Here at CCMH, we’re very lucky to have alumni with unique journeys. We love to hear back from them, and to reflect on how much their lives have changed before and after attending CCMH! In this blog, we spoke to Alex Yue, an RMT who graduated from the CCMH Toronto campus who has a wholly unique hobby and side-business.
Alex didn’t always want to be an RMT. He came to it, however, in a relatively round-about way that is altogether unique: origami! Alex has always loved the art of origami, teaching himself the craft from the tender age of six-years-old.
He was fascinated by it, and the little shapes and figures he made seemed to engage and entertain the adults around him, too. He was raised by a single mother in Hong Kong, with little around to play with. Paper, however, was readily available, “so I made what I wanted,” he shared. He picked up the skill quickly from books wherever he could find them. Eventually, his education was supplemented by the wealth of information available online.
Alex moved to Canada at the age of 13, a huge change for a young man. “I learned a lot,” Alex said, “and the origami ended up being a coping mechanism for my transition to Canada.”
“Art connects people,” he continued. The librarian in high school noticed his passion for the craft, and his skill. He remembers Valentine’s Day specifically, as his school used to sell roses as a fundraiser, and they held charity events he’d participate in by selling his art.
After high school, Alex joined the Origami Society of Toronto, an organization founded in 1986 that has hosted talks and demonstrations by origami artists from around the world.
In 2008 everything changed when Alex took on his first commissioned work. He worked on three major projects, and started making origami bouquets for events and functions. “I spent time on the train and subway folding on my way to and from school,” he said, adding “I realized this could be a business opportunity.” He’s since gone on to do some pretty impressive design commissions for some high-profile clients. If you’re a fan of the Bryan Fuller television series Hannibal, chances are you’ve seen Alex’s work; he made the origami heart in the season 3 premiere, Antipasto. “I’ve learned the value of my art,” he says, “it’s taken me to many great places.”
When Alex worked as a youth worker, origami was a great way to bridge the gap between him and the kids he worked with, allowing him to forge a stronger connection with them. He worked in the childcare field for eight years, but decided he wanted to try to help people in a different way. “I massaged my mom [one day] and started thinking to myself … why not Massage Therapy?”
A coworker of his at the time recommended he give Massage Therapy a real shot. She suggested CCMH specifically as a great place to get his formal training, as she was a former student herself. She’d said it was an excellent school, speaking highly of the teachers and curriculum. He’d learn this first-hand as he began his studies, finding that the teachers at CCMH forge strong connections with their students, and work hard to make the learning process fun and engaging. Of one of his instructors, Alex says “Maria will combine learning with a dance,” for example, while another teacher, Taka, “has a unique approach to treatment,” and was a great instructor.
He’s since graduated, and is now doing his OSCEs.
“It’s a quiet buzz now,” Alex says of life after graduating.
When asked of some of the challenges he faced in school, Alex says he had the hardest time with Neuroanatomy, as it was heavy in theory, with few practical components. The most important thing to know, he says, are your mnemonic devices, especially when trying to learn your cranial nerves! For instance, when trying to remember the cranial nerves from CNI to CNXII, you might try “Ooh, Ooh, Ooh, To Touch And Feel Very Good Velvet. Such Heaven!” (OOOTTAFVGVSH).
“It was nerve wracking to Massage someone at the CCMH clinic at first in term two,” Alex said. “But by the end of term four, my attitude changed,” he added. “My growth will happen moving forward,” he continued, saying that he felt reassured by his growth and progress between second and fourth term at CCMH.
So what advice does Alex have to give current and future students at CCMH? “Growth will happen if you keep pushing!” Alex’s next challenge to tackle? A Canadian GoRuck event, military-style endurance challenges that focus on teamwork, leadership, and problem solving.
Good luck, Alex! And thank you for sharing your remarkable story with us!