Minds We Meet – Interviewing Students Like You!

Ryan Kiedrowski

Ryan Kiedrowski is a Bachelor of Management Student with a major in Marketing and a background in photography. He’s also the latest subject of the Minds We Meet column.
First of all, whereabouts do you live? And have you always lived there?
I live in the village of Rosemary, Alberta, near Brooks. I moved out there about 4 years ago and lived in various places across the country before that.

What do you do for a living?
I am an employment counsellor at a not-for-profit that specializes in the settlement of new Canadians.

Describe the path that led you to AU.
Actually, I’d been kind of thinking about post-secondary education for the past 20 years or so. Finally, my wife convinced me to do it. She said, “There’s no time like the present.” It was her urging, I guess.

What do you do like to do when you’re not studying?
We’re busy with three small children. I have a small business (I am a professional photographer). We have a modular home park in Rosemary.

Who in your life had the greatest influence on your desire to learn?
I have always had a general curiosity. I guess it was something important in our family structure from early on, that curiosity. I grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan, and there was a whole world of wonder to explore there.

What famous person, past or present, would you like to have lunch with, and why?
Definitely, Baba Singh from CKUA radio. He is just a very well-rounded person. A very intelligent man, I love the music he plays on his broadcast.

Describe your experience with online learning. What do you like? Dislike?
I’ve found it very good. It fits well into my crazy lifestyle. I do a lot of my work at school during the evenings, when everything is calm and I can have a cup of tea, especially the e-texts where I can read at any time. I can check something out on my phone while putting the kids to bed or some simple mundane task like that.

Have you had a time when you wavered about your education?
When I first got out of high school 20 years ago, I went into a program in Calgary. It wasn’t the right time for me. I didn’t feel like I was mature enough to pursue post-secondary education, and it reflected in my grades. I’ve been apprehensive ever since then. Like I said, my wife convinced me, and her family as well. They said, “Look, we’re all returning adult education advocates. It is something you can do.”

What was your most memorable AU course?
So far, I am still kind of in the beginning of it, really enjoying the Writing in Organizations (ADMN233) course. I’ve also had close to a decade experience in journalism and so my interest gravitates to that. Business writing as opposed to CP style is interesting!

If you won $20 million in a lottery, what would you do with it?
I’d probably just travel the world and exercise my Nikons. (Laughs)

What have you given up to go to AU that you regret the most? Was it worth it?
Can’t really say I’ve given up a lot, maybe, my time in the evenings would be about it, not really any regrets. I’m still in the honeymoon phase, I suppose. Everything is still shiny and new. The convenience of it is what impresses me. There’s not been a lot that I’ve given up.

What’s the single best thing AU could do to improve your student experience?
I’d like to reach out more to other students and to faculty. They (AU) have been doing a bang up job with phone calls to make sure I got my materials, how things are going, and stuff like that. That human connection would be something I would strive for in the future.

If you could wake up tomorrow with a “superpower”, which one would it be?
Oh, man! I’m serious a fan of Spider-man. I would love to have web slingers!

What is your most prized possession?
Prized possession? I’m not too terribly materialistic, I guess probably my cameras. (Laughs)

Please tell us something that few people know about you.
I once road an elephant in Saskatchewan.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned in life?
Probably just to not really rely so much on trying to get things done right away and to enjoy the moment. Because, especially having small children, they grow up so fast. The stuff they are learning, it is easy to pass it by, so I’ve learned about staying in the moment and enjoying that instead of getting caught up in the day-to-day things. I was a journalist and strict on timelines, on things, and working crazy hours. When I was an editor, I had maybe eight hours of sleep a week. Avoiding that kind of burnout is key and I’ve learned just to take a breather and enjoy the moment that is in front of me.

What do you think about e-texts?
I love them. They’re fantastic. It’s the convenience of having access to them pretty much anywhere. I am a big fan of e-texts and e-readers in general. To have 30,000 books at your fingertips is incredible!

How do you find communications with your course tutors?
Very good. They are super-responsive, just can’t say enough good about them. They are very well-informed, well-educated, and seem genuinely interested in your learning.

Where has life taken you so far? (travels for pleasure, work, etc.)
Quite a bit through various places in Canada, I’ve also been to Alagoas, the smallest state in Brazil. It is probably about the furthest I have been. A lot through Arizona, some northern parts of the United States. Mostly for pleasure and adventures.

What (non-AU) book are you reading now?
Actually, it is a fellow Saskatchewanite by the name of Rolli. It’s called I am Currently Working on a Novel. He’s an amazing storyteller. It is a wonderful collection of his short stories. He is just a brilliant human being and just a very talented writer. I hope everybody gets a chance to Google him and read up on him!