Who are your fellow students? It can feel like you are all alone in your studies, but across the nation, around the globe, students like you are also pursuing their AU education, and The Voice Magazine wants to bring their stories to you. If you would like to be featured next, do not hesitate to get in touch!
The Voice Magazine recently had the chance to chat with AU student and the Beats from the Basement column writer Milica-Mila Marković from Toronto, Ontario, located on the traditional lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnaabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat peoples.
Milica is currently enrolled in the Master of Arts – Interdisciplinary Studies (MA-IS) hoping “to gain admission into the focus area, Writing and New Media.” She stated, “I want to expand my practice by adapting the skills I’ve acquired, not just to my services, but to fictional works as well. I’d like to be able to dedicate time to creative projects and become a published novelist, [and] video essayist … though I think it would also be interesting to experiment with scriptwriting for other forms of media like video games or drama.”
Milica works “as a communications consultant – writing, editing, and advising clients on their outreach strategies.” She stated, “I’m also a represented talent for print, commercial, and voiceover work. I am of Montenegrin descent (although I was born when Yugoslavia still existed), but live in Toronto, Ontario.”
When she is not studying, she enjoys “exploring new places and spending time outdoors when possible – especially with family and/or friends.” She continued, “I like to go for a jog or swim, do some Pilates-infused yoga, and try out different food recipes.”
Milica found it difficult to choose the one individual who has had the greatest influence on her desire to learn. She stated, “Truthfully, it’s hard for me to pin-point just one individual because in meeting so many people through school, work, and other activities over the years I’ve come to realize that learning doesn’t ever stop, whether you’re trying to improve as a professional, as a person, or even ignite the passion you once had for something. For example, I’d love to re-learn my musical instruments – violin and clarinet (my friend also gave me an ocarina for my birthday, Zelda fans out there will know what I’m talking about, and my mother would like me to learn the gusle grandma gave her on her wedding day – so there’s also that LOL) – and take French and Spanish lessons again. Being bilingual my whole life has made me appreciate the different ways of thinking and expression languages offer you and I’m determined to become a polyglot someday. But of course, everything in its own time.”
Online learning has appealed to Milica thus far, as she explained, “There really isn’t a whole lot I dislike about it. Having the flexibility to log in for those participation points and work on assignments when I can isn’t something I can complain about. If I had to say one thing though, it’s that there can – and this is ironic coming from me – be a little too much writing. I feel some components should either be reduced or cut completely to allow for more audio and visual opportunities.”
Despite the positives, she admitted that she momentarily wavered about continuing her studies this past summer. “I’ll be honest, it was mostly because I wanted to spend more time outside and enjoy what I could considering the pandemic. Even taking my work outdoors made me anxious at times. But I remembered that I’ll be done before I know it and that I’ll get through it if I budget my time well.”
Her most memorable course so far has been MAIS 620: Digital Storytelling, stating, “[I]t allowed me to try my hand at other techniques I normally don’t use, such as podcasting and storyboarding. It’s the only course I’ve taken so far in which I got to use mixed media and wasn’t just about writing.”
As for communication with her tutors, Milica stated, “Almost all of them have not only been incredibly responsive, but also detailed in their explanations anytime I was having trouble or was unclear about something. I don’t blame professors though for maybe not always having the chance to process my emails; they’re busy people, too, and they do allow for more leeway in how you present your work so you get to focus on being more creative and resourceful.”
Milica loves to read, “so much so that when I take a day’s break I feel that urge to just pick up another book!” She explained, “I’m finally going through Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale as a casual reader; I never got it assigned to me in all my years of schooling, even though plenty of my peers have.” And TV shows? “I’m not much for TV shows, but I will say I’m excited to see the Japanese anime adaptation of Shenmue whenever it gets released. I got hooked on those games in the last few months and it’ll be interesting to see how they’ll get translated into a teleplay due to their interactive, open-world nature.”
When asked what her first project would be as the new president of AU, Milica laughed that she was “not trying to take anyone’s job!” However, she continued, “[I]n all seriousness, I’m of the belief that you should be the change you want to see, so there’s a strength in communicating with others, president or otherwise, to try and launch an initiative that means a lot to you and perhaps others in your community. I could talk about things I’d want to accomplish all day long, but I’d rather just do it and rally up anyone who supports the cause, you know?”
Despite her positive attitude, Milica does have some pet peeves. She stated, “If I were to list them all I’d most likely take up next week’s issue in addition to this one, so I’ll stick to one that’s been bugging me recently: when people loudly slurp their soup. More power to anyone who doesn’t mind it – and apparently, it’s actually supposed to improve the flavour…? – but it just ain’t my cup of tea, so to speak.”
The one thing that distinguishes Milica from other people is that she has never used Adobe Photoshop. “And I don’t know if I ever will, I’ve just never been in a situation where it was necessary, nor did it ever cross my mind even as a fun pastime like it seems to be for a lot of people (memes, anyone?). It’s nevertheless not a topic I bring up much – though it’s maybe an interesting one in an age where many of us have encountered Photoshop at some point!”
When asked which famous person, past or present, she would like to have lunch with, and why, Milica stated, “For me, it’s about picking the brains of people who inspire me or are simply interesting to me. I don’t get star struck – at least, not easily – but of course, I’d be delighted to dine with a writer or creative person in general. Xenia Tchoumi is a digital entrepreneur who recently penned a book about self-empowerment…so I’ll pick her. On the one hand, we are social beings that should be able to rely on others, but at the same time we should learn to trust ourselves more when looking to fulfill personal goals, so I’d want to get her thoughts on that.” That lunch would be entirely up to Xenia, who is “quite the foodie.” Milica stated, “I’m willing to try anything new!”.
The most valuable lesson that she has learned in life has been, “That you can’t please everyone and allow yourself to be too passive, to the point that it leaves you resentful and with less solid relationships. Not everyone is going to agree with you or really even ‘get’ you. This doesn’t automatically make you a bad person, nor is it necessarily anything personal. It’s how you handle yourself that matters most.”
And her proudest moment? “When I decided that I was going to do what I think is right for me and not because it would make others proud. Obviously, we all want to be respected and cared for, but when it comes to your passion, if you don’t believe in it, can you honestly expect others to?”. Best of luck Milica!