When a friend introduced me to the idea of taking Therapeutic Recreation, I wasn’t really sure what that meant! I knew what Gerontology was but I had never really considered working with elders before. I had some experience working with older adults through my current job as a kinesiologist but to interact with them daily was not something that had crossed my mind. I remember finding the older adult patients I had to be more challenging to work with because their injuries were often compounded by the restrictions of age and poor habits formed over their lifetime. I wasn’t sure if working with older adults exclusively was something that I was interested in.
I was encouraged to attend an Info Session at Stenberg College to learn more about the program. And I am so glad I went! I met so many interesting people there: people from the industry of recreation therapy that seemed to truly love their jobs. And I thought to myself, “I like my job for the most part now but wouldn’t it be nice to love my job? Love my job as much as these people do?” This is when I knew I should give it shot!
I was a little hesitant about the online learning aspect. I had completed a Degree in Science the traditional way: attending University daily, taking 4 or 5 classes simultaneously for a semester. This was the normal way to learn for me over the past 5 years. But this new layout was scary! Online? One class at a time? Everything on my own? This was a somewhat foreign concept to me. [Note: I attended high school at St. Joseph High School in Edmonton, Alberta, where they offer an Independent Self-Paced Learning Program. I did go to a building everyday for school but I was responsible for basically teaching myself the material and setting my own deadlines. I procrastinated a lot in high school!] I was worried about falling off pace or getting behind. I was worried about feeling alone or not having any support when I needed it. I was worried I wouldn’t understand the material and would have no one to ask for help. Boy, was I wrong!
I have been at Stenberg College for 3 months now and I can’t believe how amazing this program is! My classmates are awesome – there is always someone to ask an opinion or seek clarification from. Someone might post on the forum that they don’t understand a question – maybe it’s worded strangely or there’s a language barrier. Everyone is so happy to help you understand. The professors are quick to respond to messages or emails so you never feel alone. There’s always a schedule to follow so you know if you’re falling behind and need to catch up over the weekend. Although some courses have been more difficult than others and sometimes it can get a little overwhelming, everyone has been so encouraging and supportive. We’ve built a little community in our cohort and we’re working as a team to get through all the workload. I have to admit that the Therapeutic Recreation program is nothing like I expected but in all the best ways!