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SFU Co-op Student

Kettlebells at Kiki's Gym
Performance Institute
The co-op experience I went through this semester has both changed my outlook on what I want to do with my degree and helped me figure out HOW to make them happen.

“What do you want to do with your degree?” The inevitable question. This is the question that I am sure other students get asked while in their final years at SFU. For some in my field of Biomedical Physiology, the answer is “attending medical school” or “physiotherapy school”.

My answer has always been simple: "I want to help people with the skills that I have.” But how? It was the “how “that always left me with so many questions. What do I mean by ‘helping’ people? How can I help people? The co-op experience I went through this semester has both changed my outlook on what I want to do with my degree, and helped me figure out HOW to make them happen.

My co-op term was spent working as an administrative staff at Performance Institute. Performance Institute, or PI for short, is a family-owned workout facility nestled in the heart of Burnaby. The gym is located inside Canlan Ice Sports Burnaby 8 Rinks facility, where they train hockey players, figure skaters, and soccer players alike in their immense facility.  Some of the groups affiliated with PI are: Skate Canada, Vancouver Whitecaps, Rowing BC, and Burnaby Minor Hockey Association. Steve Ramsbottom, Owner and Director of Performance, has personally trained very famous movie stars including Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Jennifer Connolley, and many more. The types of training they offer range from group training sessions, summer hockey training camps, active rehabilitation, to skate treadmill classes. Performance Institute was built on the foundation to help supplement these clients, young or old, to achieve their athletic or fitness potential.

I first stepped into their facility in June 2013. For what seems like a small gym, there lies a group of individuals who work hard, and train even harder to maintain and perform to their very best. Though this was not my first position as an administrative staff, my days are definitely different from all the other admin jobs that I have had over the years.

One of the reasons why I love working at PI is the people I get to see every day. There are constant regulars here at the gym, and there is definitely a feeling of togetherness amongst the staff and clients. One moment that stuck out to me the most was during the Olympic trials for Sochi 2014. We watched many of our athletes, who trained at PI, on TV for Canadian National Skate Championships. One pair of ice dancers, Nicole Orford and Thomas Williams, happened to be performing on TV when I was working. Everyone stopped for a moment to watch Thomas and Nicole perform their hearts out on TV, and was followed with a standing ovation. Seeing this made me realize that in the future, I want to work someplace where everyone comes together, helps each other succeed,  and recognizes other’s successes. 

Another exciting event that happened during my co-op placement was watching one of our clients, Kevin Reynolds, compete and win a Silver medal for Canada in the Team Skate competition at Sochi Olympics. Kevin came back to PI few weeks later and showed us his medal. It really spoke volumes how proud everyone was, and how everyone recognized the hard work Kevin put in to achieve this goal. I realized that even though an Olympic medal is individually won, those that help others achieve their goals can have a great reward as well.

Seeing the regular clients, as well as their parents, have helped me find a path towards finding what I really want to do with my degree. One of the parents whose son trains at Performance Institute noticed how much I liked interacting with the clients, especially kids. She asked me what I was studying in school, and when I replied with Kinesiology, she suggested that I look into becoming a kid’s physiotherapist. Such a profession never crossed my mind when I first started my degree at SFU, and these chance meetings made me realize some of the not-so-common career options that start with having a Kinesiology degree.

Overall, I learned that what you want to achieve will not happen overnight, but these gradual steps are necessary to achieve something great. For me, I have now selected a few career options that cater to my desire to help those in need. Finally, I realized that there’s no rush to figuring out what I want to do in the future, but take it one opportunity at a time.

Thank you Performance Institute for the wonderful opportunity, as well as helping me realize the potential I have. Time to go help the world, one step at a time.

SFU Co-op Student
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