In this Alumni Spotlight we caught up with Amber Geiger, graduate of the Massage Therapist training program who currently owns and operates her own massage clinic.
What where you doing prior to enrollment? What made you enroll in school?
One week prior to starting my adventure at Great Lakes, I was a high school student at Maplewood High School in Guys Mills. I did not have a driver's license or a car and was starting off with very little money and virtually no financial support. I was in a very dark space within myself, dealing with undiagnosed and untreated depression. I was not simply going to look for a job or major, but rather a lifestyle that was going to help me have the freedom and self-fulfillment that I craved while allowing for growth and creativity. I definitely did not want a standard way of life that was going to enslave my time, money, and brain space while giving me little in return.
Though I was/am interested and proficient in a gamut of subjects, (and originally was planning on developing a music career at Musician's Institute in L.A.), I ultimately found that I naturally resonated most in understanding and working with people. After taking a hard look at the things I do on a daily basis, I started looking at trade schools and their programs. Great Lakes simply stood out as the perfect blend of professional and compassionate, as well as willing to respect me and work with me as a person to help me get started on the right foot. As corny as it may sound, this place was like a beacon of hope for me, and through still much struggle, I am so thankful that I persisted.
Where have you worked since you graduated and where do you currently work? What is your title?
I actually started off my career as a massage therapist at my alma mater! I am proud to say that my amazing teachers became my amazing colleagues in my position as Clinic Assistant at Great Lakes, where I also helped with some tutoring. After this, I found myself learning even more technical, restorative work at Professional Massage Therapy & Reflexology ~ an awesome team of people. Upon returning closer to home, I began my "growth" position in Meadville at Vitality Natural Health & Wellness Center as their main Massage Therapist and only Reiki Master where I also do Cranial Sacral work.
After being there a year, I felt it was time to take another leap so I began a new undertaking as a practice owner. I am very proud to say that while my one-woman-crew office here in Erie is small right now and operates simply under "Amber Geiger, L.M.T.", that big changes in subtle waves are happening in people's lives there, including my own.
What do you like about your career?
I LOVE that I can always learn more and that I get to build upon my skillset scientifically, psychologically, and spiritually! Being a Massage Therapist is like having a canvas that you can constantly paint on and it will never run out of space, but it will always be beautiful and full. I love that I have flexibility in my schedule, as well as the ability to simply be myself. I invite my clients to get to know me, because I believe that “shared joy is double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow.” This type of work keeps me conscious of my own life choices, and lets me equally use my mind and my heart. I love that at the end of the day, I am able to be a safe space for people where a lot of other professionals cannot. I am forever humbled that I get to literally touch people's lives as one human spirit to another, meet them on all levels, and be a part of their healing story.
What did you like most about attending Great Lakes? What did you like most about the Massage Therapist program?
As I briefly mentioned before, I was extremely appreciative of the fact that the financial department was able to help meet my needs. When I moved, it was the first time in my life ever, and I was renting an apartment and paying for everything myself. The teachers I had are spectacular people. They made sure to teach to all learning styles and help us develop our unique styles. They also were there through this part in my journey, always understanding that we still had our own home responsibilities and needs, and helped us through any emotional stresses we had during class ... especially when it came to practicing for that state board exam, haha! One of my other favorite points was that there were no "nonsense" classes (as I call them). You learned what you would use, and you didn't pay for classes that had nothing to do with your trade. An excellent life-skills class was our Career & Success Strategies class, which I actually would love to see taught in high schools. Also, it was so nice to be able to just have fun - through holiday contests and parties, student appreciation gestures, mini field trips ... what a beautiful experience.