Minds we Meet—Interviewing Katherine Huston

Katherine Huston is twenty-eight years old currently living in Calgary, Alberta.  She is enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts, English Major program and plans to eventually apply to Law School.  This is her story.

Hey! Could you give us a little bit of information about yourself? Who are you? Where do you live, where do you come from?

My name is Katherine, I am twenty-eight years old, I work full time and I am a full-time university student at Athabasca University.  I reside in Calgary, Alberta and have lived here most of my adult life!

What program are you enrolled in?

I am currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts program with a major in English.

Do you like the Bachelor of Arts program?

I enjoy all the novels I get to read; they are great works of Canadian literature, though I dislike the amount of reading!

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 have signed up for?

My last job led me to AU.  I worked as a Paralegal at a Law Firm and seeing the strong female lawyers around me made me want to pursue a degree in Law.  I do have a paralegal diploma, but I always thought to myself “why can’t I be like these women?” so that is when I decided to go back to school to pursue my dream career.  I decided to enroll in the B.A.  English Major degree because this degree will only benefit my law career.

What do you do like to do when you’re not studying?

My favourite thing to do when I am not studying is walking.  Yes, walking.  I really enjoy getting outside and getting a tea and walking down to the river.  It is so peaceful and relaxing, and it really brings me back to a centred place.

What are your plans for this education once you finish?

My plans for the rest of my education is to continue with my degree at AU, write my LSATs and go to Law School!

Who in your life had the greatest influence on your desire to learn?

Oh wow, this is a hard one to answer.  I would have to say my boyfriend and my mother.  My boyfriend always makes a point of encouraging me, pushing me and reminding me that the late nights, the busy schedule and the sacrifice will be worth it in the end.  Nights where I am so overwhelmed and am on the border of tears, he ever so sweetly kisses my forehead, bring me my favourite lavender tea, and talk me off the “cliff” I feel that I am on.  As for my mother, she is one of a kind.  She helps me read notes and will even offer to type up my essays.  She often will ask “is there anything I can do” (most of the time I think she is happy when I say no) but just knowing she has offered really puts me at ease.  She has been one of the biggest supporters of my education, that is ever on going.  She often tells me that this degree is a “joint” degree.

Describe your experience with online learning so far.  What do you like? Dislike?

My experience at AU and with online learning has been a mostly positive one.  I have really enjoyed the student email and the student mobile app.  It allows me to connect with fellow students to bounce ideas off each other and to ask questions.  The only thing that I dislike is the constant updates to the online website.  It has often frozen in the middle of an assignment or quit on me during a practice exam, which is very annoying.

Have you ever wavered about continuing your schooling? What caused it and what got you through it?

Honestly, this just happened to me not too long ago, in January.  I was at the point where my work hours were changing, and school was ending in a month.  I felt behind and so overwhelmed.  At that point I felt beyond burnt out and all I wanted to do was quit and go back to working as a paralegal.  Then I remembered why I went back to school; I found this old “dreams” list I had made when I first started school and that was my little push I needed.  I also booked two vacations, one in March and one in October, that way I had something to look forward to.

Do you have any advice for anyone who is feeling overwhelmed and thinking of giving up the school?

Keep going! No matter what life throws at you, keep going.  It is worth it, trust me.

What’s your most memorable AU course so far, and why?

My most memorable course so far has been the English for Business course I took a few semesters ago.  It was memorable because it fit into my job and the textbook was in colour, so it made studying more fun!

What have you given up to go to AU that you regret the most? Was it worth it?

Oh, this is an easy question! Partying! It’s true! Though, I don’t miss it and, bonus, my bank account loves me.

How do you find communications with your course tutors?

Wow, I hope this wont effect my grade.  The tutor I had last semester was not “on the ball” with emails.  I emailed asking if I could get pointers and I am still currently waiting for a response.

What’s your pet peeve if you have one?

Not giving pointers.  If I submit an assignment or ask questions on how I can improve, the polite thing to do is answer with something.  My other pet peeve has nothing to do with school, it’s a dirty kitchen.

What famous person, past or present, would you like to have lunch with, and why?

Karl Lagerfield.  He recently passed away.  He was the most incredible human when it came to the fashion industry in our day and age, aside from Coco Chanel herself.  I would want to dine with him to just observe him and how he handles himself, from mannerisms to how he looks at the world around him.  He was controversial because of the comments he made, but I liked him because he was so brutally honest.

Describe one thing that distinguishes you from most other people.

I would say the one thing that makes me different is my positive outlook on almost everything.  I always wake up and go to bed with a smile on my face.  I always look at the positive in situations.  As for a few things people do not know about me would be, I am a neat freak; I organize everything.  I’m going on a vacation soon and I have laminated itineraries with corresponding colour coded maps! I’m also allergic to almost everything! I am a red head, and I am allergic to a lot of things, even down to Band-Aids.

You are allergic to almost everything? Could you explain a bit about what you’re allergic to and what your experience has been? Were you always allergic to a lot of things?

Being a red head, I have always been super sensitive.  This has been a lot of trial and error over the years.  It is something I have learnt to live with, and I have learnt to read my body well, so I know exactly what is wrong and how to calm it down.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned in life?

You are stronger than you think.  I have been in my fair share of situations and I have always had to (to some degree) rely on myself to get out of the situations.  So, give yourself some credit!

Have you travelled? Where has life taken you so far?

I have done the travelling.  I went to Vegas a few times.  I moved to British Columbia and then to Toronto.  I have travelled to Arizona, Idaho and Montana.  I’m going to BC in a few weeks, then Mexico in October.  So yes, I love travelling!

Out of all the places you have travelled, which was your favourite and why? What are some must-see spots in your favourite destinations?

I love Vegas! I do not go for gambling and drinking; I go for shopping and food! If you go you MUST eat at Gordon Ramsay’s Burger! It will change your life!

What (non-AU) book are you reading now?

I’m currently reading On the Farm it’s a book from the Robert Pickton case.  It outlines the entire case and his back story.  I find it very interesting.

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