Leah Campbell is finishing up her first year in the 3-year Bachelor of Arts program through AU. She was born in Brandon, Manitoba, the second largest city in Manitoba and a constant list maker for one of the top 10 places to live in Canada. She has lived in Brandon almost her entire life, except for the last year, which she spent on a farm in Austin, MB.
What has your post-secondary journey looked like?
This is my first ever post-secondary experience. I graduated high school in 2004 and finally made the decision that it was time to pursue bigger and better things. My goal is to complete my 3-year program and then apply to law school at the University of Manitoba. I have wanted to become a lawyer since I was around 18. Straight out of high school I landed an awesome job at the Brandon Police Service, where I rose through the ranks as a civilian member and ended with a senior specialist position in the Court Unit. I was the liaison between the police service and the Crown Attorney’s office. It was an awesome job, but after 10 years there I knew I had maxed out my potential and reached the top.
Who in your life has been the greatest influence on your desire to learn?
I was very fortunate growing up, both of my parents were school teachers. My brother and I had strong values entrenched in the gathering of knowledge because of this. But if I had to pick one person, I would say my mom. She has been the biggest influence on the person I have become. We lost her to a 7-year battle with cancer in 2011. She was the toughest, sweetest, and most loving person. She wanted nothing more than for my brother and I to reach our highest potential, and, of course, be happy.
Why did you choose AU?
Choosing AU was easy. I am a single mom of two beautiful children and could not have gone to university any other way! AU is the only online university in Canada at this level!
What parts do you like about online learning through AU?
The best things about AU online is the fact that you can work school around a hectic schedule. I often find myself dividing my studying time into chunks of the day when the kids are at school, or asleep, or playing with friends. I have always preferred to work at my own pace and AU allows me to do that. I love myAU portal—all the information needed is right in front of you and easy to find. I was [i]so[ei] nervous in my first semester to apply for exams and submit assignments, but any questions I had I could find the answers to in a second!
How do you motivate yourself when it comes to studying?
Motivation is probably the thing that distance education students struggle with the most. I have a knack for organization, and, before starting any course, I go through the study guide and my calendar and make a plan. I always make sure I leave some wiggle room for the unexpected, and lots of time for assignments so I don’t get frustrated or discouraged. Time organization is key! If something happens one day that impedes my ability to study as planned, I schedule myself in for extra time the next day.
What has been your favourite or most memorable AU course?
So far, I’d have to say that my favorite course is Psychology of Criminal Behaviour (CRJS360). I’m not done it yet (still have my final exam to write), but the units have been so interesting, and I have gotten my best marks ever on the assignments! It’s the first class where my worst mark so far is 91% (not to brag or anything, but I’m super proud!). My good marks are a reflection of how interesting I find the course material and my ten years at the Brandon Police Service definitely gave me a leg up!
Describe your relationship with AU tutors.
I’ve really lucked out with nice, professional, and efficient tutors thus far. I don’t usually have to wait more than a few days to get assignments marked, and the feedback has always been really helpful. They have a tough job to do! I don’t bug them too much with questions but I’m sure other students do and they deserve our appreciation for the job they do.
What do you like to snack on while studying?
I love to cook and bake for my family so there is always an array of goodies to snack on from the kitchen! But my ultimate study snack is coffee with some sort of flavoured creamer in it. I would not be able to start my day without a nice cup of joe!
What is your mantra in life?
I don’t know if this counts as a mantra or not, but it is my favorite and something my mom always taught us to live by. I know it is actually a prayer found in the Bible, but we just omitted the word “God” from the start. “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”. After my mom died, I actually got that tattooed on my back in her honour.
What is your favorite book and why should everyone read it?
I honestly don’t think I’d be able to pick just one book, or even a top five! I have a big bookshelf collection of books I’ve read and I spent some time scanning the titles and I don’t think I could pick a favorite. I love cookbooks, and gardening books, and fantasy-style books and spy books and non-fiction, etc. I read a lot! I guess my favorite book, of sorts, would be the book of recipes my mom wrote out for me when she started to get towards the end of her battle. She wrote out all my favorite recipes that she cooked while I was growing up and some family recipes that she wanted me to have. I try to cook something from it at least once a week. It is a beautiful thing to have and a great memory of my mom!
Book or movie – which is better?
Depends on the mood I’m in. A movie is great when you’re tired and don’t want to really think – just want it to “happen” to you. Books are more often my choice because it’s a workout for your imagination! I also like to have read the book first, and then see the movie, but I often find that I am disappointed, in casting especially. When you read the book, you have a picture in your mind of what all the characters look like, and movies usually don’t live up to the standards of my imagination!
Where is the furthest place you have traveled?
The furthest place I have traveled is Jamaica and I loved it. Rich culture, beautiful beaches, and my favorite thing: the ocean! My favorite place I have traveled to is in Canada: Prince Edward Island. I went out there for my cousin’s wedding and, wow! The seafood, the beaches, the lighthouses, and best of all, you can cover the entire province in a few days by driving. I recommend spending at least a week there. There is so much to see!
If you won the lottery and could only spend on items that started with the same letter as your first name, what would you buy?
One word – luxury — Luxury car, luxury house, luxury vacation! Just kidding – I would say “land” – would love to own a parcel somewhere and have a hobby farm.
Laura Nelson is a marketing analyst by day and a bibliophile by night. She is in her final stages of completing her BA with a major in English through AU.