Minds We Meet – Interviewing Students Like You!

Row on over to Carrie Beckett

Carrie Becket is working toward her AU post-diploma Bachelor of Management degree from Calgary. Having tried the traditional university route, She’s found that AU’s flexible offerings fit better for her busy lifestyle. Thankfully, she was able to find some time to be interviewed by The Voice Magazine.

First of all, whereabouts do you live? And have you always lived there?
I live in Calgary, AB, however I grew up in Provost AB.

Which AU program, if any, are you in?
I am in the Post-Diploma Bachelor of Management Degree, with a focus on HR/LR, hoping to be completed by mid-2017.

If you work, describe what you do.
I am a Human Resources Consultant with Elevated HR I work with a boutique firm in Calgary, servicing all of Western Canada, assisting small to medium sized companies with their people practices and strategies.

Describe the path that led you to AU.
I attended traditional college and university after I graduated from high school. I started working after school but realized that I wasn’t in the career path that I had envisioned. After some research, I found that AU worked best for me in being able to continue to work while taking a new degree. AU provided a great option since they recognized my previous schooling and provided all of the tools needed to take post-secondary from a distance.

What do you do like to do when You’re not studying?
When I am not working or studying, I really love to take advantage of the mountains and staying active. I enjoy mountain biking in summer and snowboarding and snowshoeing in winter. When I just want to turn off my brain, I really enjoy sewing. As well, for the past couple years, I have taught group fitness classes, including TRX and rowing. At first I started doing it because it was fun to get paid to work out but have really learned to enjoy the benefits of being able to speak in front of groups without any hesitation and learn how to pick my words concisely.

Who in your life had the greatest influence on your desire to learn?
In my life, I look back at my Grandpa and think that he was the one that has always instilled drive and passion in me to continually improve. He was able to start a successful a business in the 1940’s and overcome many obstacles while still continuing to grow and learn. He wasn’t one to pass up an opportunity but was more of an early adopter that would see how something new may help him improve.

What famous person, past or present, would you like to have lunch with, and why?
Brene Brown. She has a great Ted Talk about vulnerability as well as 2 amazing books that have really resonated with me. I would love to pick her brain about her research, her discoveries and also her theories. She also seems to have a great sense of humor, so I think we’d be friends!

Describe your experience with online learning. What do you like? Dislike?
Online learning works quite well for me because of my multiple priorities outside of school. I have no problem scheduling in my assignments and readings to be able to make the classes work and love the flexibility around that. The only thing I dislike would possibly be the test-taking experience. I don’t love sitting in large room with 50 other people typing furiously on their computers when I am trying to concentrate, however it is a temporary pain and much simpler then those students who don’t have access to an AU location.

Have you had a time when you wavered about your education?
Of course! Since I have already changed my career once, I have been very careful on what I have decided to take as well as try to take education that I will be able to find value in. However, I have never wavered about the thought of education ? I see it as an invaluable tool that will help me move forward with the path I choose.

What was your most memorable AU course?
I don’t know if I have a most memorable course that I can think of off-hand. However, I know that the last one that I take will likely be something to remember as it has been quite a journey. I do realize now that I scheduled more of my ?favorite? courses earlier on in my degree and now am doing ones that aren’t as exciting by my standards.

If you won $20 million in a lottery, what would you do with it?
Not in any specific order, I would travel with my husband, pay off the mortgage, send my parents and in-laws on a trip, donate to some great grassroots charities in Calgary and likely buy some sort of vacation property in Kelowna ? maybe even the whole winery!

What have you given up to go to AU that you regret the most? Was it worth it?
I wouldn’t say that I have given anything up to go to AU. I have taken my time to complete the degree, so there wasn’t a financial burden. Just a time drain, which is expected.

What’s the single best thing AU could do to improve your student experience?

The single best thing that AU could possibly do to improve the student experience would be more availability around contacting tutors. I know that they have very limited office hours, so if there would be a way of having them even more available ? it would be great. Maybe That’s what we could do with some of the 20 million!

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned in life?
To stop, listen and then react. I am practicing this on a daily basis, but it really helps with my communication. Instead of just adding ?my two cents? or interrupting someone, it is much more helpful to listen and provide value in my answer while respecting the person who is talking.

What do you think about e-texts?
I don’t love them but I think I understand why many courses are switching to this route. Personally, I would rather have the textbook to be able to highlight and write on, as the practice helps me remember. However, I have used e-texts and they still do the job.

How do you find communications with your course tutors?
Very easy ? having the ability to email a tutor and know they will get back to you within a specific time is very comforting. As I mentioned, it would be great to have them available even more, however I understand the budget constraints. I think I have also lucked out, as I have had access to some great tutors who were a pleasure to deal with.

What (non-AU) book are you reading now?
So Good They can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport. I am reading this to help shape a work project after the ideals that Newport says that the long-held belief that “follow your passion” is good advice. Not only is the cliché flawed pre-existing passions are rare and have little to do with how most people end up loving their work-but it can also be dangerous, leading to anxiety and chronic job hopping.