How 3 Life Events Drastically Shaped My Kinesiology Career
Through various business development courses, I've become more aware of why I became a kinesiologist and how influential childhood experiences were on my career choices. There were also some pivotal post degree career choices as well.
How Life Influenced My Kinesiology Career
Why Choose a Kinesiology Degree?
Firstly, I pursued a degree in kinesiology because I was curious about how exercise physiology, strength and conditioning and injury management could influence human performance. This interest was piqued by an active childhood cross-country skiing, playing soccer, hiking, fooling around outside and being competitive in biathlon. Secondly, kinesiology is a strong foundation for other professional medical careers. Healthcare is in my genes. One side of my family has a legacy of being outstanding doctors as well as nurses.
While the above shaped my educational decisions, the way I practice and my choice to specialize in chronic disease and disability management developed on a more subconscious level starting in 1988.
A Teenager Seeking Inclusion
That year, with great protest from myself, my family moved from Regina, Saskatchewan to Vancouver, British Columbia. I was twelve years old and had formed strong bonds with all my friends since kindergarten. Faced with forming new friendships in a new school at the end of elementary proved to be extremely difficult. There were only two kids who become my best friends in Grade 7. The rest of class ridiculed me for my last name, where I came from and the sport I was passionate about, cross-country skiing. I tried to participate in the local soccer programs. However, even there I wasn’t accepted or given the opportunity to shine.
With the ski and soccer seasons overlapping, I retreated to cross-country skiing because it was something I enjoyed doing with my father and I was with a community who cherished each other – many I still know today. The ski community is where I felt included.
Working with People with Disabilities
There are many career opportunities with a Kinesiology degree. I chose to work with people with chronic diseases and disabilities. The decision was shaped by some of my early work experiences.
The summer after graduating from the University of Guelph, I worked at a group home for people with cognitive disabilities. This opportunity really showed me how difficult it was for the public to accept the residents as human beings, just like you and me.
In January 2000, I had the opportunity to volunteer as a Personal Trainer for a client with a cervical spine injury. During this time, I discovered that the opportunities and facilities for people with disabilities to fully participate in physical activity were seriously lacking. Since then, I have felt it important to remove barriers for participation and provide an environment where everyone can feel welcome and included.
With compassion and acceptance, clients will also be challenged to move differently and move more so that they can get back to what they were doing if injured, continue to do what they enjoy or be able to take on new adventures with greater strength, confidence and ease!