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 Cailin Rehill (she/her) a 36-year old, Bachelor of Commerce student, majoring in Human Resource Management, currently residing in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Cailin “grew up in East St. Paul, MB, which is just north of Winnipeg.” She continued, “I work for my parent’s company in the areas of business management and human resource management. I am third generation in our business, and I work closely with my family every day. Two years ago, I decided that I wanted to focus my career completely in human resource management, so I started taking classes at my local community college, Red River College Polytechnic, working toward their Certificate in Human Resource Management. (I had previously completed certificates in Business Administration as well as a certificate in Management through RRC). About halfway through my HRM program, I decided that I wanted to go farther with my education, and I began researching schools that offer Bachelor programs online, which is how I came across Athabasca University. After extensive research and speaking to other AU students, I decided AU was the right choice for me. I continued working toward my certificate with RRC because all the classes could be transferred, and I started planning my classes with AU. I completed my HRM certificate with honours in February of this year and have continued taking more classes that could be transferable to the AU Bachelor of Commerce program, while at the same time taking classes with Athabasca University, which hasn’t been easy, but AU’s flexibility has made it possible.”
Cailin also has plans post-graduation, explaining “I am really interested in moving my career completely into the field of Human Resources, and although I have a certificate in HRM I feel like the BCom is far more versatile for the career I want to build and goes well with my previous education and real-world experiences.”
When she is not busy working or studying, Cailin “really enjoy[s] sailing, biking, snowshoeing, boating, sewing, and spending time at the family cabin.”
As for her experience with online learning? “My first experience with online learning was with my community college last year and I was at first nervous on how I would handle it, but it turns out I thrive in the online learning environment. This was instrumental in making me feel confident in taking on my BCom with AU. My experience with AU so far has been very positive. The faculty of business called me to welcome me to the program and to make sure I was feeling settled in and taken care of, that really made me feel like AU was a real community and the school was there to help me. I have also had a really good experience with my tutors, they have been really helpful.”
However, like many students, she has had moments where she wavered about continuing her schooling. “I have had moments where I maybe feel overwhelmed or tired and I question if I have made the right choice in tackling such a large goal. In those moments, I remember why I am doing this, and why I know what I am doing is the right choice. I also have incredible people in my life that always listen and then cheer me on to keep going and keep pushing for my goal,” she stated.
Although Cailin is “not sure [she has] a memorable course with AU yet as [she is] a fairly new transfer student and have only taken a few courses so far,” she does “remember being nervous before [her] first class with AU started and then after the first day of working through the course, realizing that [she] could in fact handle this and [she] was going to be ok.”
As for communications with tutors? “I have found my tutors to be helpful, easy to contact, and prompt in returning emails and course work which has been really great.”
When asked which famous person past or present she would like to have lunch with and why, Cailin had several choices. She stated, “I love history and could rattle off a handful of people I would love to sit with, but I think the two people that first came to mind where Stephen Hawking and Neil deGrasse Tyson. Which is a little funny because I am not into science at all, but I think both men would be (would have been) incredibly interesting to talk to.” And the lunch? “Lunch would be something simple. Maybe cheddar broccoli soup, with salad and sandwiches.”
As for the greatest lesson she has learned in life? “I have truly learned so many great lessons from so many incredible people, ‘Life is too short for conflict’ would be one. Another would be less a saying and more just a notion that if you want something, then go for it, this lesson was nearly 36 years in the making. I have always regretted not getting a degree out of high school, and it took me nearly 2 decades to finally act on that and make the leap, but here I am! It’s never too late.”
And her proudest moment? “I’m not sure what my proudest moment has been thus far, but I do know the proudest moment will be in 2.5-3 years when I can say I have completed my Bachelor of Commerce and I will be the first in my immediate family to have reached that goal.”
As a final thought, Cailin mentioned that her “drive and determination sets [her] apart.” She explained, “It’s certainly not a unique trait though, I’m sure many online adult learners could claim the same, it’s what we need to have to keep us going.” Best of luck Cailin!