Lionel Pinkhard is 32 years old and an AU international student from Cape Town, South Africa completing a Bachelor of Science. He has been an AU student for just over a year, majoring in Computing & Information Systems, with a minor in Game Programming. Growing up in the natural beauty of the Mediterranean climate, Lionel believes Cape Town’s beautiful beaches, friendly people, nightlife and entertainment amidst the centuries of history and culture of the city should make it a travel destination for many.
Why did you choose AU to study at?
AU offers me the best balance between flexibility and quality of education, particularly in subjects that interest me. I can study when I want to and in subjects that interest me, while still obtaining a high quality of education. I have also found that the BSc program at AU offers me greater flexibility in course selection than similar programs at other universities.
What parts do you like about online learning through AU?
The ability to learn in any place, at any time, and on my terms. AU’s online learning allows me to continue my life as usual, while still improving my education.
What do you dislike about online learning through AU?
Invigilated, non-online exams. The Online Exam Project is progressing slowly, and while I can do online exams with ProctorU, it’s difficult to find invigilators in my area as the local institutions don’t like offering their invigilation services to outside students.
What inspired you to minor in Game Programming?
I enjoy computer games and AU’s game programming courses, so I was already planning to take the required courses. When the Faculty of Science & Technology announced the minor, I realized that I could complete the minor without any additional effort, so I changed my program.
What is your favorite video/online game?
World of Warcraft, as it contains all of the aspects that I enjoy in a computer game. I like role-playing games, especially high fantasy, and World of Warcraft allows role-playing in a highly social environment with enjoyable game mechanics.
What course would you recommend to other AU students?
ASTR 205 (UniverseThe Ultimate Frontier). This course is an excellent balance of mathematics, physics, and astronomy, without being excessively complicated. Moreover, the TMAs helped me practice my writing and research skills in a fun way. My tutor, Dr. David Lyder, made the experience more enjoyable by providing excellent feedback along the way.
How do you motivate yourself when it comes to studying?
I reward myself. When I reach a short-term goal, such as finishing a chapter, I allow myself to play a game, watch a movie, or read a book. For bigger achievements, such as completing a course, I usually reward myself with a short break and something entertaining, such as going away for the weekend.
What is the number one travel place on your bucket list?
At the moment, it’s Rovaniemi in Finland. Since I live in a relatively warm area, I tend to enjoy colder places, so the Arctic Circle becomes an attractive destination. Rovaniemi offers natural beauty and numerous activities, along with fascinating wildlife.
Who is your favorite musician or band?
I enjoy Pink Floyd’s music, particularly “The Dark Side of the Moon.” The song has a nice rhythm and profound, philosophical lyrics.
If you could choose your age forever, what age would you choose?
Thirty, because it’s a nice balance between youth and maturity. I would be able to enjoy the benefits of youth, but still be mature enough to make good decisions and be respected.
If you could have dinner with any historical figure, who would it be and why?
Socrates. I enjoy his philosophical debates, and it would be interesting to have a conversation with him.
If you were to create a slogan for your life, what would it be?
Make mistakes. That’s how people learn. The alternative is procrastinating and achieving nothing.
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.