Sylvie Boudreault is currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts program, double majoring in Psychology and Anthropology. Sylvie was kind enough to share her experience with online learning and why she chose to go back to school.
Could you provide a bit of background information about yourself? Who are you? Where do you live, where do you come from?
Hi, my name is Sylvie Boudreault. I currently live in Edmonton and has been for the last nine years, but I am originally from the beautiful province of Quebec.
What program are you currently enrolled in?
I am currently majoring in psychology with a second major in anthropology. It’s a lot of theory but I like the programs!
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 Arts double major in Psychology and Anthropology?
Somehow, I have always been attracted to the field of psychology. People always came to me to talk about their life and experiences but the study of what I call pure mechanics was what called me in my early twenties. I studied mechanical engineering and followed my passion for the first 15 years of my working life. After having kids, I slowly re-explored my second passion, brain mechanics (a.k.a psychology) and it took another couple of years where life seriously got in the way of my plan of going back to school until I told myself, enough is enough, I am doing it anyway, it’s now or never. Because, clearly, no one would be taking that decision other than me. It was my life and my growth that was on the line. So last year I decided to go for it, after taking with my kids—because obviously that was a big change for them too.
Do you have any hobbies? What do you enjoy doing when you are not studying?
I love knitting and crocheting, exercising, painting, going out in nature, reading, anything that makes my heart sing!
What are your plans for this education once you finish?
Well, I plan to get my Master and Doctorate after that. Right now, I have two options, but I still keep an open mind about it. Life can throw a different experience at me that might change those big plans. So far, the two options are either staying at AU and do my Master’s in art therapy or go abroad and get my Masters in Forensic Psychology in the Netherlands.
What would you consider to be your dream job?
My dream job would be to have the opportunity to travel a lot, do speaking events, retreats, working with a multi-disciplinary team at a medical centre, and have my personal practice as well.
Who in your life had the greatest influence on your desire to learn?
That’s a great question. My first-grade teacher Mme. Michelle was the one who paved the way for me. She is the one who helped me love school, but I already had an inquiring and curious mind, she just created the spark.
Could you describe your experience with online learning so far?
Online learning was not a novelty for me, as I took some college courses in the last few years. The major difference was in the amount of material to read, it is way more than I expected. With three kids (13,12, and 10 years old), and all that a family life encompasses, it was a lot to manage, but we are getting there as a family. The schedule has to be reorganized multiple times during a semester, but it is life and we are surfing the tides and dodging the curveballs that life throws once in a while. It takes a lot of time management skills and resilience.
At any point did you waver about continuing your schooling? What caused you to continue?
Returning to school at 44 years old with three adolescents was a huge decision for me. The fact that I was looking at going back full-time meant no more work and going on student aid. That was a big decision that I had to look from my own perspective, but also from the kids’ perspectives—as we are all in this together. I almost made the choice of not going on with going back to school, but, in the end, doing so was the best decision. I realized that if I wasn’t going for my dreams that would teach my kids to give up when everything seems against you, and that would not move me forward in that beautiful human experience we are having.
Did you face any other major challenges going back to school?
There is also the fact that English is my second language (French being the first) and that was stressful for me to study in another language. I doubted myself, and still do sometimes. But I am here to learn in every way I can.
What is your favorite AU course that you have taken so far? Why was it your favorite?
My favorite course so far is one I am taking right now, PSYC 350 Adolescent Psychology. As a mother of three that are in the beginning of their adolescence right now, I thought it was a good idea to take that subject while they would be on summer holidays. I was surprised when I started the course, because the amount of knowledge I am gaining through it is phenomenal! I am even learning about my own adolescence, which was decades ago, and things I obviously didn’t figure out until now!
Would you recommend PSYC 350 to other students?
I would definitely recommend this course to whoever wants to learn more about their teenagers and also about themselves.
What famous person, past or present, would you like to have lunch with, and why?
The first two persons that I am thinking of right now are Edgar Cayce and Isaac Asimov. They have been on my mind since I was 7 or 8 years old. I was reading every book I could find that were either about their life or written by them. First, Edgar Cayce because of his work with the Akashic Records, and I still have a lot to learn and would love to talk to him about his work within the Records, how it changed his life and what he learned along the way.
Second, Isaac Asimov because one of his huge books (over 1000 pages) fell on my lap when I was a kid and I just devoured it cover to cover. He made me love science, math, physics, astronomy, and more. He opened me up to what our world is made of. I always was the one to take apart everything to know how it worked, it is the same with the universe, our planet, and also our brain. Having a conversation with him about his life would be nothing short of extraordinary.
Have you travelled? Where has life taken you so far?
Life did take me to the most beautiful country in the world: Canada. I travelled from coast-to-coast and saw how diversified and beautiful our country is. The fears and the joys are the same from one coast to the other. Most of the complaints within this country are built upon misunderstanding and fear of the unknown. It is easy to judge someone when you don’t know them, because once you get out of your own little world and explore beyond your limitations and get to know people, you discover that your neighbour that lives 5000km away is you. He has the same fears, dreams, and preoccupations. Once you increase your knowledge about what scares you, you are not so frightened anymore. I will be travelling to Europe with my choir next year and I will probably make the same discoveries!
Are you reading any (non-AU) books? What are they about?
I always have at least 3-4 books that I read at the same time. Right now, I am reading the following:
The Tao of Leadership written by John Heider. It is an adaptation of the Tao Te Ching. The knowledge of this book prepares you to become the best leader you could be: trust the process, be faithful, be aware, and inspire others.
#IMOMSOHARD written by Kristin Hensley and Jen Smedley. It is a humorous and realistic view of the mom life. How beautiful and crazy it can be at the same time. It makes us moms realize that we are not alone.
High Performance Habits written by Brendon Burchard. That book is the results of his twenty years of extensive research into how extraordinary people become who they are.
In an Unspoken Voice from Peter A. Levine, PhD. In that book Peter Levine approach trauma from a naturalistic way, helping us understand that trauma is not a disease or a disorder but the way our body reacts to an injury caused by fear, helplessness and loss. He shares his knowledge of how the body can self-regulate and overcome trauma in a natural way.