AU Profiles – Sarah Kertcher

STUDENT: Sarah Kertcher

The Athabasca University Students’ Union has just elected its new council! The next series of profiles will highlight the new and returning councillors of the AUSU Student Council.

This week, we meet returning AUSU councillor Sarah Kertcher, a student in Athabasca University’s Bachelor of Management program. Sarah, who’s concentrating in marketing and who hopes to run her own business someday, explains why She’s happy despite what she calls her ?crazy busy schedule.? She also tells how AU’s flexibility will help her as she enters a new stage in her life.

Sarah, who lives in Surrey, British Columbia (just outside Vancouver), has found AU’s flexibility to be its strongest drawing point.

?I’m not able to quit my full-time job to go to school,? she says. ?Or rather, I don’t want to because I am . . . happily student-loan free!?

She also enjoys being able to work at her own pace and set her own study times and schedule?including ?after work hours, and on weekends,? she says. ?No [traditional] university could offer me that.?

An exciting new arrival has changed some plans, however, and AU’s flexibility will be an even greater advantage later this spring, when Sarah becomes a stay-at-home mom: she and her husband are expecting their first child in May. Although she plans to take a short break from classes??a month off to get into a routine,? she says?Sarah plans to begin studying again soon after the baby is born.

?I don’t want to take too much time off because I know the longer I take, the harder it’ll be to get back into it,? she says.

Sarah is the type of person who loves to get involved, and her schedule shows it. Besides her work on the student council, She’s a co-founder and current member of a local planning committee in her community.

?[It] works with the residents to hold events, as well as . . . with various externals . . . to create positive change within our community,? she explains. Sarah also volunteers with Big Sisters, is a Spark leader for Girl Guides, and plays on three baseball teams.

She is unfazed by all of these activities. ?I’ve always had a chaotic schedule since I was a kid, so I think that It’s just the norm for me,? Sarah says.

Plus, she loves everything she does. ?Getting motivation to do them is just natural. If I ever do lose motivation, I think I’ll have to step back and make sure that I’m actually enjoying what it is I’m doing, and if I’m not, I have to make a change,? she says.

Running for AUSU Student Council was an easy decision for Sarah, recently elected to her second term. ?I’ve always been involved with most everything that I do, whether it be my work, my community, or my school,? she says.

After initially inquiring about the council’s work, she tried attending some meetings. She enjoyed them so much that she decided to run for election. ?I . . . was . . . really interested in connecting with other people at AU,? she says.

The chance to become involved in the AU community has meant Sarah feels less isolated. Although she misses socializing face to face, she has been happy to discover an increasing number of venues for communicating with other students.

?I find that with interacting during council time, as well as on the forum, and now through other avenues (Facebook, MSN [Messenger], etc.), I’ve really started communicating more with other students,? Sarah says. ?It definitely makes student life . . . more manageable.?

Juggling work, hobbies, family, and studying means Sarah has to take advantage of any spare time she can find. ?I usually do an hour of reading or assignments . . . at work on my lunch break,? she says. ?After work I study as well, [but] only for a couple hours . . . I do it while hubby is watching TV and won’t even notice I’m gone!?

However, like most AU students, Sarah sometimes finds the self-motivation aspect of distance studying challenging. ?I’m the queen of procrastination!? she laughs. ?When It’s work at your own pace, It’s easy to put it off . . . It’s the one big disadvantage.?

It’s all a question of planning. ?I’ve learned . . . that It’s key to schedule,? Sarah says.

After the baby is born, She’s hoping to implement more scheduling into her education plan to keep on track. For example, she plans to read through the lesson outlines and set deadlines at the beginning?including booking exams at the outset ?so that you have a deadline to work towards,? she says. ?That way you won’t be able to leave the whole course to the last two months.?

Although Sarah hasn’t made definite post-graduation plans, ?I hope to run my own business one day,? she says. And regardless of what the future holds, Sarah feels She’s on the right track.

?I’ve always liked marketing, and I’ve always worked in the admin field so it just seemed like the right thing to do,? she says. ?A management degree is . . . helpful in everything you do.?

In the meantime, She’s getting ready to enjoy motherhood. Although she knows a lot will change, ?I’m sure we’ll find a balance,? she says. ?[It’s a] very exciting time for us.?

Editor’s note: Sarah was recently elected to the position of Vice-President, Finance on the new AUSU Student Council Executive.