Heather Fox is an AU student from Alberta. She is in the BSC Human Science Major (PD) program and also works part time from home as the office manager for a counselling service.
The Voice Magazine recently interviewed Heather by e-mail. Here’s what she had to say about school, touring Newfoundland, and why education is never a bad decision.
First of all, whereabouts do you live? And have you always lived there?
I live in Calgary, AB. I have lived in the Calgary area for my adult life but grew up in a small town in central Alberta.
Describe the path that led you to AU.
I had established a 12-year career in the lab industry, specifically in customer service, and was supervising a customer service team when I realized that I was very unhappy in my career and in the industry that I had chosen. I was a single mom at the time and wanted to improve my situation but still had to maintain a full income to support my daughter. After looking at the options online, I choose AU because of their reputation and as well as for the program. I specifically want to get into the field of nutrition, and completing my BSc at AU is the first step of many that will help me reach my goal.
What will you do with your education once you graduate?
I haven’t entirely decided to be honest! Ultimately I want to become a nutrition counsellor with my own consulting business, which means I will likely continue my education at another school. I have been looking at a holistic nutrition diploma to round out my education.
What do you do like to do when You’re not studying?
Knitting, crochet, reading, hiking, spending time with my daughter and husband.
Who in your life had the greatest influence on your desire to learn?
My daughter. When I became a single mom it gave me the motivation and push that I needed to go back to school and get a degree so that I could improve our lives.
What famous person, past or present, would you like to have lunch with, and why?
Amanda Lindhout. Ever since reading her book about her time taken hostage, I have developed an amazing amount of respect for her and would love to learn more about her.
Describe your experience with online learning. What do you like? Dislike?
Overall, I find online learning to be positive. I enjoy the flexibility of the classes?being able to work on them when you have free time and flexibility for due dates is what drew me to AU as a single parent. I dislike the isolation of online learning. Sometimes it can be helpful to bounce ideas off of other students or have concepts explained in a different manner, but the tutors may not respond as quickly as you’d like. The app and Facebook groups are good for connecting people but I haven’t had much luck finding others taking the same classes as me.
Have you had a time when you wavered about your education?
Absolutely. When you leave an established career to completely change direction, it is scary and there are many times when I wonder if I have made the right decision and if I should just go back to my old career. But I am a firm believer that education is never a bad decision, and I am much happier than I was in my old job, so I have stuck with my new plan.
What was your most memorable AU course?
NUTR 330 – Introductory Nutrition. I found the content interesting and the layout very easy to follow and learn from. I also enjoyed the assignment, which was evaluating your own diet and very informative!
If you won $20 million in a lottery, what would you do with it?
The first thing I would do is take 6 months off and travel around the world! There are so many places I would love to see!
What have you given up to go to AU that you regret the most? Was it worth it?
I have no regrets about choosing AU at this point.
What’s the single best thing AU could do to improve your student experience?
Focus more on bringing students together. Perhaps organizing conferences for students in the same program/courses, mixers etc. It would be great to have more interaction with other students in day to day life.
What’s your favourite sound?
The waves breaking on the beach
What is your most prized possession?
My baby ring that my parents had made for me when I was born, it has my initial on it and is so tiny! They gave it to me on my 18th birthday.
Please tell us something that few people know about you.
When I was a child I dreamed of becoming a doctor, but realized that wouldn’t happen because I used to faint at the sight of blood.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learned in life?
Sometimes you have to look out for number one and put yourself first. Especially as a mom, taking time for yourself and putting your needs first occasionally make you a better mom to your children.
What do you think about e-texts?
I don’t mind them, I like being able to carry an iPad and have all of my texts on them. However, I do feel there should be reduced material costs for courses that use e-texts.
How do you find communications with your course tutors?
I generally haven’t had a problem with response time or poor communication. I’ve enjoyed working with each of my tutors!
Where has life taken you so far?
I have traveled to Mexico three times, several places in the United States (Vegas being my favourite), Germany, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, and Switzerland. Last summer I had the opportunity to tour Newfoundland for three weeks, which I really enjoyed!
What (non-AU) book are you reading now?
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.