The Voice Magazine recently had a chance to chat with Jessica Young (she/her), a recent Human Resources and Labour Relations graduate currently residing in Calgary. Jessica stated, “In the spirit of reconciliation, I acknowledge that I live, work, and play on the traditional territories of the Blackfoot Confederacy (Siksika, Kainai, Piikani), the Tsuut’ina, the Îyâxe Nakoda Nations, the Métis Nation (Region 3), and all people who make their homes in the Treaty 7 region of Southern Alberta.”
Jessica let The Voice Magazine know, “I’m 28 years old. Mom of two amazing kids. I grew up in small town Ontario, but when I was 17, I hopped on a Greyhound bus to Calgary, Alberta and never looked back. I love this city and I love that my kids get to grow up here. I’ve also been writing for The Voice for a little over a year now.” (Check out Jessica’s work!)
The Voice Magazine also asked Jessica about her study tips, and she had some great ones for fellow students. “For me, consistency is the key to effective studying. Every night, right after I put my kids to bed, I set myself up at the kitchen table and study for 1 hour. Sometimes I get ‘in the zone’ and keep working past that hour. Every now and then I walk away from that hour feeling like I got nothing done—but I show up every night. On the flip side, I also take a night off once a week to recharge. I think that’s super important too.”
As for advice for new students? “Hold yourself accountable and don’t let things pile up. It’s so easy to brush off studying when you’re in charge of your own schedule, but I promise it’s not worth it! Don’t be fooled into thinking that because AU is online, the courses will be easy. Expect to work hard.”
When she is not studying, Jessica enjoys spending time with her children, stating, “They are such awesome little people, and they bring me so much joy. Other than that, I love to read, write, kayak, and explore my beautiful city.” She also credits her children for being the greatest influence on her desire to learn. “Everything I do is for them.”
When asked which book has had the greatest impact on her life, Jessica had “way too many to name them all!” However, she mentioned, “The first two that come to mind are A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman and All the Quiet Places by Brian Thomas Isaac. Both are the kind of books that you need to take a few days to recover from after finishing. A Man Called Ove is beautiful and heartbreaking—I laughed out loud and ugly-cried multiple times throughout the book. All The Quiet Places is raw and painful, and the ending left me absolutely shattered. I highly recommend both!”
Her experience with online learning has been positive so far. She stated,” My experience with online learning has been great, and I am so grateful that I live in a time where this exists. Getting my degree as a single mom with two kids simply would not have been possible without AU. Some people might have a hard time with the lack of social interaction involved in online learning, but not me. I’m an introvert!”
Jessica’s most memorable course has been LBST415: Sex Work and Sex Workers. “It was so different than any other course I had taken, and all sides of this highly controversial topic were presented equally. The course really allowed me to develop an informed opinion on a subject I had never given much thought to before. You get to hear perspectives of real sex workers and learn about how legislation in Canada impacts women, ‘Johns,’ and the community in general.”
As for communication with her course tutors? “All of the course tutors I’ve dealt with have been wonderful with communication. Of course, some are better than others, but I’ve never had a negative experience with a tutor. I’ve always felt supported and confident that I’ve been given the tools I need for success,” she stated.
When The Voice Magazine asked Jessica which famous person, past or present, she would like to have lunch with and why, she chose “Jennette McCurdy (you know, the actress who played Sam Puckett on iCarly/Sam and Cat).” She continued, “I never watched her shows, but I just finished her memoir, I’m Glad My Mom Died and it was so powerful. I think we would have a lot to talk about.”
As for her most valuable lesson learned in life? “Assume that other people are doing the best they can. I read that in Brene Brown’s book, Rising Strong a few years ago and it’s stuck with me ever since. I find this perspective helps me to give others grace, refrain from judging, and feel less frustrated by things I can’t change.” Best of luck Jessica!
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!