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Opportunity Knocks

Contributed By: Jenna Nodding, PT’10

If we choose to be open to it, opportunity is everywhere. Each person we interact with has something to teach us. The mindset we choose determines how we respond to challenges, either as moments of growth and learning, or moments of constriction. Throughout our life opportunities come our way, sometimes we need to lean into the uncertainty.

These are some of the things I took away during the completion of my Masters of Physical Therapy degree at Queens University. A mindset that led to me embracing the opportunity of living in China for three months to work with their National Short Track Speed Skating Team.

Not every day does the opportunity arise to work on the other side of the world with a group of elite athletes. Unable to speak or understand each other’s language, we were thrown into a game of charades. At times, we were keeled over in laughter and other times, fought tears of frustration as we tried to understand one another. Cultural differences regarding physical contact and the importance of team hierarchy needed to be respected. Until I became accepted as a team member, athletes could not see me for treatment without the head coach or doctor’s approval.

As the weeks ticked by, I began to gain more independence. Once the athletes were able to book appointments with me directly, my days became filled with taping, concussion management, rehab programs, and standard treatments. My skills and knowledge were tested. Many physiotherapists back in Canada with greater experience and knowledge than my own provided incredible resources and support, helping me along the way. It always amazes me how much we can learn from one another as practitioners if we lean into the fear of being judged and ask more questions!

Half way through my time here, I’m often asked…Would I take a similar contract? My answer:  there is a reason why they call it a once in a lifetime opportunity! It has been amazing to help the athletes overcome injury, progress in their spot, and also to challenge myself. But the draw of a balanced lifestyle is calling my name. That being said, ask me after a season of skiing, mountain biking, and being back in beautiful Canada and you may be able to twist my rubber arm. Here’s to the next opportunity!