Minds We Meet – Interviewing Jess Price

Jess Price is an AU student from Vancouver BC. She’s currently enrolled in AU’s Human Resources and Labour Relation program.

Jess was recently interviewed by The Voice Magazine about school, culture, and archery.

Describe the path that led you to AU. What was it that made you realize you wanted to go back to school, and what pushed you into the program you’ve signed up for?
I had originally enrolled in a local university, but I realized that structure would just prolong my studies and make it less enjoyable. I was researching online studies and found AU. It looked good, so I signed up. Although I can work at my own pace, I find I usually move through the courses more quickly than I would at a traditional university.

What do you do like to do when you’re not studying?
Mostly I like to read. I also like to hang out with my friends and family. And I’m involved in archery. I watch hockey, too; I follow both the Vancouver Canucks and the Montreal Canadiens.

Archery sounds interesting. How did that come about?
I started archery back in 10th grade so I’ve been doing it for about 5 years now. I struggled with holding the arrow and bow for a while, but once I got a grasp of it the sport seem so natural to me. There’s this weird rush of excitement to let go and watch the arrow fly across air. During those weeks of archery, I found how quickly I could learn the sport and do well with it. After high school, I decided to continue on with it as a way to relax and to take a break from studying (plus, it’s pretty fun to pin a picture of your textbook on the target and start shooting!) I don’t go to competitions because archery is more of a recreational hobby for me. I don’t think my skills can match up with others!

What are your plans for this education once you finish? How does it fit in with where you want to go?
I really want to get into the HR field. I’m in a 3-year program, and I plan to move to Alberta when I’m done and find something in my field there.

Who in your life had the greatest influence on your desire to learn?
I would have to say my sixth-grade teacher. He used to be a security guard and he had such a love of teaching. He knew just how to encourage students and to stop them from being discouraged by one set-back. “It’s just a grade,” he’d say.

What famous person, past or present, would you like to have lunch with, and why?
I know this is going to sound a bit weird, but I’d like to have lunch with Adolph Hitler. I’ve started reading about the holocaust, and I’m also interested in history and World War II. I believe he?initially?did a lot for Germany, and he was a great speaker. I’d like to see those events in action, to see how he became successful and how he could motivate people. It would be interesting to follow the trajectory of his career and see how and why he became the person he did later on.

Describe your experience with online learning so far. What do you like? Dislike?
I had had some experience with taking courses online in high school. One thing I like is that I can take courses in my pyjamas if I want! And I don’t have to go anywhere when it’s cold or snowing out. What I don’t like is a lot of e-reading. I find in general that the material in an online course is a bit dry?you don’t get the vibrancy of in-class discussion.

When was the point where you wavered the most about whether it was worth it to continue your schooling, and what made you decide to keep going?
After going to a local university I took a year off to contemplate my direction. In the end, though, I wanted to work in Human Resources and you can’t get an HR job without a degree. It’s a financial commitment but I view it as an investment.

What’s your most memorable AU course so far, and why?
It was definitely Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, ANTH 275. I find it interesting to learn about diverse cultures. And there definitely is tremendous diversity. This course gave me insight into other cultures and that’s had a profound effect on my outlook.

Describe the proudest moment in your life.
It would be either finishing a semester in 1 ½ months, or graduating from high school. I’m young, so I’m still carving my own path. At 21, I feel I haven’t done anything amazing yet, so I hope those moments are still to come.

What have you given up to go to AU that you regret the most? Was it worth it?
Mainly I’ve given up university life: the social aspect of campus life, talking with other students, and the face-to-face relationship with professors. I also miss the rhythms of a traditional school year, with defined spring and fall semesters.

If you were the new president of AU, what would be your first project?
That’s an interesting question. I think I’d work on stressing the quality of online education, while highlighting how it differs from traditional education. I think we need to change the way people view online university.

If you were trapped on an island, what three things would you bring?
Can I get a signal on this island? If so, I’d definitely bring my cell phone! Also, I’d bring a good book, and my dog. (My dog’s name is Summer and she’s about 10 years old now. She’s a Maltipoo, a Maltese and a Poodle mix. I adopted her from an animal shelter and they told me she came from an abusive home.)

Describe one thing that distinguishes you from most other people.
Aside from having archery as a hobby? I think it’s that I’m a bookworm. On average, I read one to two novels a week, on top of my course reading. My capacity for reading is good for online study, too, because there is a lot more reading with online courses.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned in life?
There’s a saying that goes, “fall seven times, but stand up eight.” That’s my philosophy. Don’t give up and always try again.

What do you think about e-texts?
E-reading a novel isn’t much different than a regular book. I do read some books on my iPad. However, for textbooks I prefer printed material. I think printed books allow more flexible notations and promote better understanding of the material.

How do you find communications with your course tutors?
So far, all my contact with tutors has gone really well. Most of them seem to mark assignments quickly. Occasionally, though, one of them will take one or two weeks to get back to me on something. But overall, it’s been good.

Where has life taken you so far?
From here in Vancouver, it’s easy to get to Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, so I visit those places. I’ve also been to China a few times. My brother does business there, so I go with him. I find the culture fascinating because it’s so different from here. I’m Chinese, but I’ve lived my whole life in Vancouver so I feel a bit removed from the culture.

What (non-AU) book are you reading now?
I’m reading Prisoner of Tehran by Marina Nemat. She’s a Canadian author, having moved to Canada after escaping Iran. The whole Middle East is a touchy subject today. Reading it assists in my cultural studies, because the book is the personal experiences of someone growing up there, rather than an outsider looking in.