AU Profiles – Colleen Lamond

Student: Colleen Lamond

Think that 12-step programs are just for recovering alcoholics? Think again. According to Colleen Lamond, a former addictions caseworker and current first-year AU student, addictions theory can be applied to any problem in life’schoolwork included. Here, the psychology student shows how its application can be beneficial to pursuing one’s goals. She also describes why she decided to return to school, and explains how AU’s website helps her stay focused every day.

Although Colleen was enjoying her work as an addictions specialist’s assistant, when the opportunity to obtain further education arose, she was quick to jump at it. ?My career [was] fabulous, but my schooling [did] not equal my experience,? she says.

?[It was] holding me back.? In order to move forward in her field, she needed a university degree. When her family moved to a small community where she couldn’t find the work she wanted, Colleen decided to take the plunge and begin studying with Athabasca.

AU was a good choice, she feels, because of its flexibility, something suited to her lifestyle as a mother of two small children. In addition, AU’s open admissions policy was an important step in furthering her educational goals. ?[In college] I was all about field placements,? she says, ?but I hated the courses . . . [and] rarely went to classes.? Her marks reflected that, and She’s anxious to build up a new academic track record while studying with AU.

Although She’s just completed her first course, Colleen has her educational journey all mapped out. Currently, She’s enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, but plans to eventually transfer into a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology. ?I would continue with AU, but I really want a B.Sc.,? she says. ?I’m a science and medicine kind of girl!?

But that won’t be all. Colleen’s long-term plans include pursuing graduate education, and even a Ph.D. As her education continues, she’d like to become involved more deeply in the addictions field. ?I see myself . . . analyzing and studying treatment, and acknowledging the culture of addiction,? she says. In particular, She’s hoping to focus on the roles that both science and culture play in the addictive mentality. ?Addiction is an anthropological phenomenon,? she says.

Not only did her work in the addictions field inspire her desire to further her education, It’s also helping her study. Colleen feels that addictions theory is useful in all areas of life, including studying?particularly where motivation is concerned.

?It’s all about forming healthy habits,? she says. ?You can apply addictions theory to any goal you wish to achieve.? With its emphasis on putting a routine and structure in place?and sticking to it?addictions theory has helped Colleen to stay focused when She’s tempted to procrastinate.

For example, she practices tough love: her study nights are always study nights, no matter what. ?[I’m] strict with myself,? she says. ?I don’t allow myself to break rules.? She also uses positive reinforcement to stay on track. Cognitive techniques, like affirmations, remind her that her goals are attainable, and help her focus on what she needs to do in order to make them happen.

It keeps her realistic. ?I am not getting any younger, and if I really want to do the things I say, I [have to] get on it,? she says. And although ideas may be a good thing, she notes, they remain only ideas until she starts acting on them: ?I don’t want to just talk about the things I want to do!?

Another surprising source of motivation comes from the AU website: the ?Am I ready for Athabasca University self-assessment quiz.? Essentially, Colleen says, ?[It is] a quiz on commitment.? When she needs to remind herself of her commitment to her goals, she asks herself the various questions and prompts from the quiz. ?[It’s] very effective? Colleen says. ?I use [it] as a mantra.?

She does find distance study somewhat isolating however?particularly as a stay-at-home parent in a small community. ?It’s lonely,? she admits. ?I . . . ache to get into some good discussions [with] someone who can . . . gab with me about specifics.? Because school discussion boards tend to be slow, She’s looking to the outside community for stimulation. For example, She’s currently considering starting a local women’s discussion group.

Regardless of difficulties, She’s continuing to stay focused on her ultimate goals. Although she realizes that the road there may take years, Colleen doesn’t allow that to discourage her. ?I try not to think about it, honestly,? she says. ?One step at a time!?

Christina M. Frey’s got her schedule all worked out: everything comes before housework. When She’s trying to avoid doing the dishes, she blogs about life at The Twisting Kaleidoscope.