The Voice Magazine recently had a chance to chat with Sharatha (she/her), a Human Resources and Labor Relations student currently residing in Toronto, Ontario. Sharatha “just came to Canada 4 months ago in May from Singapore … to learn more about the culture and to try out the working life here in Canada.” She continued, “I also started my degree in June to keep myself busy so that I won’t feel homesick.”
Following her degree, she has plans to work in “HR, interviewing people and getting to know them and see if they are a right fit for the company.” She explained, “I love communicating with people and am very talkative. This is why I decided to pursue my degree. Hopefully after this degree I can land a job that I love.”
The Voice Magazine asked Sharatha how she best studies, and she had some great tips for students. “I think what keeps me motivated is the end goal of getting a degree. I really look forward to holding a degree in my hand and taking a mandatory graduation photo. At times, it may feel hard to study, especially since this is online. During that time, I would take a break from studying and treat myself to ice cream or dessert to keep my spirits up. Also, I would concentrate on one course till I get through one assignment and move on to my next course. This way, the information I studied will be fresh in my mind and will be easier to put those into my assignment.”
As for her advice for new students? “Go find a FB group with your course or with the university. I wish I had known this earlier when I was a new student. Through this FB, I met many wonderful people who had either taken the course or were taking the course and I could ask them for advice on how best to tackle the course. Remember, you are not alone just because it is an online university. There are actually many helplines for you to reach out to if you are ever struggling.”
When Sharatha is not studying, she keeps busy by going “on hikes and long walks,” explaining that she likes to stay active after spending so much time studying at a desk.
Her family has the greatest influence on her desire to learn. “They encouraged me to pursue my degree at 27 years old, willing to support me all the way while I pursue my degree. They gave me the confidence to actually go ahead to get my degree,” she explained.
Her experience with online learning has been positive so far. “What I like about online learning is that it allows me to set my own pace, which I cannot do at a regular university. This allows me to concentrate fully on a number of courses and ace it. However, what I dislike about it is the lack of social interaction with people. I like to be able to talk to my course mates and get their views on what they like or dislike on this course and work together to ace through the course.”
Sharatha’s most memorable course so far has been EDUC 317: Training and Development in Organizations. “It gives me a more in-depth understanding about Human Resources, and how to plan for training, what are the things to look out for etc. These are actually very valuable in the workforce and can definitely add more value to your education.”
As for communications with her course tutors? “I am lucky to have course tutors who are very helpful in guiding me through my courses. When I started off the course, I had absolutely no idea on how to work through Moodle and my course. However, my tutors were very helpful to direct the way and tell me what to look for in each course. Whenever I was stuck with an assignment, I would give them a call as well and they would tell me on what to look out for and if I was on the correct track.”
If she were the new president of AU, her first project would be “to add a ‘mentor’ for each new student or an orientation so that they will be able to better understand how to navigate through the MyAU.”
When asked which famous person, past or present, she would like to have lunch with, and why, Sharatha chose J.K. Rowling. She explained, “Being broke, depressed and a single mother, she still managed to write a book and study at the same time! That kind of perseverance is definitely hard to come by. I would want to have the same perseverance as her in life!”
On a more personal note, The Voice Magazine asked Sharatha to describe her most valuable lesson learned in life. She stated, “The most valuable lesson I learned in life is, it’s never too late to learn. I thought studying at 27 and taking a degree at this age will definitely push me back a few years, but age is just a number. Whoever is thinking of taking up a degree or wondering if you should go for it, I would advise you to go for it.” And her proudest moment? “The proudest moment in my life is to take a big leap in moving countries and settling down in Canada to pursue my degree. I don’t think I would have ever thought I would be doing this but, here I am!” Best of luck Sharatha!
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!