Emily Bellamy is twenty-three years old and was born and raised in Alberta, though she now lives in Saskatchewan with her husband. She is currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Human Resources and Labour Relations program and hopes to eventually get a job as an HR Coordinator. 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 Emily and I am a 23-year-old born and raised in Alberta, Canada. I grew up on a dairy farm with my parents and six siblings. My parents immigrated from Holland some thirty-odd years ago and I was their 4th child and first of the kids to be born in Canada. I went to a tiny school with less than 200 students from Kindergarten to grade 12. Small town living is really all I know, with our country farm being close to only a tiny Hamlet with less than 500 people. Once I graduated high school, I met my husband and we headed east to his hometown in Saskatchewan. Thankfully his hometown is small enough for this small-town girl to feel right at home. I am currently working at my local Co-op as a cashier, clerk, file maintenance and produce clerk.
What program are you enrolled in?
I am enrolled in the Bachelor of Human Resources and Labour Relations program.
Could you describe the path that led you to AU?
I always knew I wanted to receive some form of higher education and had even applied and got accepted into the education program right out of high school. However, before completing all of the necessary paperwork I had a bit of a realization. I had felt a tremendous amount of pressure to pick a career right away, and since really the only two careers I truly knew about where farming and teaching I picked teaching. However, I realized that I was not ready to pick a career and there should be no reason for me to feel that pressure so soon. So fast forward to almost exactly a year ago, after I had time to focus on what my strengths were and what interested me, I picked a career in human resources. I love working with people and my interpersonal skills are something that I have been working on and improving over the past few years. I was ready to jump back into school because I know the hard work is going to expand on something I love and bring a range of endless job opportunities.
Are you enjoying the program? Is there anything you like and dislike from the program?
I am really enjoying the program. So far, the core courses I have taken for this program are very interesting and much of the subject material is very applicable to the position I hold on the health and safety club at my work. It makes the subject matter easier to learn when I can apply it to my day to day work.
What do you do like to do when you’re not studying?
When I am not studying, I love to go for walks and runs, as well as taking long bike rides throughout my town. My go-to however is painting. I wouldn’t quite say I am very good at it, or that my paintings would resemble anything spectacular, but I love the freedom that painting brings. Having my music playing loudly in the background with a blank canvas with multiple paints and brushes is just such a freeing feeling. It feels nice to have a creative outlet with no pressure to produce anything.
What are your plans for this education once you finish?
Once I am finished my education, I plan to begin a career in Human Resources. I hope to get a job as an HR Coordinator and spend a few years really soaking up as much knowledge as I can. This will hopefully lead into a specialization of sorts. Eventually, I would love to spend some time as a recruiter for a company. However, I do believe ultimately that I would like to become a Human Resource Manager for Federated Co-operative Limited and work in one of their main locations. I truly just want to experience and learn as much as I can! Human Resources has so many different avenues that I believe if I work hard there will be endless possibilities.
Describe your experience with online learning so far. What do you like? Dislike?
So far, my experience with online learning has been very pleasant. I really enjoy being able to do my schoolwork at the times that work best for me. The flexibility is by far the best part of online learning especially since AU allows you to use ProctorU as an approved invigilator I can take my exams at 9:00 in the evening if that is the only time that fits my schedule. I work full-time with varying shifts, so it is nice to be able to still work all my shifts and get my assignment and exams done when it works for me. A dislike I have about online learning is that often it can feel as though you are the only one going through this situation since contact with other students is minimal. However, the AU student app has helped with this problem quite a bit. Having a place where people can ask questions or just provide words of encouragement is of great help, and the app does a great job of that!
At what point did you waver the most about continuing your schooling?
One of the biggest things that caused me to waver about continuing my schooling was the fear of failing. I believe that the reason I was so worried about failing was because I already felt “behind” everyone else for starting university five years after I completed high school. So, my thought was that if I failed at this, I would be even more behind than everyone else my age. What got me through it was realizing that time was going to pass whether or not I went back to school, and that if I didn’t enroll I wouldn’t be saving myself from any hardship, rather I would be upset with myself for not going back sooner. Some of the best things to happen to us are on the other side of the scary things we need to get through first.
Any advice for people who are on the edge or feeling like it is too late to go back to school?
The advice I have for those who feel like it is too late is to stop comparing yourself to those who have chosen a different path then you. Everyone’s path is different and just because you chose to go to school later in life does not mean you are wrong, or behind, or late. What helped me is focusing solely on where I wanted to be in three years, and the only time I look back is to see how many courses I have done. Each course you take is one more than you did yesterday, and it is important to celebrate the little wins and accomplishments toward your goal. Sometimes taking baby steps make it easier when focusing on a big, scary goal like completing a degree. Remember, you are not behind! You are right where you are meant to be. Everyone is special and unique, and our journeys should reflect that.
What’s your most memorable AU course so far, and why?
My most memorable AU course has been IDRL 215. I’m not quite sure if it is because of the circumstances I was in during this course or because of the course content itself or maybe a mix of both. This course was part of my very first semester at AU and I had greatly underestimated the amount of time it would take to complete a course. With only about a month and a half left I decided to tackle this course and only a few days in did I realize what a mistake I had made! I had made great headway in all my other courses, but this course talked about so much I had never heard of. It truly was all new to me. So, I remember crying at my kitchen table completely succumbing to all my worries, feeling defeated and knowing full well it was all my fault for underestimating the time that was necessary to put into a course. However, after wiping the tears and self-doubt away I concocted a master schedule to complete this course on time and with good marks. Every spare moment I had from the moment I woke up to the moment my head hit the pillow I focus on IDRL 215. Not only did I pass with flying colours, but I learned so much about Labour Unions that I plan to choose more courses for my electives that expand on the topic. This course taught me so much more than information about unions. It opened my eyes to the work necessary to put into a course, as well as my own abilities and that if I stick to something, I can get it done. Also, to never ever procrastinate on a course again because that is a horrible feeling!
What have you given up to go to AU that you regret the most? Was it worth it?
In all honesty, there really isn’t anything that I have given up going to AU and I think that might be the most beautiful thing about AU. If anything, AU has given me one of the greatest gifts: the ability to learn time management! I still get to do all the things I love; with all the people I love. The only difference is how I spend the 24 hours I have in a day. Instead of watching two episodes on Netflix I will watch one and then do schoolwork. Instead of sleeping in on a Saturday I wake up a little earlier to study, and as a bonus I get to see the sunrise and hear the birds chirping. The university’s flexibility has given me the chance to still be me and focus on myself as well as receive a higher education.
How do you find communications with your course tutors?
Initially when starting this AU journey, I was worried about the communication that I would encounter at AU. My questions would race in my mind and I would wonder about what if I was completely confused and frustrated, would they be able to help? If I have issues understanding an assignment would they be helpful? If I couldn’t get an assignment in on time would they be understanding and help me in that regard? I found out one very important thing quite quickly the first time I was confronted with one of those situations. The tutors are humans too! With empathy! And a caring nature! I have been so pleased with the communication offered by my tutors thus far. From a 45-minute phone call on a topic because I couldn’t wrap my mind around it, or the time a tutor so graciously offered an extension (without me even asking) because she could tell from my voice I was stressed. The communication is always prompt, effective and above all it is caring.
What’s your biggest pet peeve, if you have one?
People that are late! I could write an essay on this topic but since I don’t have the room, or the audience that would care to read it I will spare you all! However, to touch on it lightly, I was taught from a very young age that there are no such things as being too early, but that even if you get there right on time, you are late! Though a lot of this has to do with not wanting to be late in general, I also believe it shows your level of respect for the person or people you are meeting up with. Time is precious and I believe in respecting every person’s valuable time.
What famous person, past or present, would you like to have lunch with, and why?
I would love to have lunch with the Queen. I would love to get a first-hand account of everything she has been through and seen. I cannot imagine a life where you are always in the public eye and that all the people you love are being scrutinized as well. She must truly have so many interesting stories to tell about all the people she has met and all the places and events she has been to. I think one of the main reasons I would love to meet her is because I know I would never have been able to be put in the same situation as Queen Elizabeth II. I believe it takes a special person to be Queen for as long as she has, and that the age she is.
Describe the proudest moment in your life.
I think currently this AU journey is part of the proudest moment of my life. From a very young age, probably since birth, I have been full of anxiety and worry. My worry over an outcome of a decision I would make would stop me from making it. I would first see all of the things that could go bad in a situation and then wouldn’t have the energy to see the good. Jumping into this AU journey is exactly the kind of thing I would normally be much to terrified to even attempt! But here I am! Finishing up my 1st year at AU and keeping up the momentum with grades I am happy with and even more passion and commitment to complete my Bachelor’s!
What is the most valuable lesson you have learned in life?
The most valuable lesson I have learned in life is that showing up and being hardworking are about the most important attributes to have. It helps put things into perspective when I am worried about whether I am doing enough, or if my priorities are straight. This works for so many aspects of a person’s life. At work are you consistently showing up on time and are you always working hard at your tasks? At school are you showing up consistently and working hard when you allotted that time to do your schoolwork? In your relationships are you showing up consistently and being that continuous support and are you working hard to maintain those relationships. Consistently showup and always work your hardest, whatever that may be!
Have you travelled? Where has life taken you so far?
When I was younger, I went to Holland with a few of my family members but I am too young to remember any of it so I would like to go back. I have been to two different parts of Mexico on family vacations and went on a class trip down to California. The rest of my travels have been inside of Canada. I have visited Jasper and Banff on several occasions and it truly is such a beautiful place. I am hoping my next great adventure to Jasper or Banff includes some kayaking through the mountains.