Congratulations on taking the first step toward becoming a massage therapist. In your anatomy class, you will learn the body is made up of systems, such as the lymphatic, circulatory and endocrine systems. Just like your massage school, each of these systems is self-contained but works together to create homeostasis, or stability, within the body. In massage school, the most important system is your educational support system.
Your educational support system is made up of a variety of smaller systems: tools, resources and people to keep you energized and motivated. These micro-systems work together, so you can achieve your goals while in massage school and succeed as a professional massage therapist after graduation.
System Reference Guide
Your educational support system begins with your student orientation and handbook. There, you will learn what is expected of you as a student and about the resources available to you. Keep your student handbook handy, as it will be a good reference for details.
System of Experts
Your support system is also stocked with experts: faculty and staff. Their purpose is to help you succeed by providing knowledge or support. In addition to practical application and massage theory, many of your instructors are also massage therapists and can provide insight about the industry. Some instructors offer hands-on tutorials.
Remember, massage is brand-new to you, and some aspects of school might be hard. Ask for help. If you need tutoring, the experts need to know. Communicating with your instructors and administrators is important, and it will make massage school easier. If you are willing to put in extra effort, they will, too. Your student administrator can help by providing advisement to students struggling either with coursework or balancing their personal lives while in school. It is their job to be accessible to any student who needs to talk.
A System Built by You
Fellow classmates are another valuable asset in your educational support system. Surrounding yourself with other students will give you ideas about coping with school. They can be inspiring and motivating. One of the best ways to do this is to create or join a study group. Study groups give you an opportunity to be social within your educational program, but also promote a better understanding of course material. Students who are members of study groups not only have higher grades, but groups create a safe place to share achievements and frustrations that stem from juggling the responsibilities of school. From the experiences you share with your classmates, you will create a bond that will last even after graduation. It is a system that keeps working for you well into your massage career.
Classmates are peer supporters, but a mentor is also valuable. Your mentor might be the massage therapist who inspired you to go to massage school. By pairing with another therapist, you will gain insight into the profession. If you are thinking about working in a hospital after graduation, find a mentor who works in one, and you will instantly have access to what she experiences. If you need help finding a mentor, ask your student administrator to match you with an alumnus or ask your favorite instructor.
The last piece of your educational support system—and the most important—is you. You decided to become a massage therapist, and you know what you are capable of. Therefore, it is important to keep yourself organized and not overwhelmed. Being in massage school is different, and it can be very time consuming. Being a massage therapist means being a time manager. Massage sessions have a start and end time, and massage school is a great place to get comfortable with that concept. Use a calendar to schedule school work and practice time. Writing it down alone will help you get it done. But do not forget to schedule in a little fun. Burnout happens—even in massage school.
Overall, massage school is rewarding, but it takes hard work and determination. Know you are not alone in the process—just like your circulatory system is not alone in running the body. There are many tools, resources and people available to support you. Use the system and micro-systems put in place for your success, and by working together, your massage school experience will be gratifying.