Minds We Meet—Madison Daviduik

Madison Daviduik is a twenty-one-year-old from Swan River, Manitoba.  She lives with her family on a family farm and works full-time as a Supervisor for their local Aquatic Centre.  She is currently enrolled into the Bachelor of Commerce – Finance program and is a self-proclaimed nerd.  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?

I’m 21 years old and I live and was born in Swan River, Manitoba, a small town about five hours northwest of Winnipeg.  I reside on a family farm with my parents and grandparents; we primarily operate with cattle and grain.  I’ve also worked full time at the local Aquatic Centre as a Supervisor for the past five years.  I’m a self-proclaimed nerd, and love all things classic rock, Tim Burton, and Nintendo.

What was it like growing up on a farm? What does your day-to-day look like when you’re involved with farm life?

If I could describe it in one word: busy.  There are always things to do and no day is ever the same! It could include anything from moving cows, to cleaning out trucks and tractors, filling the air seeder, running for parts or running a combine.  It really depends on what time of year it is, and sometimes it makes getting schoolwork done a challenge, but I wouldn’t trade it away!

Could you describe the path that led you to AU?

I originally wanted to take a gap year out of high school, before moving onto the University of Manitoba to complete a Bachelor of Pharmacy.  My school counsellors convinced me to take courses online that year, which led me to want to take my year one pre-requisites online as well.  U of M doesn’t offer science courses online which ended up with me taking Chemistry and Biology from Athabasca.  After not being accepted into the pharmacy program (and the set of pre-requisites changing as the program was being re-designed), I needed to look at other options.  I didn’t want to complete another set of pre-req’s and end up not getting in for another few years.  After checking the programs offered at AU, I chose the Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) program.  I love the program and I’m so happy I made the switch.

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

Between working and studying full time, and living on a farm, it doesn’t leave much downtime! If I do have some, I like to read or play games on my Switch.

What type of games do you enjoy playing on your Switch?

So far nothing has topped Zelda: Breath of the Wild! It was such a well-made game, I’ve also played through Super Mario Odyssey, Let’s Go Pikachu and Fire Emblem WarriorsSuper Mario Party and Mario Kart have been staples as well! I can’t wait for Fire Emblem: Three Houses and Pokémon Sword/Shield to come out this year.

What are your plans for this education once you finish? How does it fit in with where you want to go?

I do not plan on moving out of my town, all of my family is here, and I have no reason/desire to move.  I would love to work at a bank/FCC where I could do agricultural loans! I love farm life and would like to keep some aspect of it in my career.

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

My parents always pushed me to do my best and wanted the best for me as well.  I definitely learned my perseverance and determination from them.

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

I love being able to teach myself and learn at my own pace! I was always that kid in school who was done before everyone else and had to find something to do to waste time.  This way I can just power through and get stuff done! The only dislike is sometimes it is hard to contact the right people when you have questions.

At what point did you waver the most about continuing your schooling?

I definitely wavered when I was not accepted into my original program.  Though I’m glad I decided to change programs!

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

Biology 207 was definitely the most memorable course I have taken at AU.  Being able to travel to Athabasca to do the five-day lab was such a cool experience!

Could you briefly describe BIOL 207 to students who have not yet taken it? Would you recommend the course? Was it a difficult course?

It is the second part of introductory biology and is likely going to be needed in most science programs.  It builds a lot on basics from high school biology and really delved into the diversity of organisms, from big to small.  I wouldn’t say it’s incredibly easy, but I found it easier to manage than BIOL 204, so if you can get through that, you can get through this.

Any advice for students who are about to enroll into BIOL 207?

Brush up on some diversity basics from high school biology.  Prepare yourself to spend a lot of time reading.  Be excited to travel to Athabasca to do the labs! Also, don’t forget there are bursaries for students who go to do labs as well.

Was this your first time at AU? Could you describe the experience to students who have not had the chance to go there? Did it remind you of a “normal” university?

It was my first time visiting! Athabasca as a town itself is so quaint and peaceful.  The university is nestled up in the trees on a hill and the drive through town is spectacular! Not what I expected at all.  The campus actually reminds me more of my high school than any of the other universities I’ve visited, just due to its size and how it is laid out! Very easy to get around, but considering it is an online university.  There are not many students walking around and no lecture halls, etc., so it does not seem like a typical or ‘normal’ university.

What was the lab like? Did it feel well organized and what experiment did you do?

I felt that it was very well organized.  The instructors were very helpful and knowledgeable, and they made it fun.  We had a small group, so everyone got to know each other well.  We did a few small experiments to do with cell division, different funguses and spectrometry.  We also dissected a pig which everyone seemed to either love or hate!

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

The only thing I think I’ve missed out on is the opportunity to make new friends and experience that diversity.  But I definitely think it was worth it because I’m not a social person to begin with.

How do you find communications with your course tutors?

Using the student support centre isn’t my favourite mode of communication.  I would prefer just to be able to email my tutor directly and quickly than go through a whole process.

What’s your pet peeve if you have one?

My biggest pet peeve is when people leave coffee stains on the white counters at work, or when people move my files around.

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

Tim Burton.  I’d love to pick his brain about where he gets all his amazing inspiration from.

Describe the proudest moment in your life.

When I bought my Jeep, brand new, all on my own!

Could you describe one thing that distinguishes you from most other people?

I feel like there’s a lot.  I’m into dark humour, creepy Claymation movies, Pokémon and classic rock.  Super obsessed with makeup.  I also don’t have a problem with helping pull a calf during calving season.  Not many 21-year-old girls have the same attributes! I know I’m weird and I live by it.  Not many people I know or work with would be able to guess what I’m into either! I could probably make a very long list to answer this question.

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

Not to let other people use me or walk over me.  Through certain experiences I’ve learned my self-worth and how to speak up.

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

I’ve done a few road trips through the US, and one out to Athabasca through labs.  All of those experiences have been amazing! It’s great just to spend time with my family and make memories.

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

I’m currently in the middle of two books.  The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness, and Jade City by Fonda Lee.

Could you describe the books you’re reading? Would you recommend them to students?

I’m only a couple chapters into Jade City so I can’t say much on that one! The Book of Life is the third book in its series.  It tells the stories of vampires, witches and demons but in a very sophisticated way.  It includes a lot of European history as well.  I would recommend it to anyone who enjoyed the Vampire Diaries, Vampire Academy, or similar books as a teenager and would like to revisit the genre as an adult.

[Always a popular series, this particular Minds We Meet from our May 17th issue was remembered by a Voice Reader who noted she particularly liked the pride of the farm talked about here.  Me? I liked the juxtaposition of the self-proclaimed nerd and farmer.]