The Voice Magazine has been featuring inspirational stories of AU students from around the world so we can find solace during challenging time and push ourselves to achieve our dreams together. Help build the AU community, write to firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re willing to be featured in our Minds We Meet column.
This week we were lucky to get in touch with Jessie Goodwin, who was born in Calgary, Alberta, but moved to Ontario with her parents during the early years. Currently, she resides in her childhood home in Ontario (nearest big town would be Collingwood) with her partner and three kids.
Jessie completed her education in marketing two decades ago and started her own business in the field, but, as her family grew, she came to realize that her interests laid somewhere else.
“I found that as time went on, I didn’t like what I was doing anymore. It was very time consuming especially with the internet and how businesses were changing online marketing and social media. It became time consuming, and I didn’t have time for my family, and I also didn’t see it progressing my career the way I wanted, and I just wasn’t satisfied, so I started looking at school options. It took me about 2 -3 years to decide on a school and what I wanted to do and, when I finally did, I still waited a year before I could enroll just to make sure I wasn’t going to have second thoughts.”
However, Jessie was faced with another challenge just as she started her first semester—COVID-19 lockdown.
“I enrolled right before COVID-19 struck so I was in my first term and my kids were sent home from school; it was a very challenging scramble. I haven’t been to school in over 20 years, and I found adapting and adjusting to learning again a huge challenge, and then I had to start home schooling because my kids had to do everything online and we had one family computer; my kids did not enjoy the interaction online, and after talking to a teacher we opted to do more learning with me to relieve some of their stress, and then I just printed all their work and submitted it. So, my essay writing happened at 2am, which was not so bad if I had enough sleep. Some days I did, and some days I didn’t”
Currently, Jessie is pursuing her Bachelor of Psychology with hopes of getting an internship to gain experience and continue to learn. As for her future plans she mentioned “I would like to get my masters; not exactly sure which direction; so, I’m going to keep learning as much as I can to see what I’m good at and which area would keep my interest”
Jessie has done jobs in multiple fields from construction to waitressing to sales associate but her interest in psychology developed when she lost loved ones due to mental health issues and the stigma that surrounds mental health. “The whole ‘let’s not talk about, it is not there’, problem always bothered me… so I thought that I really wanted to investigate, and, also, part of my family are indigenous so it was interesting for me to see the difference between how non-indigenous people address mental health issues and how the indigenous peoples were going to address mental health issues, and how people were going to adapt our programs to actually suit their nations because there is a difference. So that was the interest for me and I decided that I want to learn as much as I can.”
When asked about her source of inspiration and motivation, she said, “My kids motivated me to move on. I thought I was always scared to go to school; when I was younger, my parents did not have a lot of money, and money was always an issue since they would get a job that wouldn’t pay well or go to school for a job that you can’t find employment in, so I had a lot of negative views on what the risks were. So it was really scary for me, but when I looked at my kids I thought to myself that this is not good, I needed them to understand to work hard and to keep putting in the effort to get good results”
“The most inspiring person I ever worked for was a real estate agent. I was his secretary/assistant, and he was self-educated on so many things. He had an amazing library at home, and there were thousands of books in his home. What he did for me was that he taught me how to think differently about things; that everything a was a challenge and that one should find ways overcome the challenge—and he opened me up to some different motivational and self-help books that I never would have read without him”
Jessie loves to write stories on Wattpad and read books during her free time “I love to write but I’m terrible at grammar.” She is currently reading “The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson in which author is talking to everyone about psychopaths, but it’s not quite that simple. He makes it ‘a journey through madness industry.’ I haven’t gotten too far into it yet, but he explains to people that you could literally be walking beside someone and not know that they are a psychopath; you might have met someone today and he might be psychopath; its kind of scary. The human mind is just fascinating. We think we know so much about the people beside us when in reality we don’t know anything.”
Her favourite courses so far have been criminology, forensic psychology and Western Civilization History while English, History and Biology courses were challenging. “The psychology courses are great; some of the courses I take alternately to support them have been hard”
As for her experience with online learning, Jessie mentions “I have a lot of social anxiety so online learning was great because I didn’t have to be in large crowds of people. I get really anxious if I’m surrounded by people and being a mature student, I didn’t know how comfortable I would be say surrounded by kids’ fresh out of high school I didn’t want to be a mom on campus; but, after joining Athabasca, and AU online community I have learnt how diverse it is; I was really stunned
The challenge is not feeling connected to my tutors properly, I really like the face-to-face conversation with people and learning from watching other people do stuff. I really like to be able to watch and learn and then do things myself. I like the classroom-teacher interaction and environment.”
She would love to have lunch with Jane Goodall since “she grew up at a time when women were not exactly seen as equals especially in academic field and I would like to understand what inspired her not to give up. She just kept going and made such a name for herself, such a difference in everything she chose to do and I would like to know what kept her motivated, how did she keep going”
If Jessie would be chosen the president of AU, she would try to bridge the communication and connectivity gap especially among the indigenous and international students. “I do notice that there seems to be still a bit of a gap between the understanding of indigenous students’ and other international students; they don’t seem to be connecting.”
As for her pet peeve? “People complaining about things that they are not going to do anything about. I understand that we need to vent; that’s fine, vent, but once you’re done venting don’t keep complaining about it unless you’re going to do something about it, because its not productive—you’re making yourself feel crappy and you’re making the other people feel crappy. Vent when you’re frustrated, express your emotions to your desire, but then let it go or do something.”
The most valuable lesson that she learnt in life is “No matter how scared you are you have to try. If you don’t try, you’ll definitely end up doing nothing”
She confidently said “I think I will. I’m gonna give it my all because my kids are watching me, they watch me do my homework they watch me prepare for exams and I need them to know that if you put in the hard work, you will get the reward; you might not be the Einstein person but you’ll definitely get the results that are positive.”
Her closing remarks really touched my heart and I’m sure everyone will feel the same way.
“We take so much for granted in our everyday life and its so easy to do that especially in our down days; we all have them; and its so easy to forget how lucky we are to live in Canada and have all these opportunities.”
The Voice Magazine team thanks Jessie Goodwin for sharing her life story and wish her the best of luck in all aspects of life.
Stay safe, stay strong and remember “we’re all in this together, we’ve got this!”