Who are your fellow students? At times, in an online learning environment, it can feel like you are all alone, but across the nation and around the globe, students just like you are also pursuing their Athabasca University (AU) studies! Each week, The Voice Magazine will be bringing you some of these stories. If you would like to be featured next, do not hesitate to get in touch!
The Voice Magazine recently had a chance to chat with Gurine Lauen (she/her), currently residing in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, the traditional Treaty 6 territory of the Nehiyaw (Cree), Denesuliné (Dene), Nakota Sioux, Anishinabae (Saulteaux), Niitsitapi (Blackfoot), and the Homeland of the Métis Peoples.
Gurine is currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts program, with a major in Sociology and a minor in Psychology. She continued, “Once I finish, I would love to work in the federal parole system—eventually as a parole officer! My minor in Psychology will help me understand each of my clients on a one-to-one basis (biological), and my major in Sociology will help me understand my clients on a larger scale (environmental).”
On a personal note, Gurine is “a very sleepy 23-year-old from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.” She stated, “I have lived in a few towns in my life, but mainly grew up in Saskatoon. I lived in Edmonton for a few months while I was getting my addictions counseling diploma but moved back home shortly after!”
When she is not studying, she is works as an “addictions case manager at a men’s sober living home,” where she mainly works “one on one with multiple clients, mostly men out on parole or on statutory release.” When she is not working, she likes “listening to music and watching basketball.” She also finds time to read non-AU related material, including anything by author Brené Brown, which she describes as “10/10.” She is also “rewatching Gilmore Girls right now, but … always [goes] back to the Power series.”
When asked who in her life has had the greatest influence on her desire to learn, Gurine chose her mother. She explained, “My mom went to university when I was younger. I remember staying up late with my mom while shed study for her sociology classes. Her dream was to work at Sask. Pen. and that dream got passed down to me! My mom always reminded me that I could do and be anything I want to be. My mom always inspires me.”
She “absolutely love[s] online learning.” She stated, “Learning online makes things a lot more flexible for me. I can manage school full-time, working my full-time job, and have time for myself and my family. I dislike not being able to see my classmates face to face and meeting them!”
Since she is a new student, she does not have a favourite course yet, and although not much communication has been had with her course tutors, she thinks “they are amazing!”
If she were the new president of AU, her first project would be increased “online events so it’s easier for students to meet other students.”
As for Gurine’s pet peeve? “People who complain about situations but won’t do anything to change their situation.”
When asked which famous person, past or present, she would like to have lunch with, and why, Gurine chose “Juice Wrld … a rapper who always had a story; he inspired and motivated so many people who struggled with depression and anxiety, as well as addictions. Him and his songs got me through some of my toughest moments and continue to do so every day.” And the lunch? “Pizza!”
The most valuable lesson that she has learned in life is one that will resound with some learners. “If you put negativity into the world, the world will bring negativity to you. However, if you put positivity into the world, the world will bring positivity to you. It won’t happen overnight, but the more you are aware and conscious, you will notice more positivity in your own life.”
As for the proudest moment in her life? Gurine opened up about past struggles. “I struggled deeply with substance use in my life. I am now almost three years sober, and if I wouldn’t have gotten sober when I did, I would not be alive right now. When I decided to get sober, I made some goals. Some easy simple goals included finding stable housing, go see my family doctor … and so on. My bigger goals were to go to school and graduate as an addictions counsellor and work a job as an addictions counsellor. [In] April 2021, I graduated with my addictions counseling diploma, and [in] September 2021, I got my full-time position I work now. Everything I’ve been able to accomplish since being sober has been my proudest moment and I could not pick one … having amazing clients who come to me and have opened up to me in every way, makes my life worth living.”
The one thing that distinguishes her from other people is that she is “such an inspired and motivated young adult.” She explained, “I know what I want in life, and nothing is going to ever stop me from making my dreams come true.”
As a final note, Gurine mentioned, “Everything at Athabasca University seems amazing and I am so excited to continue my studies here!” Best of luck Gurine!