Molly Rusch lives in the small down of Tillsonburg, Ontario, with her son and her soon-to-be husband. She is almost finished her first semester toward a Bachelor of Arts in English and plans to eventually teach grades four to eight. In her spare time, she enjoys videogaming and spending time quality time with her family. 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 Rusch, but everyone calls me Molly. I am twenty-eight years old, and I am a month away from completing my first semester toward my BA in English. I live in a super small but quite cute town in Ontario called Tillsonburg where I am currently on maternity leave from my job as a hairstylist. I am getting married in June to a wonderful man and we have a beautiful eleven-month-old son named Ares. Yes, after the Greek god of the same name.
Describe the path that led you to AU. What was it that made you realize you wanted to go (back) to school, and what pushed you into the program you’ve signed up for?
I have been a hairstylist since 2011 and, although I have thoroughly enjoyed it, it wasn’t my true passion. When I was a little girl, while playing “house” with my friends, I always insisted on being a teacher. I would read to them and make up little tests to grade. Even when I would play on my own, I would write out little quizzes for my make-believe students and I would mark them, and even take them up with my imaginary friends. That is where my true passion lies. I have always wanted to teach. It was my fiancé that gave me the courage to go back to school, and he helped me see my own potential. I thought that I was too old to go back, and that I would certainly be too old to start a teaching career. My fiancé told me that when he went to Teacher’s College (he’s a high school science teacher now) he noticed that there were students that were in their fifties, so he assured me that one is never too old to go after their dreams.
What do you do like to do when you are not studying?
When I’m not studying, I play videogames, a lot of video games, and I play with my son. When Blake (my fiancé) gets home we watch television together or read to our son. We live a very quiet and boring-to-some life, but that is exactly how we like it.
What are your plans for this education once you finish? How does it fit in with where you want to go?
As I mentioned before, my plan is to go to Teacher’s College after my four-year BA program is complete, and then apply to the school board in whatever town we happen to live in at the time. Six years feels like a long time away. I will be applying to the elementary school board, and I hope to teach grades four to eight.
Why does teaching grades four to eight appeal to you the most?
I would like to teach grades four to eight because some of my favourite and most memorable teachers were within that range. I also had the most fun in school in those grades, and it was then that I realized my love of reading and writing. I just have some very fond memories of those grades and I would love to be apart of other children’s happy memories.
Who in your life had the greatest influence on your desire to learn?
My fiancé, first and foremost. Additionally, my son played a major role in my final decision to make the jump. Making my dreams a reality will, in addition to making me happier, allow me to contribute more to my family financially. Hairstylists, in Ontario at least, don’t make much money.
Describe your experience with online learning so far. What do you like? Dislike?
I absolutely love the flexibility that online leaning provides. I am able to stay at home with my son, which saves on childcare, while earning my degree. I love that I can be a stay-at-home-mom while still contributing to my family and eventually, to the community. Let me preface this next statement by saying that what I do dislike has nothing to do with the school itself or with the online learning community; my dislike of at-home learning has more to do with the difficulty I sometimes have staying accountable. That being said, I do have a set schedule that consists of five classes that are seventy-five minutes each, with a fifteen-minute break between each one. I take a half-an-hour lunch break at noon, and I allotted myself fifteen minutes at the end of the day to prepare for the next day. This schedule works for me, most of the time, but on days where I lack motivation or when my son is cranky, I find it difficult to focus because my bed is so close and so very comfy.
At what point did you waver the most about continuing your schooling? What caused it and what got you through it?
There were two big reasons why I almost walked away from continuing my education: I felt that I wasn’t intelligent enough to go to university, and I was afraid of the monetary repercussions of quitting my job in an economy not fit for one-income households. Blake assured me that we would make it work. My education is as important to my fiancé as it is to me, and he has been standing behind me every step of the way.
What is your most memorable Athabasca University course so far, and why?
Since I am strictly an arts person, this question makes me laugh a little bit. I would have to say that my most memorable course so far is MATH 215 (intro to statistics). I need this credit for my psychology minor, and I have never, ever, liked math. Here I am, a woman who almost failed out of every mandatory math class in high school, averaging in the mid eighties in university math. This class has definitely showed me that I am much more intelligent that I had previously believed.
What have you given up to go to AU that you regret the most? Was it worth it?
I would have to say that quitting my job was the hardest part. I work with my very best friend, who is also my son’s god-mother, so not seeing her every day has been quite difficult on both of us. To be completely honest, I didn’t have to really give up anything in order to continue my education, and for that I am so grateful. I will never regret my decision to better myself.
How do you find communications with your course tutors?
I have not had any issues thus far communicating with my tutors. My tutors are very kind and quick to respond to my questions. I feel very fortunate to have them in my corner this semester. All five of my tutors this semester are wicked fast at marking as well, so that is a huge bonus.
What’s your pet peeve if you have one?
I have quite a few pet peeves, to be frank, but I would have to say that my biggest one is dishonesty. I have no use for people that lie, and I believe that the truth is always better than a lie, no matter the situation. However, people obnoxiously chewing are a big problem for me too.
What famous person, past or present, would you like to have lunch with, and why?
This is an easy question to answer: Elvis Presley. I have been a devoted fan since I was three years old, and to be able to sit and eat a peanut butter and banana sandwich (his favourite food) with him and hear stories about his life would make me incredibly happy. I would definitely request a duet as well.
Describe the proudest moment in your life.
Get ready for the most cliché answer you’ll read all day. The proudest moment in my life was the safe delivery of my son. His birth was long and difficult, and he had some serious complications with his heart. I have never been more scared as I was when his heartrate refused to stabilize. One cold operating room and one painless caesarean later, my son was born healthy and happy. He is a fighter, and I think he gets that from me.
Describe one thing that distinguishes you from most other people.
I am an empath and a spiritual intuitive. I read tarot and oracle cards and I communicate with Spirit using a pendulum. I tend not to tell many people because of the negative stigma around mediumship and Spirit, but I am not ashamed in the slightest.
Interesting! Can you tell me a bit more about this?
I was first introduced to tarot around the age of thirteen by the mother of one of my childhood friends. She was very spiritual and used cards and pendulums often. I had dealt with spirits before that point, some good some bad, and I was interested in trying to communicate with them further. It wasn’t until I was older and doing my research and education about different forms of Spirit communication and my own abilities, that I found the oracles and pendulum that I use and love now.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learned in life?
The most valuable lesson I have learned in life is that you’re never too old to do what you love. Life is too short to work a job that you hate for less than satisfactory money. Do what you love and make money doing it.
Have you travelled? Where has life taken you so far?
The farthest I have ever been from home was when I was eleven; my parents and I went to Virginia for three weeks. We went to a massive Civil War museum, and we went to the beach a lot. I’ve never even been on a plane. Like I mentioned before, I live a very boring and quiet life. My fiancé and I are planning on traveling with our kid(s) in the summers.
What (non-AU) book are you reading now?
Right now, besides textbooks, I am reading The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson.
Did you enjoy the book?
I very much enjoyed the book! It’s a very well written book, and it is quite creepy at times! I bought the book expecting it to be in line with the Netflix show of the same name, but don’t be fooled. It isn’t much like the show. I will say this, if you are a fan of ghosts and plot twists, you will enjoy this book. It’s not a very long read, only about two hundred and some-odd pages, so it makes for a fun weekend read.