Minds We Meet—Hanna Jilek

Interviewing Students Like You!

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 Hanna Jilek (she/her), currently residing in Cowichan Valley, British Columbia, the traditional territory of the Quw’utsun’ (Cowichan) Peoples.

Hanna is currently enrolled in PSYC 289: Psychology as a Natural Science, and is planning to complete a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree.  She explained, “I will be incorporating my studies with Yoga Therapy along with somatic training.  After I receive my Master’s, I will be joining the MAPS program in Oregon to further my education for therapies that work alongside psychedelics.”

She lives “on Vancouver Island in Cowichan Valley,” located on “a small permaculture farm that is cultivating health and wellness through sustainable practices.”  She continued, “I am a yoga therapist that holds space on our farm for small classes and 1-on-1 therapies.  I moved from Alberta in April 2020 and relocated to Vernon to live with my parents (at 30).  Shortly after moving to Vernon, I started to explore the island, fell in love, and decided to move again in October 2020 and the rest is history!”

When she is not studying, she likes to do anything active, including hiking, running, surfing, rock climbing, and yoga.  She also finds time to read (she is currently reading Creative Manifestation for Beginners by Richard Webster) and binge-watch Ted Talks.

When asked who in her life has had the greatest influence on her desire to learn, she stated, “That is a tough question, my influences come from a wide array of human beings.  Podcast[s], books, [and] mentors.  There isn’t one that stands out.  They all contributed collectively.”

As for her experience with online learning?  She began with the positives; “I really enjoy online learning.  I work at my pace.  I feel like being self-directed is important at this stage in my life.  I will get out what I put into my studies.”  And dislikes?  “The lapse of time between finishing an exam and waiting of feedback from professors.  Honestly?  Pretty happy with how things are going so far!”

Despite her praise for online learning, like many students, Hanna did waver about continuing her schooling at one point.  She admitted that it was the cost of education, which “can be very discouraging.”  She explained, “I pay for my education course by course, so being patient with my education and coming out debt free is a goal of mine.  I was a 50%-just-passing-high-school student, never applied myself and had zero interest in what was taught (except gym) haha.”  However, what she truly needed was to know that she is “capable of more and choosing to prove it to [herself].”

When asked about her favourite course so far, Hanna chose her current one, PSYC 289: Psychology as a Natural Science.  She explained, “The meditation and consciousness sections of psych 289 are, so far, my favourite.  It goes along with my passions outside of school and shows me the scientific approach to these interests—another perspective!”  As for communications with her course tutors, Hanna stated, “Michelle is great, she took time to call me and chat about concerns I have.”

If she were the new president of AU, Hanna would focus on “Online webinars that discuss a variety of ‘Hot Topics’ and “Student engagement and community building.”

When asked which famous person, past or present, she would you like to have lunch with, and why, Hanna chose Joan of Arc, calling her inspiring.  And the lunch?  “Probably some kinda meat on a stick.”

As for Hanna’s most valuable lesson that she has learned in life?  Admitting that this was a tough question, since she has many to choose from, she stated, “As of now, being authentic in everything I say and do, allows me to be myself, but encourages those around me to feel safe enough to be themselves to[o]!”

The one thing that distinguishes her from other people is that she “really enjoy[s] reading subtitles” since they help her “process and comprehend what [she is] hearing/listening.”

As a final note, Hanna had a message for fellow students.  She stated, “I am an open book, I enjoy sharing experiences and deep rooted connections with people.  I do not enjoy small talk.  I would love to connect with fellow students on social media via Instagram @bendibanana.”  Best of luck Hanna!