Fitness and Health Promotion student says field placement taught her skills that can’t be learned in the classroom

Category: Student Profiles

As she graduates this spring, Melissa Lenis is ready to launch her career in wellness with a confidence boost from a successful field placement where she built connections and applied what she learned in the classroom.

Lenis spent time exploring her options before choosing a career path. She began her journey at DC in Police Foundations in 2014 before switching to 911 Emergency and Call Centre Communications in 2018 where she earned a diploma. Ultimately, she decided she wanted to work in wellness and is now graduating with a diploma in Fitness and Health Promotion.

“I’ve always loved coming to DC,” she said. “I live in Whitby so it’s close to home, you get a bus pass, campus is easy to navigate, the programs and Gen Eds are interesting and the health benefits are great. As a mature student having dental, therapy or chiropractic services mostly covered is a big deal as it’s expensive without any assistance.”

She said she attended a DC Open House in 2022 to meet faculty in the Fitness and Health Promotion program and impactful conversations led to her applying right away.

“I could tell they were passionate about what they do at DC, and knew this was a perfect program for me.”

Lenis said her program has prepared her for a career in many ways. A highlight was her job placement at a long-term care home.

“I had no experience working with seniors let alone with a variety of physical and cognitive limitations, but I wanted a challenge. I have a lot of experience in gyms and with fitness for the general population, but this was a great opportunity to try something I’ve never done before.”

Through her placement she gained experience with group exercise classes, one-on-one exercise based on care plans, physical assessments for residents and documenting.

“I’ve loved placement and made many connections with the residents, their families, my supervisor and my peers, and I’m continuing to volunteer as I don’t want to leave the residents,” she said, adding that she felt pride in seeing the long-term care residents making progress.

“Having placement in a program, you get to learn many skills that can’t be learned in a classroom. In class we were taught about exercise prescription for the elderly population, but getting to apply the information learned as well as adapting to new situations with each resident — everyone is a unique individual with a plan tailored to them — made me feel incredibly prepared for a future career in fitness and wellness.”

Looking towards the future, Lenis said she wants to launch a wellness business coaching women to eat intuitively and to nourish their body and mind.

“The fitness industry is heavily influenced by diet culture which leads to body image shame, food restrictions, labelling food as ‘good’ and ‘bad’, over exercising to burn off calories after eating what is deemed as a big meal and a million other disconnecting behaviours,” she explains. “I want women to not feel shame in what they eat or how they look, and to move their body every day in a way that is enjoyable to them.”

Her advice for anyone considering her program is to pursue it.