Minds We Meet—Lesley Mutschke

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 Lesley Mutschke (she/her), currently residing in St.  Alberta, Alberta, the traditional Treaty 6 territory of the Nehiyaw (Cree), Denesuliné (Dene), Nakota Sioux, Anishinabae (Saulteaux), Niitsitapi (Blackfoot), and Métis Peoples.

Lesley is currently in her final course of the Human Resources and Labour Relations (HRLR) Certificate, which has taken her “many years to complete.”  She stated, “I had a goal of completing Education, as not having further education was impacting my career choices.  I am very happy in my current job but know I will be able to use a lot of what I learned in my HRLR certificate even if it is not an HR related role.”

She continued,I am a 42-year-old wife of almost 20 years to my husband Garth, and a dog mom to two half-brother schnoodles, Eddie (two-years old) and Buddy (three-years old).  I was born and raised in St. Albert, Alberta where my family and I still live.  I am currently a Bustiness Development Manager for a Health and Safety sales company.”

When she is not studying, Lesley enjoys dancing, explaining, “I did adult hip hop for a while until injuries got in my way.”  She continued, “I also enjoy being with family, going camping, and I love playing cards.”  She also finds some time to read.  “I am reading a few books by Emily Giffin, she writes with a sense of humour that allows me to escape.”  She also finds time to relax with some television shows.  “I was binging Emily in Paris, Yellowstone, and Outer Banks, but they’re all done, so, nothing right now, hahaha.”

And who had the greatest influence on her desire to learn?  She stated, “No one person influenced my desire to learn, but rather my lack of career choices because I didn’t have further education.  I was never a school person; in fact, it’s a miracle I graduated.  Which is why I struggled with continuing my education.  That said, I am glad I did as it feels like a huge accomplishment.”

Lesley believes that online learning “has been a very big challenge.”  She explained, “I am a visual and auditory learner and have struggled with comprehension my entire life.  Going back to school as an adult, and to an environment where I have to teach myself, has been hard.  I like that I can fit school within my life versus having to rush to get to a class and that I can learn at my own pace.  That said, I miss the in-class learning.  As an example, I find it very hard to do the practice questions that are always recommended in every course, because there are never any answer keys to ensure my answers are accurate.  I also excel when I learn from other perspectives … which you don’t get in an online learning environment.”

Like many students, Lesley did waver about continuing her schooling.  She explained, “Throughout the entire journey I contemplated quitting.  I struggle with school, but I desperately wanted to accomplish this and get that piece of paper.  It may not be a diploma or degree, but I will be very proud when I get my certificate after this final course.”

When asked about her most memorable course, she chose ENGL 255: Introductory Composition, explaining, “When first started this course, I almost quit.  My first tutor was lovely, but not meeting my needs, as we are all individuals.  I almost dropped out of school right at the start of my journey due to this course, but I called an advisor who switched my tutor and in one day it all turned around.  All of a sudden I was receiving support that met my personal needs, a tutor I could tell cared about my journey and making sure I made it through, and it all changed.”

As for communications with her course tutors?  “Every single tutor is different.  Most have been ok and open to chats.  Some not as much.  But we are all different and as such communicate different.”

If she were the new president of AU, her first project would be to “find a way to enhance online learning with pre-recorded class lesson videos, answer keys to ensure students are on the right track with their practice questions, and other ways to meet the needs of all learners.”  She continued, “Some learners need instructional videos, others don’t, some need class interaction, others don’t.  I would find a way to put a bit of everything in the courses, so all learners get what they need.”

Lesley’s pet peeve is “when grades take the full seven days or longer.”  She explained, “I tend to wait for my mark and feedback before starting a new assignment.”

When asked which famous person, past or present, she would like to have lunch with, and why, Lesley chose Betty White.  She stated, “She was an icon in so many ways.  She remained at the top of her game in to her 90’s, and I believe would be full of wisdom to share with me if she were still here.”  And that lunch would be at Lesley’s “house where we aren’t distracted by anything other than my cute dogs.”

The most valuable lesson that she has learned in life is to “get your education early on,” explaining that “it will do so much more for you than just assist with a career path.”  She “regret[s] not going earlier in life.”

And her proudest moment in life?  “It hasn’t come yet–it will be the day I finish this certificate.  For ones that already happened, the day I got married and the day we got our first house.”

And the one thing that distinguishes her from most other people?  “I would say my sense of humour.  Few people know that I suffer from anxiety, and when people tease me because I stress too much, they don’t realize that has a deeper impact on me.”

As a final note, Lesley added, “I am very appreciative to the staff and students at AU.  From the advisors, the tutors, all staff have been incredible.  I am also so thankful to have the AU app where I can connect with other students and share feedback and support one another.  It has been a life saver on many occasions.”  Best of luck Lesley!

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