By Bob Cohen
Like many young adults in the U.S., attention deficit disorder (ADD) made school a real struggle for Sergio Andre. “It was not as easy I would have liked it to be,” he recalls. The 27-year-old San Diego native says he was not on the college track in high school. After he graduated, Andre says, his options were few.
So Andre enlisted in the Navy and spent over three years as an E-4 petty officer, stationed in Hawaii. And while duty in Hawaii may sound appealing, Andre says that shipping out every three weeks made him feel more like he was visiting the Aloha state than living there. Meanwhile, Andre says he felt like he was “missing something” in civilian life and did not plan to make the Navy a career.
Finding that something proved elusive. After leaving the service, Andre worked a series of odd jobs: bartender, server, and retail salesperson. While studying to become a personal trainer, Andre took a class in massage therapy and “fell in love” with the field.
Andre says he was interested in massage therapy his entire life, without quite realizing it. He’d been giving massages to family members for years. “Somebody comes in hurting and leaves feeling ten times better. I like the satisfaction of helping people feel better,” Andre says.
Andre moved to the Portland, Oregon, area to help his grandmother deal with a health issue. He quickly found Anthem College-Beaverton and decided that its massage therapy diploma program offered the combination of people, schedule, and location that was right for him to pursue his career passion. “If I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I would have gone to community college. If you know what you want to do, you find an avenue to go and do it,” he says.
Anthem was that avenue. The school provided an array of career services, including job referrals, resume preparation, and learning and practicing interviewing skills. After completing his program and becoming licensed, he quickly found a good job as a massage therapist.
Today, Andre says he has a “great job” at Dosha Salon Spa in Portland, where he performs three to four massages a day, five days a week, for walk-in and regular clients. Each client, he says, presents different issues and pose a different puzzle to solve, keeping the work interesting.
Speaking of his Anthem education, Andre says “I got everything I wanted out of the program. I didn’t feel like there was anything lacking. My glass is full.”