This is the first of a three-part Voice series featuring interviews with some of AU’s 2008 graduates.
For many graduates, convocation weekend was the first time they had seen the beautiful grounds and buildings of the AU campus, and they attended the ceremonies from places near and far, including Athabasca, Alberta, and Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The Voice would like to offer its sincere congratulations to all of this year’s graduates, and knows that their accomplishments will encourage all those students who are still completing their studies at AU.
Bachelor of Professional Arts, Human Services
Natashia travelled from Fort MacMurray, Alberta, to attend convocation, accompanied by her family.
The BPA Human Services program took her approximately three years to complete, and Natashia says one of the high points of her AU experience was the knowledge she gained.
As she says, ?the more information you have, the less actually you realize you know.?
As well, an important motivator was the feeling of success whenever she achieved good grades or received positive feedback from one of her tutors.
Natashia has already found that She’s able to apply a lot of her studies in her job as a labour market information advisor with Alberta Employment and Immigration, skills that are in high demand. In particular, her courses in computer management, career counselling, and labour studies have proven to have a lot of practical value.
For students going into the program, Natashia’s advice is to ?use the [AUSU] union website.? She found that the chat line and the forums are great for finding information and became one of her major resources.
Master of Distance Education
The Master of Distance Education is the second degree that Linda has completed while working full-time. Her advice for success is to ?just do one course at a time and focus on what You’re learning.?
Linda travelled from Calgary, Alberta, to attend convocation, accompanied by her daughter who, as Linda says, was her ?go-to person when the computer wasn’t working.?
The master’s program took Linda approximately five years to complete.
In the past, Linda thought she would never consider pursuing a PhD., but programs now offer a doctorate in distance education, so she isn’t ruling the possibility out! Before pursuing further studies, though, Linda plans on taking at least a year off from courses.
Currently, Linda works as a clinical nurse educator with the Calgary Health Region, and has an interest in the academic side of the field.
Bachelor of General Studies, Applied Studies
Jill enjoyed the ability to study independently while earning her Bachelor of General Studies degree, and her advice to other students in the program is to ?take full advantage of your tutors, because they’re fabulous.? The program took Jill three years to complete.
Jill travelled from Edmonton, Alberta, to attend convocation, and is pictured here with her husband Dave.
She took a week off work to celebrate her degree, and one of her plans is to join in the birthday celebrations for a former boss?who also happens to be the person who inspired her to go into her current field.
As well as graduating with her bachelor’s degree, Jill has achieved her general accountant’s designation this year and will convocate for that in October. She plans to continue taking courses for fun, and acknowledges that education can be ?addictive? and is already thinking about pursuing her MBA.
Bachelor of Arts, English
The BA English is Brenda’s third degree (she holds two degrees in social science), and she is already looking forward to completing a Master of Fine Arts.
The BA program took approximately 10 years to complete, and along with attending convocation Brenda is looking forward to celebrating her success with friends and family.
Brenda enjoys the humanities, saying there is more of an ?ideology of joy? than in the social sciences, and would one day like the opportunity to teach in the field.
Although working full-time, Brenda doesn’t plan on taking a break from her studies, and the part-time MFA program is the next step on her educational journey.
Bachelor of General Studies, Arts and Sciences
Shannon had some great advice for students in the Bachelor of General Studies program.
Her suggestion is to keep going and ?don’t quit no matter what. don’t even let quitting be an option.?
And she speaks from experience: Shannon began the program when her son was five years old, and he is now 22.
Shannon travelled from the Saddle Lake First Nation to attend convocation, and although she plans to take a year off from her studies, she is also looking forward to one day completing a master’s degree in Environmental Science.
Watch for more grad interviews in next week’s Voice!