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Jennifer – Pursuing a Career with a Healthy Work-Life Balance 

Jennifer MIller, a middle-aged blond caucasian woman, holds a clioboard in a classroom at MaKami College in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Jennifer was a nurse for 20 years before life circumstances caused her to reevaluate how she could better balance her work and home life.  

After moving to Alberta from Ontario two years ago with her partner and two young sons, things changed drastically for Jennifer. “Along with the move I had to change careers and buy a house in a new neighbourhood, and I knew I needed a career change that was going to help my sons and myself,” she says. “I realized I wanted to have much more control over my hours, my income and what I was doing on a day-to-day basis.” 

Jennifer researched a few careers and massage therapy seemed to be one of the most promising for the lifestyle she wanted. “I contacted three separate schools and MaKami was the college that was the most welcoming,” she says. “My Student Advisor was able to provide all the answers to my questions immediately, and their Advanced Clinical Massage Therapy program was the most versatile. I was able to start right away, and I could pick the days of the week I was coming so I could manage my work and home life well. Every part of the program I was able to fit into what was already happening in my home life.”  

Although Jennifer was excited to begin college, she was a mature student who was nervous about fitting in with the younger students, and about using an iPad instead of textbooks. “I was worried I wouldn’t have anything in common with the other students, and I’m not technically skilled, so I was worried I wouldn’t know how to use it.” 

But Jennifer quickly realized there was no reason to be nervous about either of those things. “I have made great friends, actually – friends that I would never have made if I hadn’t come to MaKami who make my life better regularly.” 

And she was pleasantly surprised when it came to using her iPad, too. “I actually found the iPad easy to use, with an abundance of fantastic resources that have made my learning easier, bigger, more in-depth than I ever expected. Not to mention it’s so easy to carry just an iPad and not have to bring textbooks, which I am used to doing. It was definitely an unexpected benefit of MaKami – it’s easy, portable and accessible.” 

She had found a program that met her needs and had overcome those hurdles she thought she was going to face, but Jennifer’s first year in the massage therapy program wasn’t without its tough times.  

Within a few weeks of starting school, Jennifer’s grown daughter moved in with her four-year-old son, and Jennifer’s father also passed away shortly thereafter.  

During this difficult time, college staff offered to listen, informed her about MaKami’s free counselling services and directed her to free tutoring. “I felt very supported during all those very difficult life events. They provided me with support and resources for myself and my family and it helped me get through my first year.”  

In fact, Jennifer did so well during her first year that she received a Certificate of Distinction and a Top Marks Certificate. 

“I just can’t get over how positive an experience this has been for me and how much I’m looking forward to coming back,” Jennifer says. “MaKami makes you feel like you’re part of something. You’re not just attending school, you’re an important part of what’s happening here on a regular basis.” 

When she begins her second year of the program, Jennifer says she can’t wait to learn about orthopedic assessment, which are tests to diagnose injuries or conditions in the musculoskeletal system. 

She is already thinking about her life after graduation and where it might lead her. But most of all, she is looking forward to beginning a career that allows her to spend more time with her family.  

“You can have control over your own hours, where you work and how much you work. It doesn’t have to be all the time.” 

MaKami has been a transformative experience for Jennifer, and after meeting other MaKami massage therapy students outside of school, she can see the same pattern. 

“The resounding theme of that is, ‘I’m going to have control over where I’m going to be, what I choose to do, how I’m going to make my life look and how I’m going to incorporate my career into my life.’” 

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