Amanda Welton-Hagen is a thirty-three year old living in Whistler, British Columbia. She graduated from Vancouver Community College’s paralegal program and she has almost completed the Bachelor of Professional Arts Degree in Governance, Law & Management at Athabasca University. She has applied to Law School and is awaiting acceptance. This is her story.
Can you give us a little bit of background information about yourself? Who are you? Where do you live, where do you come from?
My name is Amanda, I’m 33 years old, I live in Whistler, B.C, and I work as a paralegal. I grew up in Calgary, Alberta, but have lived in Whistler for the last six years. I have two sisters and two brothers. I also have two small dogs.
So what brought you to AU?
I graduated from the paralegal program at Vancouver Community College. I was working at a law firm and started looking in to the requirements for attending law school in Canada. I want to be a lawyer. That requires a degree. I looked at the Vancouver Community College website at the possibility of transferring my credits to a degree program, and found that the Bachelor of Professional Arts Degree in Governance, Law & Management at Athabasca University was listed as a transfer program. So that’s the program that I signed up for.
What do you do like to do when you’re not studying?
I love to play soccer! I’m actively involved in the soccer community here in Whistler. I also enjoy reading and playing with my two dogs. I’m also very close with my family, so I try to spend as much time with them as I can.
What’s next? How have your studies and AU fit into your plans for the future?
I have applied for Law School, so hopefully I will be accepted. AU has allowed me to continue working as a paralegal in Whistler, while being able to complete my degree.
And where do you plan to go to Law School?
I hope in Calgary or Edmonton, so I can be close to my family.
Okay, so who in your life had the greatest influence on your desire to learn?
My Aunty Chrissy. She lived in Edmonton and worked helping students with learning disabilities. She taught studying tips/techniques to high school kids all over Alberta. She encouraged me to pursue education and was always supportive of what I wanted to do.
Describe your experience with online learning so far. What do you like? Dislike?
I enjoy taking online courses. I like being able to work on my courses at any time of the day. I like the flexibility they provide. I can go away on vacation and work on my courses by the pool if I want to. In class courses don’t allow you to do that. There isn’t really anything that I dislike about online learning.
Was there a point that you wavered about continuing your schooling? What motivated you to go through with it?
I haven’t really wavered about continuing my schooling. I want to go to law school and I need this degree to get there. There are times when working full time and taking full time courses does get a bit overwhelming. My family is very supportive, so they are there to get me through those times.
What is your most memorable Athabasca University course so far, and why?
My most memorable course was Astronomy 205, the Universe – the Ultimate Frontier. It was the hardest course I’ve ever taken in my life! It was interesting but there was just so much information to memorize.
What have you given up to go to Athabasca University that you regret the most? Was it worth it?
I’ve given up a lot of time with my family and friends and had to quit coaching youth soccer. It was just too much of a time commitment. I believe it has been worth it, though. I have one and a half semesters left of my degree and have been able to get decent marks.
How do you find communications with your course tutors?
For the most part I find communications with my course tutors just fine. A large majority of them answer within a reasonable amount of time and are very helpful.
What is your pet peeve if you have one?
My pet peeve is people that chew with their mouth open. It drives me crazy!
What famous person, past or present, would you like to have lunch with, and why?
I would like to have lunch with Nellie McClung. She was an important figure in the women’s suffrage movement in Canada. She was a strong, female politician.
Describe the proudest moment in your life.
The proudest moment in my life would be walking across the stage and receiving my paralegal diploma. It had been a long road to get there and I was so proud that I had finally graduated with my diploma.
Describe one thing that distinguishes you from most other people.
I am a very caring person. I would do anything to help the people around me. Few people know that I have had two sponsor kids for the last few years. They are two little boys and I love receiving letters and drawings from them.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learned in life?
I’ve learned that nothing comes easy. You will have to work hard for the things you want, but it will be worth it in the end.
Have you done any travelling? Where has life taken you so far?
I have done a little bit of travelling. I’ve been to Mexico, Cuba, Haiti, England and Italy, as well as various places in Canada and the US. I’ve lived in Calgary, Lethbridge, Vancouver, Scottsdale and Whistler. I enjoy travelling and wish I could do more!
Out of the places you have travelled to, which have been your favorites, and why?
My favourite place to travel is Italy. The food was amazing and there was so much history and beautiful sights to take in.
Where would you like to travel to in the future, and why?
There are so many places I would love to travel. Germany and France are at the top of my list. My family ancestry is German so it would be neat to see where they came from. I’ve heard France is amazing and has so many different historical sights to see.
What (non-AU) book are you reading now?
I am re-reading Pride & Prejudice. I am a huge Jane Austen fan!