Convocation Spotlight: Jenni Mason

Jenni Mason is graduating with a master of science in occupational therapy offered by the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine.

5 June 2024

Jenni MasonJenni Mason is graduating with a master of science in occupational therapy offered by the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine.

After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Jenni Mason knew she wanted to pursue further education. Driven by a passion for helping people gain independence in their everyday activities, she managed to complete her master’s in occupational therapy while raising her daughter, Maisie, who was only seven and a half weeks old when she started.

We spoke to Mason about the challenges and precious memories she carries with her after working through a graduate degree while raising a newborn baby.

What initially drew you to occupational therapy?

I fell in love with the idea of helping people gain independence in everyday activities. To me, OT is a perfect blend of science, compassion and creativity that is bundled into a clinical framework.

What achievement, accomplishment or moment are you most proud of from your time in the program?

I started the MScOT program when my daughter, Maisie, was just seven and a half weeks old. You can imagine how challenging it was to navigate being a first-time mom and my education.  This journey was defined by countless small victories. All little things mattered and were celebrated. Did I make it to class on time? Great! Did I pass my first objective Structured Clinical Examination? Amazing!

What was the biggest challenge you faced?

One of the hardest challenges I faced was learning to accept the sacrifices I had to make to balance my academics and role at home. Often it meant making a choice between eating, sleeping, studying or enjoying precious baby snuggles!

How did you stay motivated and who helped you keep going when things got tough?

I'm not sure that my motivation was consistent throughout this journey. Undoubtedly, my passion for becoming an OT was always a driving force, but it often was a combination of passion, routine, endless checklists, reliance on my agenda and bottomless coffee!

I had an exceptional cohort and I made amazing friendships during the program. They would hold my baby when she came to campus so that I could study and they made sure that I was always included and supported.

My husband was my rock throughout this journey. Without his unwavering support, I couldn't have managed this workload. We also have so many thanks to give to our families and friends who offered so much invaluable support and encouragement to us.


What advice would you give to a student thinking of entering the MScOT program?

Go for it! Everything in life is “figure-out-able.” You WILL get there and you will be so proud of yourself that you did.

What have you learned about yourself, and how will you use this going forward?

I have learned that I am resilient and that I can do difficult things. Fitting into groups has always been a struggle for me. One of the most significant experiences and lessons on this journey has been finding comfort in being myself around peers, patients or fellow clinicians. The path of personal growth is challenging, yet the rewards are immeasurable. I intend to carry this lesson into every patient encounter, being sure to extend the same grace to myself as I would to them.

What comes next for you in your career/academic journey?

I didn’t hesitate to start working as an occupational therapist! Presently, I am an inpatient OT, and love my work. From the start of my academic journey, I’ve been looking forward to the future. Now, I am focusing on each day as it comes and focusing on the now.