Minds We Meet – Interviewing Kiran Shoaib

Kiran Shoaib is an AU student from Pakistan who currently lives in Korea while her father works at the Embassy of Pakistan. Kiran is working on her Bachelor of Management (3-year) degree.

Kiran was recently interviewed by The Voice Magazine about school, life, and the portability of pursuing a degree online.

Describe the path that led you to AU. What was it that made you realize you wanted to go back to school, and what made you choose the program you’ve signed up for?
Well, after I graduated High School in 2013, I decided I was going to take a year break and then apply for college. I didn’t actually want to take a break but I had no other choice. The time-period that my father is allotted for every transfer he gets is 4 years and by the time I got done with High School, we only had one more year to stay in Korea. After that we have to move back to Pakistan and stay there for a few months till my dad gets his next transfer. That is why I couldn’t apply for college in Korea because I knew after a year I would have to transfer my credits to some university in Pakistan, where I would only get to stay for a few months then transfer again to another university in whichever country my dad would get transferred to.

The whole idea of transferring two times seemed risky and uncomfortable to me, mainly because at that time I wasn’t sure about the exact date that we would be going back to Pakistan. It could have been in the middle of my semester or almost towards the end of a semester (that might have forced me to repeat a semester.) Also, what if the admissions were closed by the time we were to return back to Pakistan?I would have had to wait till they open then start the whole application process. By the time I would have actually started to take classes over there, my dad’s next transfer would have interfered. Staying in Korea or another country on my own to complete my whole degree wasn’t an option, financially. Therefore, I decided to not go through all that fuss and trouble and simply take a year break then apply for college in my dad’s next transfer.

However, after a few months passed by, I started to get bored of basically staying at home and not doing anything productive, and hanging out with friends or just chilling wasn’t really helping. Once again, I was getting lost and surrounded by confusion about my decision being a terrible mistake. Most of my friends had already been accepted to different colleges, some in Korea, and some were leaving for US or Canada or back to their homeland. Sooner or later they were going to leave for college or at least they knew when they would be going to college. Whereas, I was the only one left unsure about everything, I felt like I was simply wasting my time.

The thought of searching for online colleges came to my mind. I was told by some of my friends to apply in an online university but I wasn’t sure about their degree’s value and if it is actually accepted in other colleges or for jobs in future. That’s when Athabasca popped up right at the top of my search for online universities and proved me wrong on all the misconceptions I had formed about an online university. I went through so many reviews about AU and most of them were positive, which really encouraged me to become a student at AU.

What do you do like to do when You’re not studying?
Watching movies and my favourite TV shows (these days The Walking Dead is my top favourite,) hanging out with friends, and going shopping.

What are your plans for this education once you finish? How does it fit in with where you want to go?
Studying management will help me develop skills in various areas/fields, which opens several opportunities for me to choose from and could also direct me toward my ultimate goal of managing my own business. I also think about making enough money to invest in building a school or hospital in rural areas of Pakistan, where It’s badly needed, and to help those people achieve a lot more than they ever expected.

Describe your experience with online learning so far. What do you like or dislike?
So far, I am actually enjoying online learning. I think I learn more when I put all of my effort into studying on my own as there are no live lectures. At the beginning, I was a bit scared of studying at an online university, as we mostly study all on our own. I wasn’t sure how my grades were going to be and if I would actually pass the courses or not. You don’t have your classmates right next to you to help you out if you get stuck or your professor to help you understand everything. There are tutors, but they’re not always available every time you need them and sometimes they take weeks to respond back to your emails as well, which is what I dislike about online learning. However, my results turned out to be two A’s and a B+. That’s when I felt really proud of myself to achieve such good grades when I mostly studied all on my own and had never even expected these results. Fortunately, I didn’t waste any of my time and made this wise decision of studying at AU right on time.

What’s your most memorable AU course so far, and why?
Professional Ethics! At the beginning, I wasn’t doing so well in this course and even had to redo the first assignment. I was sure that I might only get a C and sometimes I even had thoughts of not even passing this course. The concept of this course was based on different theories that people could use at different occasions in their profession and how their behaviour should be as a professional. I did a pretty good job in understanding the concept and the theories but I somehow wasn’t getting what the assignments actually asked for and how they were supposed to be done. Surprisingly, I did pass this course and got an A in it. It was the most unexpected result I’ve gotten so far and That’s what makes this course memorable to me.

What have you given up to go to AU that you regret the most? Was it worth it?
Well, not having to attend an actual university and all those dreams I had of life at an actual campus and friends that I would have made there. All of these are the regrets I chose to face but whether It’s worth it or not, is still an unanswered question to me as well. I am not sure about this, sometimes I do feel like I chose to do the right thing and I will always have the option to transfer my credits to another university if I ever get that opportunity so It’s not a big deal. On the other hand when I see my friends enjoying their life at college and not simply studying on their own like I do, It’s what kind of makes me confused and maybe sad about this. However, It’s not something that I can’t get over with or not a constant feeling. I do feel like I can achieve so much through my online learning as well.

If you were the new president of AU, what would be your first project?
To focus more on the interactions between students/classmates and try to come up with ideas on how I could improve on that.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned in life?
There are secrets that should not be told to anyone, including your best friend or even your parents. Those secrets hold certain value that cannot be risked to be shared with anyone.

How do you find communications with your course tutors?
Satisfactory, I would say. Although some of the tutors take too long to respond back, overall they are quite helpful and supportive.

Where have you travelled so far?
I have lived in Saudi Arabia and Spain for four years, again due to my dad’s job. I have also visited Lisbon (Portugal) and London (England) just for vacation, a family trip.