I navigated some challenges.
It would be quite a transition! What are your aspirations for your career as a Massage Therapist?
I am open to all possibilities. Working with veterans with PTSD on releasing trauma registers pretty high on my radar these days. Exploring the mind-body connection and reintroducing therapeutic touch as a means of supplementing deep psychological healing is where my passion lives. I don’t know what my answer to this question will be a year from now when I graduate, but I know my work will be as unique as I am.
We can’t wait to see where your career takes you! What excites you about working in Massage Therapy?
I love how magical it feels to treat someone, even just once, and have them leave feeling better than when they arrived. I get even more excited when they come back the next week so I can pick up where we left off. The real magic is that I know this profession is my vocation and I am elated every time I am able to help decrease someone’s pain or increase their physical or mental well-being.
How fulfilling! Is there anything else about you that you think our readers may be interested to learn?
I’m a mom. I have a 3 year old and a 5 year old. My husband is in the Navy. Studying in such an intense program isn’t easy, but when my husband sails, sometimes it feels impossible. Teamwork is the answer. My support team in the class and my extended family have helped me be all that I can be… and more!
We wish you all the best in your studies and career, Amanda! Thank you for speaking with us.
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