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The road to a Master’s degree for UofGH Kinesiology alumnus Sajan Patel
I'm really excited to do my Master's degree. My friends and family are very excited for me as well.
Health and physical fitness have been a way of life for many years for University of Guelph-Humber Kinesiology alumnus Sajan Patel. But when he started his post-secondary career, he couldn’t have predicted that he would be starting the Master of Science in Physical Therapy program at U of T this fall.
“I’m really excited to do my Master’s degree. My friends and family are very excited for me as well,” says Patel. “I’m excited to experience the clinical placements. I think I do well in small group environments with smaller class sizes and being able to have a give-and-take relationship with other students and professors, and being able to learn from them. I know I’m going to be learning a lot.”
Following his passion
For Patel, each step has led to the next in his post-secondary journey. He started his post-secondary career in York University’s Political Science program, but in his second year he realized it wasn’t the right program for him. Driven by a lifelong passion for health and fitness, he enrolled in Humber College’s Fitness and Health Promotion diploma program. Patel had long exercised, played sports, and researched independently during high school, so a health-related career seemed like a great fit.
“I knew that generally I wanted to be in the healthcare industry, but I didn’t know in what capacity. I didn’t have a five-year plan or a long career outlook – I just decided that regardless, I was going to pursue what I wanted to do and what I always had a passion for,” he says. “I thought the Fitness and Health promotion program at Humber would be a good learning opportunity for me.”
At Humber, Patel discovered the bridge program at UofGH that would allow him to enter the third year of the Kinesiology program and earn his degree after graduating from Humber’s two-year diploma program. “It was a pretty easy decision for me – I didn’t hesitate to apply to UofGH, and my marks were good enough that I was able to get into the bridge program,” he explains. “It was a step-by-step process from the Fitness and Health Promotion program at Humber to UofGH to graduate school.”
He says UofGH prepared him well for his Master’s studies, and gave him the confidence he needs to succeed in the future. “I hold the Kinesiology program at UofGH in really high regard,” he says. “I absolutely loved the program – the small class sizes were excellent, I was able to get to know pretty much all my classmates, I was on speaking terms with all my professors. It’s just so easy to speak to them before and after lectures, or during breaks. It’s not intimidating to raise your hand and ask questions,” he says. “The labs are also really great, because it’s an even smaller setting – you’re working with 15, 20, 30 people at most in smaller labs, but the professors are really good with making sure everyone gets personal attention.”
“UofGH does a really good job with giving you all the tools within the class,” he continues. “They gave me the confidence to go out in to the field, talk to clients, talk to members of the gym I work at, and talk to people on a regular basis and help them interpret information and help them with exercises. UofGH not only gave us the tools, but the confidence in order to use them as well.”
Patel says his placements at both Humber and UofGH were invaluable. “I think the placements are amazing; you have the opportunity to choose where you want to work, and they have connections with so many organizations that accept students.” Patel did two placements at UofGH. During his first placement, he worked with patients who have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) alongside a respiratory therapist and a kinesiologist. His second placement was at a clinic where he helped patients with a variety of health issues. “I learned a lot from my supervisors about how to speak with clients, which I always thought I was good at, but just seeing them, I learned great skills that I was able to take away – knowing when to put your foot down if a patient didn’t want to follow the recommendations, and knowing when to be encouraging. They were always willing to let me take the reins with whatever I felt comfortable with.”
Planning for a bright future
For students who are thinking about pursing a Master’s degree, Patel recommends attending UofGH’s various information sessions. “If you’re in third or fourth year, take advantage of the information sessions because they’ll keep you on track,” he says. “You’ll also get helpful information. When I attended, they brought in an occupational therapist and a chiropractor to talk about their practice. They had every avenue covered,” he says.
When he graduates from the Master’s program, Patel wants to become a licensed physiotherapist, although he’s not yet sure what area he wants to work in. “Right now my goal is to become licensed after the program, though I’m not 100% sure in terms of what my career path will look like,” he says. “I like working in the community aspect. I’ve worked at a community centre gym for three years now. I like working with different types of people, whether youth or seniors. I’m fairly open to anything, and I think whomever I end up working with, whether it’s a specific population or individuals with sports injuries, I’ll really enjoy it.”