Photo credit: Katelin Belliveau

The anticipation of rejection creeps up on me as I approach another student to ask about their opinion on the new U-Pass protocols on campus.

When I come across a culinary management student, a sigh of relief comes over me with his willingness to talk to me and share his experience.

As a student reporter with the Algonquin Times, part of my job is to talk with people and ask them questions. It’s how journalists build an article and it’s important to include different opinions and perspectives to cover all sides of the story.

Face-to-face social interactions are so limited right now, that I think we sometimes forget how others are coping. So, when Jessie Byers, third-year massage therapy student, told me I was his first client in the massage clinic since March, I understood his relief to be granted the opportunity to gain more experience in his field during these unprecedented times.

“I think people are apprehensive,” said Byers. “And we can’t see the public. So, I think there would be some people that would be more than willing to come in here but can’t.”

Since COVID-19 restrictions have been in place in Ottawa, the college has been slowly accommodating as many students as possible for them to gain the experience they need to be successful while maintaining health protocols.

“They’re in labs, they’re still learning,” said Debbie Robinson, support staff for the massage clinic. “And when they don’t have clients, they work on each other. So, they are getting some experience. However, the true client experience is not the same, because when you receive the public, they’re exposed to a lot more different challenges.”

On Monday, Nov 2., the massage therapy clinic opened its doors to employees and students who have access to campus.

The massage clinic is booking massages until Dec. 11 with affordable rates of $10 for students and $15 for faculty. Robinson said they hope the clinic will remain open in the new year.

When Robinson suggested I experience a massage for myself, I was a little hesitant. I have never experienced a massage before. Especially during the most intense part of my semester, the thought of a massage felt like an indulgence I did not deserve.

However, during a time where we are glued to our technology and hunched over our phones, Byers said there are body alignment issues we may not even be aware of.

“Someone starts working on your muscles, you start realizing things about yourself that you’ve never realized before and it really helps you to tune into your own body,” said Byers.

I could not agree more. Since I received my massage, my anxiety has come down and I’ve been more productive than I have been in weeks.

As students, we can sometimes be a little bit nervous when working when with people and perhaps take up more of time than a professional service. But if you have access to campus, and are willing to receive a massage, get a new haircut or even answer a few questions from a journalism student, you would be giving a priceless gift.