Minds We Meet—Anne-Marie Collins

The Voice Magazine recently had the chance to chat with Anne-Marie Collins (she/her) living in Bonnyville, Alberta, “situated on Treaty 6 land that is steeped in rich Indigenous history and is the traditional homeland and home to First Nations and Métis people today,” and is enrolled in the Post-Diploma Bachelor of Commerce: Human Resource Management.  Once she completes this degree, her “goal is to then work towards becoming Chartered in Human Resources with [Chartered Professionals in Human Resources] CPHR Alberta.”

She continued, “The plan is to stay in Human Resources, though, ultimately, I hope this education helps me work towards my goal of becoming a Chief Executive Officer or Executive Director one day.  I picked this path because I want to make a positive difference/change in the workplace one day.”

On a more personal note, Anne-Marie was “born and raised north of Fort Kent, AB, a small hamlet and surrounding area located within the Municipal District of Bonnyville No.  87.”  She now resides in Bonnyville, AB where she works full time as a Human Resources Assistant/Payroll Clerk for a not-for-profit organization called Dove Centre.

When she is not studying, Anne-Marie keeps busy.  “When I am not hiding behind a screen writing yet another paper, you can find me hanging with my cats, at the local spin studio, hanging at my parent’s farm, and spending time with friends and travelling to Southern Alberta to visit my sister and travel around learning about the history of our province.  (I’m a history buff and truly believe our province has so much history and culture to be shared to across generations),” she stated.

She also enjoys reading, and “as a lover of history…read[s] many historical fiction novels;” she is “currently reading The Alice Network by Kate Quinn.”  Although she does not watch much television, she is “currently finishing up Arrow and …  recently started watching The Queen’s Gambit.”

When asked who in her life has had the greatest influence on her desire to learn, Anne-Marie admitted that this was “a tough question,” explaining “I can’t dial it down to one specific person, but I can say that I am forever grateful to my parents who continue to push me and support me to complete my education.”  She also mentioned one manager during her time as a summer student “who gave [her] some wise words of advice that said, ‘[T]he day you can come to work and enjoy what you’re doing, is the day you have retired.’”  She continued, “I know it sounds crazy, it’s been about 10 years since I was told that and I believe it’s my drive to continue to learn and find my passion.”

Anne-Marie is a “firm believer in online learning.”  She explained, “I have been studying online since 2015, and I do believe it is the future of our education.  Although at times I feel like I miss out on the ‘university’ experience, online learning has allowed me to explore many new experiences, as well as continue … working.”

Despite this enthusiasm, like many students, Anne-Marie has wavered about continuing her schooling.  She stated that it occurred when she “began the post diploma route of this degree at the beginning of 2021.”  She continued, “I was in two courses.  Between the two courses, I had seven papers to write, and although I was very motivated to do this degree, I knew this was the end for me and I was very much ready to give up.  Every time I feel ready to give up, I remind myself that I am so close to the end!”

As for communication with her course tutors?  “If we’re being honest here, I don’t normally use the tutors.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they wondered who I was because I don’t contact anyone.  Though the communications I have had have been great.  Some courses I have done have had tutors who were lawyers and because of what I am studying I felt very connected to them and confident that I would do well in the courses I was taking given their professional background.”

If she were the new president of AU, she “probably would focus on making post-secondary learning accessible and affordable for all people.”

Her proudest moment in life has been when she “decided to do a spur of the moment 10km run in the mountains.”  She explained, “I had four months to prepare and build my running skills (I never did any form of running before this), and when I did the run I wanted to give up and was completely regretting the fact I did it.  When I reached the final km I was so proud of the fact that I did something I didn’t think I could do.”

As a final note, Anne-Marie added, “Overall I am grateful that I have been able to complete my career with Athabasca U through online learning.  It has shown me what my strong suits are in learning.  Although I am learning online, I feel I have had a great student experience with Athabasca, the tutors have been very insightful and helpful in the courses I have taken and I look forward to being able to finish the primary focus of my education with Athabasca!  Also never forget that you are never too old to learn!”  Best of luck Anne-Marie!

It can feel like you are all alone in your studies, but across the nation, around the globe, students like you are also pursuing their AU education, and The Voice Magazine wants to bring their stories to you.  If you would like to be featured next, do not hesitate to get in touch!

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