Minds We Meet—Jalesa Briault

Jalesa Briault, born and raised in Alberta, is currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Commerce Accounting Major program at Athabasca University. Once finished her program she hopes to complete the chartered professional accountant (CPA) certification and do tax returns or bookkeeping. This is her story.

Could 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 Jalesa and I have lived in Alberta my entire life. I grew up in Red Deer and moved to Calgary around 2002. From there, I moved to Cochrane (about 4 years ago).

What program are you in? Do you like your program?

I am currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Commerce program with an Accounting Major and overall, I am really liking the courses and the structure of the program.

Could you 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 Bachelor of Commerce program?

​My mother-in-law is an accountant, and I began working with her and realized how much I enjoyed it. At the time I did not like the jobs I had had in the past and wanted to be able to work my own hours from home and as my own boss. Going to back to school has been tough, but being able to do it at my own pace has been a big driving force. It makes it easy to do classes when you have spare time.

What do you do like to do when you are not studying? Any hobbies?

When I am not studying, I like to bake and hang out with friends and family. I also like to watch movies and different tv series’ that pique my interest!

What are your plans for this education once you finish?

​Once I finish my program through Athabasca University, I will go on to complete my chartered professional accountant (CPA) certification. From there I want to either work for my mother-in-law or work for myself.

What type of work do you see yourself doing?

Most likely I would like to do tax returns and bookkeeping!

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

My mother always told me I could do or be anything I wanted. While I was young, I doubted that and thought I would have to settle for a job or career path that I hated. As I got older, I learned that it did not need to be that way and that I could go back to school regardless of my age to make my life better.

Describe your experience with online learning so far.

So far online learning has been good, though it has been really tough to stay motivated to continue with studies. However, it is amazing that I can work on my courses at any time. I am a night owl so sometimes I don’t start working on my courses until 10 pm and I won’t finish until 3 or 4 am.

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

I really struggled through my first semester, of course. I wasn’t getting the marks in classes that I thought I should be, and it frustrated me. I also thought it would be a lot easier to do all of my courses online and continue to work. I underestimated how much work really needed to be put into these courses. I just chose to lessen my work hours and focused on working harder.

What is your favorite AU course that you have taken so far, and why?

So far, my favourite course has been my Criminal Justice (CRJS) 352 – Victims of Crime. I have always enjoyed the legal system and understanding the rights people have or the actions that will be taken against wrongdoers.

Would you recommend CRJS 352 to other students?

I would definitely recommend this course to others. There is definitely a lot of information in the course, but it is all pretty straight forward and interesting!

Have you given anything up to attend AU? Was it worth it?

There is not a lot that I have given up going to AU, but I have definitely had to move some things in life around to be able to better balance my life. I was working full-time as well as taking courses, but it became too much and my school ended up taking priority.

How do you find communications with your course tutors?

I do find talking with course tutors to be pretty easy. They usually respond rather quickly, sometimes within hours of contacting them. There are some tutors I did not understand or agree with what they were telling me and that made it rather frustrating but that is bound to happen with distance learning.

What is your biggest pet peeve, if you have one?

My pet peeve is people chewing with their mouths open. It drives me absolutely insane!

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

I would love to have lunch with Gordon Ramsey.

Why Gordon Ramsey?

I have watched nearly all of his shows as well as follow him on social media, and I am always amazed by his skill and knowledge. I would love to hear about his journey and be able to cook or bake the way he does!

Could you describe one of the proudest moment in your life?

The proudest moment in my life was the day I watched my stepdaughters dance performance. She is very timid, and it was amazing watching her come out of her shell and excel while doing something she loved.

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

I have learned that people view the world in very different ways. Things that seem reasonable to one person are outrageous to another and it results in a lot of tension or fighting.

Have you traveled? What has been your most memorable trip?

I traveled to Australia right after I graduated high school. It was, and still is, my absolute favorite place in the world. If I could live there permanently, as well as be able to bring everyone I loved, I would be in all my glory.

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

I currently do not have time for reading outside of my AU books. If anything, I read books with my stepdaughter and they take about 10 minutes!

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