This is the second 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 Paris, France.
The Voice would like to offer its sincere congratulations to all 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, Criminal Justice
Greg travelled from Edmonton, Alberta, to attend convocation, accompanied by family who made the trip from Kingston, Ontario, to be part of the celebration at the AU campus.
The BPA Criminal Justice program took Greg four years to complete, and he suggests that keeping to a regular study schedule can be a big help when doing online coursework.
?When You’re doing the online programs or courses, they tell you [to] try and keep up the pace, and I found that was very important. I took that to heart right from the beginning.?
He adds that combining work and studies can be challenging, ?and you should almost try and stay ahead? of the recommended study schedule.
Greg combined convocation with a holiday from his job with the Edmonton police force, and plans to celebrate his achievement with family and friends before heading back to work.
Master of Counselling
The Master of Counselling program took Robin approximately four and a half years to complete, and his advice to other AU students is to ?try and keep balance between school and your work and your family life.
Another key element, he adds, is to ?recognize the importance that family and friends have? in helping achieve success.
Robin travelled from Lethbridge, Alberta, to attend convocation.
Now that his studies are done, he plans to take the summer off and enjoy the holidays ?without any guilt.?
Robin works with the government in human services, and he would enjoy the opportunity to complete a doctorate program through distance education.
Bachelor of Human Resources and Labour Relations
Kathy began to focus on her degree in 2003, and found that AU’s PLAR process allowed her previous work and education experience to contribute to her success in the program.
She travelled from Edmonton, Alberta, to attend convocation, and after celebrating with family and colleagues is looking forward to an upcoming camping trip?without any textbooks!
A scholarship from the Department of National Defence provided the opportunity to study full-time, and Kathy says one of the highlights of the program was ?seeing [herself] in a different setting.? As well, she found that her work experience often provided practical examples when writing academic papers.
She doesn’t have a specific program in mind for further studies right now, but plans to continue doing developmental work in mediation and conflict management.
Bachelor of Health Administration
Anna travelled from Ottawa, Ontario, to attend convocation, and was joined by friends who came all the way from Italy to help celebrate her achievement.
As well as receiving her Bachelor of Health Administration, Anna was honoured to be chosen as one of the three AU grads to give an address, and she shared her thoughts about her educational journey on the final day of convocation.
As Anna says, It’s important to remember that ?there are no boundaries of what a person is capable of doing, especially when you undertake university after so many years. You look at it from a different perspective.?
After working and taking three courses at a time for the last several years, Anna is looking forward to enjoying a well-earned rest?although there’s always the possibility of a master’s program in the future.
Bachelor of Administration
Friends and family joined Jeremy at convocation, and he travelled from Fort McMurray, Alberta, to celebrate the day.
The Bachelor of Administration took Jeremy approximately eight years to complete, and after taking a break from courses he hopes to continue his studies in the future.
Currently working in the oil and gas industry, Jeremy says he enjoyed the flexibility of distance education, especially the ability to study at his own pace.
?All the tutors I had were great,? he says. ?The experience as a whole was excellent.?
For students still in the program, he says the key is to keep at it. Although independent studies can be too easy to put it off, ?If you focus,? Jeremy said, ?it can be done.?
Watch for more grad interviews in next week’s Voice!