Samuel Cabrera and his family came to Canada in 2007, and like many other immigrants, he was working multiple jobs to support his children and feed his family.
Juggling unrealistic and conflicting work schedules, Samuel knew he needed something to enhance his professional life so he could better care for his family. ”I had professional degrees in behavioural science and nursing from my home country of the Philippines, but inside I was not feeling satisfied or fulfilled,” he says.
Samuel always knew he wanted to help and heal people through the practice of massage therapy. “I even went as far to buy a Thai massage book before I moved to Canada,” he says. “But it wasn’t enough to read about it. I wanted to be fully immersed in massage therapy education.”
When he moved to Canada, Samuel started as a patient of massage therapy, and his therapist inspired him to dedicate himself to the craft. “My therapist was excellent, and he was very knowledgeable about the human body, and I knew I wanted to be just as good as he was.”
Samuel started looking at different schools that offered massage therapy, and he came upon MaKami College. “I decided to come for a tour, and right away I saw how supportive the educational environment was here, and from the first time I entered the school, I already felt like I belonged to the College. I knew MaKami could help me reach my goals.”
So, in 2019 he decided to enroll, marking the beginning of a tough but very rewarding journey.
“Right away I knew I loved all the practical experience MaKami offered,” says Samuel. “But it was a very big challenge for me. In fact, I almost gave up. I was working full-time, going to MaKami full-time and I’m a father on top of it all. It all just got to be too much at one point. I kind of stopped trying at school, and just figured it wasn’t going to work out. But the Strategic Academic Learning Team (SALT) kept reaching out, encouraging me not to give up.”
After some time, Samuel’s fire was reignited as the SALT team helped him get through the tough time. “The instructors and SALT staff are so helpful and they’re smart, they know their stuff. And they are unbelievably supportive. If it wasn’t for them providing the support they did, I’m not sure if I would have made it through to be honest.”
But Samuel did make it through – he graduated in 2021 and has gone on to open his own massage therapy clinic, Ablon.
His business is steadily growing, and he is finally acting on his passions. His new massage therapy designation and business provide him happiness, financial security, and freedom in his personal schedule.
“Now that I am an owner and have my own business, I can control my time, when to work and flexibility is number one. Life is short. There should be balance. you can work and, at the same time, enjoy life.”
For any students who may still be struggling in their program, Samuel encourages you to seek the support you need to complete. “To the students who are struggling in the program, know that there are resources out there like the Student Success Centre (SSC) or SALT. Please approach them. They are very helpful. In my experience, they never gave up on me, so please access these resources. Hang in there, you will get there. I also like the free counselling that MaKami College offers to students. There was a time when I was at the College, and I needed help. I accessed the counselling department, and I am so thankful … it helped me a lot.”