Massage therapy school can be an exciting time filled with new opportunities and the promise of a new career. However, the transition from student to professional can sometimes be a scary one and many new graduates can feel a bit lost during this time.
At Massamio, we love new graduates and we wanted to help so we sat down with Kat Mayerovitch for some insight. Kat is a licensed massage therapist in Cleveland, Ohio and a recent graduate from massage therapy school.
Massamio: Why did you choose to go to massage therapy school?
Kat: I was working in daycare at the time, and I was starting to realize it was turning into a dead-end. A couple of my friends were massage therapists, and when I talked to them about it, I realized it had most of the things I loved about my current job (helping people, not sitting at a desk all day), and hardly any of the things I hated (inflexible schedule, no input into business practices, 300+ diapers a month). Also, I love getting massages!
Massamio: What was the most challenging thing about massage school?
Kat: Definitely the time commitment. I was working from 7-4, then going to school from 6-10. For a year an a half, my idea of a date with my husband was “Let’s go to a coffee shop and you can use the internet while I study.” I studied ALL the time, and it was hard not having much of a social life.
Massamio: When did you graduate and how did you feel when you completed the program?
Kat: I graduated from SHI Integrative Medical Massage School in May 2011, and became licensed that July. I was excited, but also scared. I felt like I still needed more guidance and schooling. It turned out that I was ready, but leaving the safety of school is a nerve-wracking experience.
Massamio: What was the hardest thing about starting your massage practice right out of school?
Kat: It was very difficult for me to cope with all the ethical ambiguities in the real world. In school, ethics can be so theoretical, so cut-and-dried. But it seemed like nearly every employer was doing something unethical or unsafe or sometimes even illegal. It was really disheartening, and I worried about finding good work that I could be proud of.
Massamio: What was the one thing you wish they had told you in massage school?
Kat: Reach out to massage therapists you admire and find mentors, but remember that they’re not gods. Temper all advice with your own sense of what’s right and wrong for you. This includes advice from your teachers, who have blind spots of their own.
Massamio: What are some of the first things a new student should do after graduating from massage school?
Kat: If you haven’t already, get your website together! Even if you’re working as an employee, you can still use it to get people to schedule with you where you work. And if you’re still waiting to jump into your massage career, a website can help you find work when you’re ready.
Massamio: What are some of your “wins” that you experienced when starting your practice?
Kat: My earliest “win” was discovering that I got compliments from clients for the same techniques I got compliments on in school. My skills were actually good by professional standards! More recently, I found an ad for my dream job. I gushed about my passion for the work they were doing in my cover letter, and they hired me on the spot over more experienced applicants. I’m still working there, and still thrilled about it!
Massamio: What advice would you give other massage therapy students who are about to graduate?
Kat: Keep your eye on the prize. If you’ve got dreams for your practice, just keep working towards them while getting your hands on as many people as possible in the meantime. When you’re not sure what to do about a situation, learn from it.
Massamio: Where do you plan to go from here?
Kat: I’m really focused on helping the chronic pain management center where I work to expand its reach. I’d like to get training in lymphatic drainage so that we can serve more people with a wider range of issues. I’m also in the very initial stages of doing a literature review for my very first case report. There’s still so much to learn!
Massamio: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Kat: Don’t let people make you feel bad if your practice isn’t that fabulous when you’re starting out. There’s no shame in taking a less-than perfect job while you work towards your dreams.
Massamio: Thank you, Kat! Your insight is tremendous and we really appreciate your time!
Kat: My pleasure!
Kat Mayerovitch is a licensed massage therapist in Cleveland, Ohio. She practices at the Center For Integrated Therapies, a nonprofit providing complementary care for people with chronic conditions. When she was still a student, Kat started the blog LMT or Bust, where she still writes for massage therapists, present and future.
Comments from original Massamio post:
Very impressed w/ the comments Kat made about her experiences as a new massage therapist. I will refer friends to her. — Posted @ Wednesday, October 10, 2012 2:30 PM by Patty Worthem