Stephanie Jackson is a recent graduate of the Massage Therapy Program at ISSN. While attending school, Stephanie like many other students faced major obstacles that forced her to make some tough decisions. As she shares her story below, we invite you to reflect on your own personal stories to see where a career in massage will benefit your life!
So why did I choose massage? As a young child, my father had regular massage therapy sessions and after each session he would come home and try to teach me a technique that he had experienced at his session. I think the most I ever learned was a good back rub. I guess that is how I started developing strength in my hands; my father was no small man.
Years passed and I took on many corporate jobs starting as a Food & Beverage Director at a local country club. I moved on to an array of different careers from wedding planning, selling software, corporate sales training and selling cars wholesale; all jobs were challenging but somehow something was missing. I decided that I needed something more. So I decided that I would go for my Master’s Degree. Being out of college at this point for many years, I thought it would be best to take some courses in something I was passionate about.
One day I was visting a trading website…and there it was; my first massage table. It was well used and had a big tear in the side of the upholstery that was “repaired” with camouflage duct tape! Now, mind you, I hadn’t signed up for school but right at that moment, I knew that was where I was supposed to go. I met the owner of the table and she asked me if I had applied to any schools yet. My answer at that time was “no” but that I had toured a massage school in the area that I didn’t feel a connection with. She told me about ISSN and told me that they had a great Massage Therapy Program. I called the school the next day and set an appointment to visit and discuss enrolling. It only took a tour and a brief chat and boom! I was enrolled. I knew that I belonged there.
I believe completely that the passion my instructors have for the industry really rubbed off on me. At times I wasn’t sure that I would make it…that the info wouldn’t stick in my brain. But when I relaxed and just focused on my goal, it was amazing how much I had really learned and retained.
Now at the time, I was working a full time job and the job didn’t make it easy for me to attend night classes. I became very discouraged and came close to giving up. But the family environment that ISSN provided helped to coach me through that challenging time.
Then one day I was laid off from my corporate job. I was a bit upset, as it paid for my bills and my educational goals. I was actually crushed; not certain that I could continue with school. But then it occurred to me…what an excellent opportunity to gear up and go double time to school and graduate on time! It was a blessing in disguise. So I did just that!
I have experienced many professors in my time; from Kennesaw State to the professors at Georgia State University. I can say with full confidence that I am lucky and blessed to have studied under such fine and passionate instructors. For that I will never forget Ms. Che, Ms. Nicole and the rest of the ISSN staff.
I took the MBLEx and passed with flying colors with over 100 points more than I needed to fulfill the requirements. After informing ISSN of my score, I had job offers immediately. I have been working now for a high end spa in the Buckhead area, since February. I love the spa as it gives me the opportunity to meet all kinds of great people. It has opened up some doors that I would have never imagined were available to me. I recently had a client that loved my massage so much that she posted it on Facebook. The word trickled out to her friends and landed me a job on a local popular TV show…doing what I love… Massage!! I also have my own mobile massage therapy business where I am growing my own clientele base. I love having my own business too since there is a certain satisfaction to being your own boss and expanding your possibilities and potential.
Currently I am looking into continuing education courses and am looking forward to expanding my knowledge base….massage is a wonderful industry full of options and endless opportunities. Thank you God for directing me, ISSN for allowing me to attend and my instructors for believing in me and pushing my abilities. I am eternally grateful.
Stephanie Jackson, LMT