Future of Wellness: Dancing her way into a healing career that’s more than enough

Written by Endeavour College of Natural Health | 13 January, 2020

Before Jenna Carroll started her studies at Endeavour, she was a professional ballerina. At 16, Jenna left Sydney’s northern beaches to pursue an international career with the Birmingham Royal Ballet.

“Ballet was my first life,” Jenna said. "I tried to study through distance education, but I was determined to succeed in dance, and I threw everything into it. I didn’t finish school or have a plan B.”

At 21, Jenna’s ballet career came to an abrupt end due to injury. It came at a high cost, and for several years, she struggled with who she was without ballet. When she was dancing, Jenna always tried to understand what helped her perform at her best. Unfortunately, she received a lot of misinformation about diet, damaging her relationship with food and negatively impacting her body.

Back in Sydney, Jenna started to realise how much of an impact food had on her day and her mood. “I became obsessed with health and did lots of research, but I never thought I’d be smart enough to go to uni. It took me 18 months to enrol at Endeavour. When I finally signed up for Nutrition, I thought I’d drop out, but I thrived,” Jenna said. “I had found a place where people believed in you and cared about you doing well.”

Jenna applied the same determination and tenacity to study as she did to dance but was surprised by her results. “I did a Diploma in Dance, so I had done some anatomy, and that gave me some confidence. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed learning about how the body works through biochemistry and biology. I put it down to the small class sizes and the support of Endeavour’s lecturers!”

“Studying at Endeavour was the most rewarding, challenging and empowering experience of my life. I learnt that it is all about how you apply yourself, not about how intelligent you are,” Jenna said. Her results were recognised when she received the Australian Traditional Medicine Society’s award for Student of the Year 2019.

Following her strong interest in herbal medicine, Jenna transitioned to Naturopathy after her second year. Although it added time to her studies, Jenna didn’t mind. “What’s an extra year when you love it?” she said. “Ballet never felt like quite enough. I feel a deep need to help others, and I can do that in naturopathy.”

Now Jenna is considering how she combines her first and second lives. “I’d like to help guide dancers through their careers and make sure they don’t suffer as I did. Dance is emotionally and physically demanding, and the approach to health it’s not quite right yet,” Jenna said.

In March 2020, Jenna will start practising in a clinic space where other health practitioners can refer clients to her. “Step one is helping others in clinic,” she said. “But there are so many possibilities. I’m also thinking about creating some short online courses to give more people access to naturopathy.” Jenna may also continue her studies with a Master of Psychology or counselling.

Future of Wellness

The Future of Wellness series features stories from current Endeavour students around the country. From where they started to where they are now to where they are headed, we celebrate their unique stories and perspectives.

Interested in reading more Future of Wellness stories? Head here for more.

Endeavour College of Natural Health

Endeavour College of Natural Health is Australia's largest Higher Education provider of natural medicine courses.

The College is known as the centre of excellence for natural medicine and is respected for its internationally recognised academic teams and high calibre graduates. Endeavour offers Bachelor of Health Science degrees in Naturopathy, Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine, Acupuncture Therapies and Chinese Medicine, Undergraduate Certificates, a Diploma of Health Science and massage courses.

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