Minds We Meet – Interviewing Students Like You!

This Week: Samantha Stevens

Samantha Stevens is an AU student from St-Jean-sur-Richelieu QC. She is in the Bachelor of Arts program, English major, but is rounding out her education by also studying philosophy and psychology.

The Voice Magazine didn’t have to go too far to find Samantha: she writes music reviews and other articles for the magazine. We recently interviewed Samantha by e-mail, and here’s what she had to say about school, hiking, and planning for the big win.

First of all, whereabouts do you live? And have you always lived there?
Right now I am living in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu in Quebec. I’ve only lived here for about a year and half but I love it here. It is such a nice town, the people are really friendly and there is lots to see and do. And as an added bonus, the town is really close to one of my favourite cities, Montreal. I’m originally from Toronto, but I’ve lived all over Canada. I was in Halifax before I moved to St-Jean.

What do you do like to do when You’re not studying?
I spend all of my leisure time with my husband and our two dogs, Max and Windigo. Sometimes we are out adventuring and exploring, whether It’s hiking or just walking around a new and intriguing town or city; other times we are relaxing in our den and playing video games. Other than that I spend my time painting, gardening, writing, baking, reading, or listening to music.

Who in your life had the greatest influence on your desire to learn?
My grade three teacher Mrs. Macbeth. I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for her. When I started in her class I had just moved to the area, and I couldn’t read or write. But by the end of the school year, I was reading children’s novels, and I haven’t stopped reading since.

What famous person, past or present, would you like to have lunch with, and why?
If I had to pick one person it would be Edgar Allan Poe. Apart from his unique fascination with the macabre, I think that he would just be a really interesting person to talk too. As well, there are some interesting parallels and coincidences between our lives, one being that he died on October 7, 1849 and I was born October 7, 1984!

Describe your experience with online learning. What do you like? Dislike?
I love online learning! It can be frustrating at times, especially when waiting for marks or a response from a tutor, but I like that I can make my own schedule and adjust it as I like. I’m not the type of person who thrives with fixed daily schedules.

What was your most memorable AU course?
So far I would have to pick PSYC 465 Psychology of Sustainability. The course forced me to reexamine many of the sustainable development and environmental sustainability issues that currently exist. As well, I learned how much we are influenced by the natural environment and the impact that even our most ingrained behaviours and beliefs have on our world. The final project of the course, which is a slide presentation that you present to your tutor, allowed me to explore the research and ideas which examine how exercising and relaxing in a natural space, like a garden or park, affects our physiological and psychological processes.

If you won $20 million in a lottery, what would you do with it?
My husband and I have often discussed this! We would build a completely self-sustaining house, mostly off the grid, with all eco-friendly materials, and in a unique design that would use technology with green living, like installing a green roof, a green wall, and all natural-light lighting fixtures. And if we had our way it would resemble a Hobbit-house! We would most likely build somewhere remote, so buying a good truck would be necessary. I would build a heated green house so that I can grow fresh produce year round. And we would take the trips that we have both dreamed of?I would opt for Kyoto, Japan and he would like to go to skiing in Switzerland. Other than that whatever is left over would be invested. Like I said, we have thought it out!

If you could wake up tomorrow with a “superpower”, which one would it be?
That’s easy?telekinesis! I could get so much done every day with a superpower like that.

What is your most prized possession?
I would have to say my mind. It’s not really a possession, but even if I lost all of material things, like my music and books, I could still recall them and share them with others. Plus, no matter what obstacle lies in front of me, I can always rely on my mind and everything that I’ve learned over the years to figure out a solution.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned in life?
You can never give up. Whether It’s during a long hiking trip or a goal that just seems completely out of reach, giving up is never an option. When I am faced with a particular challenge that I think is insurmountable, I just remember how far I’ve come in life and remind myself that I can overcome anything with determination, perseverance, and a bit of humour.

What do you think about e-texts?
I actually don’t like them. I like having a physical book that I can leaf through, interact with, and keep around for years to come.

Where has life taken you so far?
I have travelled all over Canada, the east-coast of the US, the Caribbean, Europe, China, and Hong Kong.

What (non-AU) book are you reading now?
Helen and Troy’s Epic Road Quest by A. Lee Martinez. His stories are so imaginative and hilarious.

Final question: you’ve been writing music reviews and other articles for The Voice for a couple years now. How has that experience been?
I am really enjoying it. Not only has my writing improved, but I’ve also gotten to talk to some really amazing musicians, and hear lots of fantastic music.

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