Minds We Meet—Erin D.

Erin D., from Stratford Ontario, is 26 years old and is currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Professional Arts in Human Services program. Eventually, she plans to enrol into a master’s in social work! This is her story.

Can you give us a little bit of background information about yourself?

My name is Erin, I am 26 years old, and live in Stratford, Ontario. I work full-time in the mental health field and love my job. I previously took my Advanced Child and Youth Worker diploma, and I am currently taking the Bachelor of Professional Arts in Human Services program. I have enjoyed some of my courses, but overall don’t love the human services course. I took it because it gave me credit for my diploma, however, the required courses are ones that I don’t find overly helpful or necessary when I compare it to the work in the social services field.

Could you describe the path that led you to AU?

I eventually want to get a master’s in social work and being able to do my degree online through Athabasca University was the fastest, most realistic way for me.

Any advice for people who are on the fence about going back to school?

If someone is on the fence about going back to school I would recommend talking to someone who works in the field that you are interested in working in to see what program would make the most sense and to get a strong idea if going back to school makes sense for you. Also, I’d suggest taking one course at a time to ease yourself into it, as it is much easier to back out of one class rather than five.

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

In my limited spare time, I enjoy hiking, camping, interacting with my dogs, reading, and volunteering.

What are your plans for this education once you finish? What would be your dream job?

My plan is to apply to the master’s in social work program and to run a social service or mental health agency or run my own private practice.

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

My grandmother and my mom. They are both well-educated and are always pushing themselves to their full capacity. My dad has also taught me to take full advantage of the opportunities I have in life and that I am lucky enough to be able to attend school, so I should take the opportunity to learn all that I can and give back to those who might not have the same opportunities as myself.

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

I love the flexibility and I dislike the disconnect with some of the teachers and the amount of time it takes to hear back from office-based staff.

At what point did you waver the most about continuing your schooling? What caused it and what got you through it?

Taking the required courses that I felt didn’t relate to furthering developing my skills made me feel like discontinuing my involvement with school. It felt like I was spending money on something that wasn’t going to impact my work with clients. I was able to stay focused because of the classes I did enjoy and felt were applicable.

What’s your favorite AU course that you have taken so far, and why? Would you recommend the course to others?

EDPY 470 (Consultation and Collaboration for Students with Special Needs) is my favorite AU course thus far. It was directly related to my field of work, it was a fair challenge, the professor was great, and it was laid out great.

How do you find communications with your course tutors?

It depends on the course. Some are great, some are not so great. I do wish there was more consistency from course to course in how fast professors respond and how much feedback they give.

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

Vince Vaughn. He seems funny, ha-ha!

Could you describe the proudest moment in your life?

Working in the job that I have now, as it has been a long-term goal of mine

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

When all else fails, BE KIND! You won’t regret being kind.

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

I’ve been to Cuba, Mexico, Cayman Islands, and Ireland.

Out of the places you have been to, which was your favorite and why?

Ireland was by far my favorite. It’s a beautiful country with so much to see. Also, the people were so nice, and I felt safe.

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

I just finished reading My Lovely Wife in the Psychward. It’s a memoir that speaks beautifully and honestly about a husband who supports his wife through significant mental health concerns and hospitalizations.

Would you recommend it?

I would recommend it to anyone working the social services field, anyone who has struggled with a loved one who has mental health concerns, or anyone who just wants a read that will give you all the feels!