Sarah Prien – Student Story

The path I’m on in life is not a straight one. I like to say ‘Yes!’ to the next opportunity and that’s lead me on some great adventures.

Sarah PrienI’m originally from Ontario and moved to BC to study and work as an archaeologist. I worked across Canada and Europe before agreeing to a spur-of-the-moment trip to Kenya during an off-season. While there, I found myself volunteering at an orphanage school in a slum in Nairobi and became enamoured to teaching; there was a vitality to the work that I enjoyed. It turned out though, that my trip spanned the Kenya Crisis and while I kept safely indoors, after days without food (and a friend being shot) I finally found a flight home.

The trip shifted my perspective and I soon worked myself into my own classroom in BC where I taught Primary French Immersion. The next shift was also unplanned, when I was forced to acknowledge I was caring so much for my students and fellow teachers that I didn’t have any left over care for myself. Without any work-life balance, I burned out and was forced to evaluate how I was choosing to live my life.

So… I will say that transitions are hard work! In the end, I chose not to return to teaching, or to archaeology, instead choosing (again) to plot a new course.

I considered becoming a massage therapist, but I was deterred for a few reasons (mostly the duration of the program and its cost) and the VSBM Spa Therapy Program seemed a better option. I was curious to learn several modalities, something an RMT program wouldn’t offer, and become a Certified Massage and Bodyworker in the accelerated 18-week program.

The teachers at VSBM reinforce the importance of body mechanics, making sure we never sacrifice our own muscles and joints for the sake of the client’s session. The fact that self-care is part of the curriculum is amazing to me as this was something that seemed an expected sacrifice as a teacher. After the first student clinic, where my body still felt energized at the end of the day, I knew I had made the right choice.

Through the coursework and the student clinics, I am learning human anatomy and physiology and all the popular spa modalities, and how to integrate them into client’s sessions right away. This is helping me to develop a unique practice, which continues to evolve. I’m excited for my future because I am confident I will leave VSBM with a strong foundation and the ability to create effective sessions for my clients. And I’m excited for the future of this cohort of bodyworkers; learning alongside them has created yet another shift to my perspective.