Who can afford to fill a cavity when their cupboards contain only Ramen noodles and bargain-bin soda? With money scarce, those living on a college student’s budget are used to going without such luxuries as relaxing massages, a fully functional car and proper oral hygiene.
What you may not know is that these services can be available right on campus for a price that won’t destroy your budget, and at the same time you’d be helping your peers work towards their career.
Central Oregon Community College students who are enrolled in the automotive, dental assistant or massage program build their career skills by working on real patients and customers. While these practices are primarily for the benefit of the practicing students who need to gain experience, other COCC students are eligible to receive many of these services and can benefit from them as well.
Staff and students looking to receive minor car repairs without majorly cleaning out their wallet may find an inexpensive fix at COCC’s automotive program. To gain work experience, students in the automotive classes do certain auto repairs, depending on the class they’re in. Classes include brake repair, ignition and electrical systems. If you have an automotive problem that fits in with one of the current classes, they can sign up to have their car looked at by the students. There is a $25 shop fee, and customers will need to pay for any part that’s needed, but there is no service fee.
Ken Mays, the director of the automotive program, said the automotive repair classes are a well-used commodity, and there are usually so many cars signed up that the classes can’t get to all of them in the term. However, that shouldn’t dissuade students in need from putting their names on the list. Because this is first and foremost a learning experience for the students, cars are moved to the top of the list depending on what experience is needed by the automotive students.
“It’s great for them to be able to apply their skills and learn,” said Mays.
If exhausted students find themselves in need of some relaxation, they may be in luck.
Every term, the massage therapy program puts on a series of massage clinics, where the students can practice their skills.
The massage clinics are open to the public. The cost is $5 for COCC staff and students, and $15 for the general public. Massages are given on a first-come, first serve basis. Massage students aren’t the only people benefiting from the clinics, according to Stephanie Manriquez, the massage therapy program director and instructor at COCC. The low-cost massage clinics are great for those would otherwise be unable to afford a massage. Students can benefit from regular massages, said Manriquez, as it can reduce blood pressure, increase blood flow, and encourage relaxation.
“Massage is not about luxury, it’s about health and wellness. Most people brush their teeth … not just when they go to the dentist—it’s the same for massage therapy, it’s a way to stay well,” she said.
The clinics for winter term are all about relaxation and getting the students used to interacting with the public. Starting spring term, the students will start doing more intensive massages.
Through a partnership with Volunteers in Medicine, dental assistant students are able to participate in real patient care in the bi-monthly clinics held in the Ochoco building at COCC. The patients treated at the clinics are people who have signed up for inexpensive dental-care through VIC. Patients are required to pay a $25 supply fee, which can sometimes be waived if the patient is unable to pay.
“A lot of students would qualify,” said Kristi Hammerquist, an instructor in the dental assistant program.
During the clinics, dental assistant students are able to work with volunteer dentists from the community as they treat patients. The students are responsible for jobs such as running x-rays, fetching and holding supplies for the attending dentist, and rinsing the patient’s mouth, all while observing the processes taking place.
For more information on automotive repairs, contact Ken Mays at email@example.com; massage clinics, contact Stephanie Manriquez at firstname.lastname@example.org; and dental assisting, contact Kristi Hammerquist at email@example.com.