Why did you choose to study at Seneca?
Seneca offered my preferred program at a much more affordable rate than other postsecondary institutions offering it. The campus where the program was offered was close to me, easily accessible and has a serene landscape that appealed to me as well. Seneca’s King Campus is innovative and gorgeous, with clean facilities and a peaceful environment.
How would you describe your experience at Seneca?
My experience at Seneca was a smooth and gentle process. My professors were friendly, and classmates were always willing to lend a helping hand. The curriculum was challenging yet understandable, making my academic journey comfortable and full of growth. I truly enjoyed every step of the process here, and even plan on returning to visit my selfless professors who helped me get to where I am today.
What influenced your decision to continue your education after completing your degree?
Upon completing my degree, one of my last classes helped me refine my research skills, and I discovered my true passion for recreation therapy. This helped me to address the needs of marginalized populations by focusing on physical and psychological health, well-being and recovery.
My final placements offered me the opportunity to gain hands-on experience, leaving me with a desire to stretch my limits. My father recommended I pursue my Master of Arts in Recreation and Leisure Studies at the University of Waterloo in order to further my expertise, fuel my passion and widen my occupational opportunities. I fearlessly took his advice and it turned out to be great!
What influenced you to pursue the field of therapeutic recreation?
After reading about the therapeutic and leisure method, it has led me to understand its importance and the value it can bring to many populations in need of a holistic approach to achieve a better quality of life.
What are you up to now?
I am studying a master’s thesis in recreation and leisure studies at the University of Waterloo. I am also completing my second teaching assistantship here, throughout which I have the privilege of assisting a professor in teaching first-year undergraduate students in the Bachelor of Arts in Recreation and Leisure program at the University of Waterloo.
My thesis is on the topic of “The Social Reintegration of Women Leaving Prison.” I am interested in a variety of feminist theories, federal corrections, community re-entry post discharge, countering dehumanizing institutional practices, social justice, holistic approaches to well-being, mindfulness, Indigenous women’s healing, stimulating positive social change for marginalized populations and creating healthy communities. I am also looking forward to being a research assistant as well!
How was the master's application and process different than your application to Seneca?
The master’s application process was much more detailed and lengthier compared to that of Seneca’s. Be prepared to learn, grow and challenge yourself as you write about your research goals. Also, be prepared to build rapport with professors and mentors in order to flourish. Both processes were great and to each their own.
How did your Seneca program prepare you for your master’s program?
My Seneca program prepared me for my master's program by offering me a gentle, yet challenging learning process. I was grateful for all my professors, who created a comfortable learning atmosphere for me. I always felt encouraged to ask questions, challenge norms and express creativity through my own projects. Additionally, the knowledge and experience that I gained through my classes and paid co-op at Seneca were priceless. Attending Seneca truly helped prepare me for my master's program by providing me with the confidence, motivation and strong foundation that I needed.
Any words of advice to students who are currently in the program you graduated out of at Seneca, and are considering pursing further education?
My advice to students who are currently studying therapeutic recreation at Seneca is to never give up. Learning comes with growth, which comes with ups and downs. Don’t be discouraged by one bad mark. Instead, let it inspire you to be better, to read more, to learn more and to challenge the norms for the sake of future recreation therapists with a desire to help others holistically. Let your weaknesses become your strengths and let your unique qualities shine through your academic journey.
Most importantly, let yourself enjoy learning about recreation therapy! I believe that recreation therapy is often overlooked for its value in society, as it offers many powerful tools for recovery. Let yourself be the recreation therapists of the future, who stimulate positive change for our communities that are in need.
From experience, do you think there is any value in having a degree and master’s degree?
Absolutely! Words cannot explain how valuable my undergraduate experience was. I was almost instantly bombarded with opportunities to work in the field as a recreation therapist upon my graduation. Additionally, my master’s experience has been the most inspirational of all my academic pursuits. It is giving me the foundation I need to succeed in the future, whether I decide to become a professor in the field or a recreation officer. I look forward to pursuing my PhD in the future as well!
Speaking of future, what are your plans — short term and long term?
Short term I will be working closely with my supervisor as a Research Assistant for the population of older adults in rural communities. I will also be working on my own thesis – “The Social Reintegration of Women Leaving Prison.” Both endeavors will involve consistent research and possible interviews with participants. After my master’s program, I would like to teach college or university students, possibly become a recreation officer, pursue my serious leisure pursuit as a hot yoga practitioner and complete my PhD. Thanks to Seneca, I am motivated, excited, filled with gratitude and look forward to a bright future in the field of education and recreation therapy!