In Sylvan Lake, Alberta, Briana Evans lives with her two children and takes her Bachelor of Health Administration courses. She hopes to eventually get a job in hospital management and get a master’s degree. This is her story.
Could you provide us with a little bit of background information about yourself? Who are you? Where do you live?
My name is Briana and I am a mother of two boys ages ten and two. We live in Sylvan Lake, where I was born and raised.
What program are you in? Are you liking the program?
I am currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Health Administration program and I’m finding it very interesting so far. I am learning a lot of new things and it is also a good refresher on some other areas that I haven’t studied in a while.
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 received my Medical Office Assistant diploma (MOA) in 2010 and from then I have worked as a MOA, medical receptionist, clinic manager, referral coordinator and a privacy officer. I have come to the realization that I can’t really grow or do more than this with my current education and made the difficult choice to go back to school. Other people tried to talk me out of it and told me I was crazy, but I knew what I wanted and now here I am, one year down and two more to go.
What do you do like to do when you’re not studying? Any hobbies?
When I am not studying, I like to spend time with my family, going for walks and hiking in Jasper. We enjoy entertaining in our backyard and having fires with our friends. I don’t really have any hobbies; I feel I don’t have time for those.
What are your plans for this education once you finish? What would be your dream job?
When I am finished school and have my degree, I would like to get a job in hospital management and eventually go back to school and get my master’s degree. My end goal is to work in a higher government level health administration like the World Health Organization, once my kids are older, of course.
Who in your life had the greatest influence on your desire to learn?
The goal in my life was to be like no one else in my family. I had a bit of a rough upbringing and grew up around addicts who never really had much of a work ethic. I was the first in my immediate family to graduate high school and go to college and I only intend to continue to be the best version of myself that I can be.
Could you describe your experience with online learning so far?
I am really enjoying online learning as it allows me to work full time, do full time studies and be a full-time mom all at the same time. It is definitely difficult at times, but it pushes me to work hard to see what I am truly capable of.
At what point did you waver the most about continuing your schooling? What caused it and what got you through it?
I definitely wavered about continuing my education. Missing out on being with my family at times when I have to study or write exams is really difficult at times, but I just remember that it is all going to be worth it in the end. My boys will understand that I am doing this all for them and to have a better life and it also help me to be a good role model for them and shows that hard work pays off.
What’s your favorite AU course that you have taken so far, and why? Would you recommend the course to others?
My favourite course so far would have to be HADM 326 (Health Issues: Health and Healing). I learned so much that I had no idea about, and overall, it was such an interesting course.
Would you recommend HADM 326 to other students?
I would definitely recommend this course to others and I actually brought it up in several discussions with the physicians at my work!
What have you given up to go to AU that you regret the most?
I really miss my free time after work. I feel like I am always go, go, go and I never get a break. I go to work all day, come home and make supper for my family, then I study all night. It feels like an endless cycle that is honestly quite exhausting.
Was it worth it?
To be honest, I’m not 100% sure this is worth it yet. I hope it is in the end and all I can do is stay positive and continue to do my best to work my way into the career I want.
How do you find communications with your course tutors?
Communicating with the majority of my tutors has been really easy. Some were a bit difficult and took some time for them to respond, but I understand that they are busy as well and when they did respond they were very knowledgeable and were able to help with my questions.
What’s your pet peeve if you have one?
My biggest pet peeve would be open cupboards. It irritates me when I see an open cupboard and I just have to close it!
What famous person, past or present, would you like to have lunch with, and why?
I would love to have lunch with Ghandi, to get a real insight to how he truly saw the world. He said “be the change you want to see in the world” and that statement has really stuck with me and I have even passed it down to my kids. It makes me want to be a better person.
Describe the proudest moment in your life.
The proudest moment in my life was when I walked across the stage and received my college diploma. I felt like I accomplished what I worked so hard for and I am excited to do it again.
Describe one thing that distinguishes you from most other people.
This is a hard one. I would have to say my mind. The way that I perceive that world around me and am always willing and trying to help others in any way that I can. Whether they are friends, family or even strangers. I really strive to always be a better version of myself each day.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learned in life?
Never say goodbye to those you love. My grandpa taught me my entire life that you never say goodbye, it’s always see you later. Because goodbye means forever and see you later means that you will see them again.
Have you traveled? Where has life taken you so far?
Unfortunately, I have not been lucky enough to travel very much. I have been to Florida once, Mexico twice and travelled in Canada a bit.
Out of the places you have been to, which was your favorite and why?
I would have to say my favourite places are Jasper because of the mountains and beautiful lakes and hiking trails, also, Cancun, Mexico. The beaches there are so beautiful, and I love how iguanas just walk the streets like they own the place.
What (non-AU) book are you reading now?
Other than the books I read every night to my kids; I have no spare time to read non-AU books. My life consists of work, school, and mom life for the next two years!