Minds We Meet—Andrea Waugh

Andrea Waugh is currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Health Administration program at Athabasca University and hopes to obtain a position with the provincial health authority, with a strong interest in working in Aboriginal health as a coordinator or manager.  She was kind enough to share about herself in our latest interview.

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

I’m Andrea Waugh.  I am a Registered Pharmacy Technician and college instructor in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada where I was born and raised.  I am currently in the Bachelor of Health Administration program.

How are you enjoying your program?

I am enjoying the program so far.  I feel I am able to extend and elaborate on my previous learning in healthcare and the program is providing me with the knowledge and skills to further my career into a management position within the healthcare field.

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 Health Administration program?

I have always had an interest and passion for healthcare but did not have the desire to be hands on at the front line (such as nursing).  I chose pharmacy as it allowed me to be part of the healthcare environment.  I have been in lead or supervisory roles both in my practice and as an instructor and felt that if I wanted to further advance with the field in any type of management position, I would need to further my education.  I have a sales and business background as well, obtaining a degree would open the possibility of entering pharmaceutical sales if I choose.

Do you have any advice for people who are on the fence about going back to school?

My advice for anyone deciding whether they should go back to school or not, just do it! I often tell potential or current students, “Education is something no one can take from you.  It will open up doors you may not have known were there.  If you have a passion or interest in a particular subject or area, invest in yourself and learn about it.”

What do you do like to do when you are not studying? Do you have any hobbies?

With three jobs and a full-time student, there isn’t much time for hobbies.  My husband and I do make time to get outdoors, snowshoeing or snowmobiling in the winter and boating/camping in the summer.

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

I intend on furthering my education once I complete my Bachelor in Health Administration with French courses.  Being in the only bilingual province in Canada, I will need to have the ability to speak French to apply and obtain a position with the provincial health authority.  I have a keen interest in working in Aboriginal health as a coordinator or manager.

Has anyone influenced your desire to learn?

My dad.  I can remember being in elementary school and my dad continuing his education as an adult to obtain his MBA.  The hard work and perseverance paid off for him.  He showed me that if you want to achieve something, with hard work and determination, you can!

Could you describe your experience with online learning so far? What do you like?

The best part of online, is having the ability to set my own time and hours.  I am not committed to specific class times and having to travel.  It has its challenges, balancing work, life, and study schedule is difficult with a traditional education.

Is there anything you have found that you dislike about online learning?

Online can be more difficult as you must master discipline and time management.  Not having an instructor directly in front of you can also be difficult if I do not fully understand a concept or have questions, but the tutors provide excellent support.  I have had to find additional resources in some courses, such as videos etc.  to help learn certain concepts.

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

The first term! I asked myself daily for those first four months, “what am I doing and what did I get myself into”? I struggled to adjust to university level writing, assignments and workload.  At some points of the first term I felt I fumbled my way through.  When I felt frustrated or felt like giving up, I took a break, reviewed my reasons for committing to the degree and sought out any extra help and guidance I could both within and outside AU.  I am just finishing my third term and feel more confident in my abilities and those “what am I doing” questions pop in my head much less.

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

HLST 200 (Introduction to Human Health) has been my favorite so far.  My passion and interest for health made this course very interesting to me.  I learned a lot about health and statistics.  The information I learned I have applied to my own teaching and personal health.

Would you recommend the course to other students?

I would recommend to anyone who wants to more about basic health.

Have you given up anything to attend AU? Do you find that it has been worth it?

Most of my personal time.  The end result of a degree is well worth it.

How do you find communications with your course tutors?

I have had a great experience with my tutors so far.  They have been quick to respond and have provided very helpful guidance and support with any questions I have had.  The feedback they provide on the assignments has been helpful and I have been able to apply to additional assignments and exams.

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

At the moment, the Premier of New Brunswick.  I would love to have a discussion with him surrounding healthcare in our province.

Could you describe the proudest moment in your life?

My kids’ success! Two of them are finishing up college courses and are on their way to becoming successful in their lives.

Could you tell us something that few know about you or that some would find surprising?

To see me working with the public as a Pharmacy Technician or even as a College Instructor, you would not guess I am a fairly introverted person.

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

Nothing comes easy, if you want something you have to work hard for it.

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

It’s been some time since I’ve travelled, although, I have been across the country, all provinces but the territories and Newfoundland.  I have been to New York, Florida, some of the Eastern States.  I also have two trips planned for 2020.  One to Myrtle Beach with family and the other on an Alaskan Cruise with my husband!

Which was your favorite destination that you have visited and which trip are you looking forward to the most?

New Hampshire has been my favorite so far, as it was a week of skiing in the White Mountains and I am most looking forward to the cruise!