Minds We Meet—Sean Chapman

Interviewing Students Like You!

The Voice Magazine recently had the chance to chat with Sean Chapman living in Maple Creek, Saskatchewan, which Sean acknowledged is “Treaty 4 territory (Cree, Salteaux, Assiniboine, Métis) and where Nekaneet First Nation is located.”  Sean is currently enrolled in the University Certificate in Human Resources and Labour Relations. 

Sean has lived in Maple Creek for the past 24 years.  The student stated, “My career in financial services has spanned 22 years, and currently I am a Vice-President with a Big 5 bank in Canada.  My wife and I have two older children (son who has graduated from university and a daughter who is working on her ​second university degree in the fall).”

As for Sean’s future plans?  “No real plans for the education other than I wanted to take classes that were interesting and fit with what I do as a career.  ​ Basically, I wanted to challenge myself to work through some university classes since I did not attend university when I was just out of high school—prove I could do it.”

When not studying, Sean enjoys being active “running, working out, playing golf/hockey.” The student also stated, “My wife and I like to travel when we get the chance (somewhere warm usually).  I’ve always enjoyed coaching sports.  At harvest time I help friends combine their crops and that is always a nice get-a-way from the office.”  Sean also “just finished reading Sell from Love by Finka Jerkovic and [is] almost done reading No B.S. Leadership by Martin Moore,” explaining, “Both business/leadership/sales subjects as I really enjoy reading those types ​of books.”  During free time, Sean also binge watches Better Call Saul.

Sean’s wife has had a great influence on the desire to learn.  “If it wasn’t for her support and encouragement, it would make it tougher to carry on a hectic career and continue to work on my studies.  That, and she puts up with my grumpiness around final exam time.”

The online learning experience “has been good so far.”  Sean explained, “Online is the only way I would have been able to balance the career and school.  Sometimes the e-texts aren’t the greatest, or the PDF’s, but you manage through it.”  However, like many students, Sean has wavered about continuing the educational journey.  “​Honestly, I waver just about every class, especially while carrying on this ​challenging career.  What gets me through is that I know I started this journey, and I am bound to finish it.  No quitting.”

As for the most memorable AU course?  ADMIN 232: Introduction to Management and IDRL 215: Introduction to Labour Relations “were probably the most interesting so far.”  Sean elaborated, “Admin was something I could draw on with my career, and I liked working with Mr. Johnston.  IDRL was just interesting because of the topic, and I had not really been around that type of dynamic in my career.”  In addition, ECON 248: Macroeconomics “created ‘memories’ due to the challenging nature of trying to follow the course.”

If appointed new president of AU, Sean had a few ideas.  “Everyone says ‘lower tuition,’ which is a fair point, but I think what the students need to see is some value for the money being spent.  Valuable student-tutor experience, seamless course outlines, and consistent service levels on returning markings/communication.  Of course, that is all individual perception.”

He continued, “Outside of that I would probably take the course feedback more seriously and look at overhauling some of those courses that don’t really get great feedback.  At the end of the ​day, you want your students to thrive and be successful as it only would reflect better on the institution itself.”  In addition, “[i]t would be interesting to make two-year programs ‘Associate Degrees’ (which is probably a more American term).  I’m not sure if any Canadian University/College calls them anything but diplomas.  An ‘Associate Degree’ from Athabasca University has a pretty bold ring to it.”

Sean’s most valuable lesson learned in life has been work ethic.  “Just that you have to put in the work to get benefit in anything you do.  I worked hard, worked smart, and was very patient in order to get to the career I have now.  That goes for school, for sports, or anything.  Work ethic, loyalty, and perseverance is what has put me in the position I am in,” the student explained.

And a proudest moment in life?  “​Well, my wife and I are very​ proud to have watched our two kids grow up and become university graduates, all while balancing being student-athletes—but honestly how they’ve just developed into such good people really makes us feel like we did pretty well as parents.”

And the one thing that distinguishes Sean from other people?  “​Believe it or not, I was not always in banking and finance.  There was a time when I toiled as a garbage collector (garbage man) in my early 20’s.  Believe me, that is no slight to that type of work.  It taught me to be on time, to be respectful of our citizens’ properties, and to always know that you are still in the public eye and need to conduct yourself appropriately.  It was also the most stress-free job I ever had.”

As a final note, Sean mentioned, “I’m just impressed with those folks in the student body that are really grinding it out trying to balance parenting, full-time work, and school.  Or those that are working on tight budgets to try and complete their degrees and whatnot.  They want to get themselves in positions to advance in their current careers or propel themselves into new careers.  That’s the work ethic I’m talking about and is to be​commended.”  Best of luck Sean!

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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