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Fun and Fitness: College's golden opportunities shouldn't be squandered

Rick Melo | Interrobang | Sports | January 18th, 2010



You may not realize how lucky you really are to be a Fanshawe student. The college experience is one that places a lot of emphasis on practical experience. With smaller class numbers compared to those of universities, it allows students the opportunities to really put into practice what they've been learning. What I am talking about is internships, co-op placements, whatever it is that you like to call them — these are the golden opportunities of your college years and the experiences that will ultimately mould who you are!

It is not out of the ordinary to have up to two or three internships in a two year diploma program. Coming from the Fitness & Health Promotion program myself, I did placements at two fitness centres, one recreation centre, and one hospital. That is four placements in only two years! Some may think that is far too hectic to manage but if I could go back, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Fitness students and enthusiasts alike should really challenge themselves into discovering new areas of interest. I recently completed a semester internship at a physiotherapy clinic. While completing my third year of my kinesiology degree, I realized that injuries were one of my weaker areas of knowledge. As intimidating as it was, I decided to volunteer at this clinic in order to educate myself further in the area. Although I never really fancied the idea of becoming a physiotherapist myself, I thought this would also be a smart way of finding out for sure if it wasn't a career path that interests me.

Sure enough, the placement only further cemented my notion of not wanting to be a physiotherapist, but my God did I ever learn a lot! I now find myself better able to help Fitness 101 members diagnose their injuries and provide the correct programming accordingly. It also doesn't hurt that I made some great friends at this clinic who I can call on any time for advice. I'm sure I'll be calling on them as I age and become brittle!

This applies to anyone in general and not just Fanshawe students or fitness gurus. Don't be afraid to get out there and volunteer for anything that tickles your interest. Being that it is second semester and the second week of school, many of you students are in the process of finding a semester placement. If you know what you want to do for the rest of your life, now is the time to find a placement at your “dream job.” You may not get hired there as soon as you graduate, but chances are they will take you on as a co-op student, especially when you will be working for them for free! Doing well academically is important, but experience is what gets you hired in the end. So the earlier you start the better.

If you land a placement that sparks a new professional interest or simply reinforces what you've been dreaming to do as a career all along, than that is great. If it happens to not be what you thought it was cracked up to be, don't kid yourself into thinking it was a waste of time; be thankful that you spent only a semester to realize that a specific profession isn't what you want to do for the rest of your life. However, if you get hired on after and it's everything you ever wanted and more, I'll be expecting a cheque in the mail for my inspirational advice, please and thank you!
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