Minds We Meet—Ana Sabo

Interviewing Students Like You!

The Voice Magazine recently had a chance to chat with Ana Sabo (she/her), a Bachelor of Arts – Psychology student from Croatia (where she completed a Master of Arts in teaching English and Croatian languages), who is currently residing in Edmonton, Alberta.  She acknowledged, “I am grateful to reside and work in Treaty 6 territory, a traditional meeting ground, gathering place, and travelling route of the nêhiyaw (Cree), Dené, Anishinaabe (Saulteaux), Nakota Isga (Nakota Sioux), Niitsitapi (Blackfoot) peoples, and the home of Métis Nation of Alberta Region 4.  As an individual, I am committed to learning more about the cultures and history of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit who call this territory home and to supporting Indigenous initiatives and rights.”

Ana continued, “Over the past 5 years in Canada, I have been pursuing a career in career development.  Since completing a certificate program in Career Coaching and Academic Advising from the University of Calgary, I’ve been working as a Career Coach, assisting individuals in their quest for fulfilling careers.  My professional path has been diverse, encompassing various roles focused on helping others and engaging in writing endeavors.  In my free time, I love listening to music, exploring the world of painting, reading books, and, naturally, spending quality moments with my little pug.”

As for her future plans, Ana let The Voice Magazine know, “I’ve spent the majority of my career in helping roles, and now I’ve decided to take it a step further with the hope of becoming a licensed psychologist someday.  There is a long journey ahead of me, but I’m excited to see where it leads.”

This experienced student shared some great study tips.  “My study environment really depends on my mood and the task at hand.  Fortunately, I have a separate office in my home, which I find key for focused work.  I prefer to be in a quiet space when I’m studying because I’m easily distracted.  Unlike some folks who can study with music, I’m not one of them.  Music is a passion that can easily take precedence over studying for me.”

She continued, “In terms of learning style, I’m a visual learner.  I tend to highlight and make extensive notes in my textbooks.  It’s a bit of a struggle because, on the other hand, I hate seeing messy textbooks covered in scribbles and highlighter marks.  So, I’m grateful for the shift towards digital textbooks, where I can scribble to my heart’s content and then easily clear away all my notes when I’m done studying.  It’s a win-win for me.”

She also had some advice for new students and/or prospective students.  “The first piece of advice is to stay determined and not let setbacks discourage you.  Even when you’re diving into a subject you’re truly passionate about there may be courses that seem less interesting, but always keep in mind that they will ultimately prove their worth.  The second suggestion would be to be proactive about seeking assistance when necessary.  Everyone faces challenges, whether they stem from coursework, professors, peers, or other various pressures we encounter.   There’s absolutely no shame in reaching out for help, and there are numerous resources available to make navigating these obstacles a bit smoother.”

A “true homebody,” Ana enjoys keeping busy when not studying, including “cozying up on the couch with [her] pug, watching Netflix.”  She continued, “I’m also very crafty and I enjoy crocheting, knitting, cross-stitching, and painting, but with all the work and volunteering I do, sometimes it’s hard to find time for those things.  And, just to add a touch of contrast to my indoor hobbies, I’m also quite a fan of hitting the golf course!”

Ana could not choose just one individual who has had the greatest influence on her desire to learn, explaining.  “There have been a lot of people throughout my life I was lucky to study and work with whose passion for making an impact has continuously inspired to keep doing more and keep striving to be better at whatever I’m doing.”

And her experience with online learning so far?  “I’ve had the opportunity to enroll in numerous online courses throughout my life, and it’s safe to say I’m a huge fan.  The aspect I appreciate most is the flexibility it offers, which allows me to decide where and when I want to study.  In the context of Athabasca University, I’ve really enjoyed the more relaxed approach to deadlines.  Plus, I truly appreciate the chance to connect with fellow students who share a genuine passion for their subjects.  Not many downsides, except it can sometimes be hard to not procrastinate when you know there are no firm deadlines!”

The Voice Magazine asked Ana which famous person, past or present, she would like to have lunch with, and why, and she chose author Virginia Woolf.  “We’d probably have some kind of a feast; she did say in one of her essays that ‘a good dinner was of great importance to good talk.’  Woolf was amazing, insightful, thoughtful, self-aware, and so perceptive in the way she explored and displayed the complexities of human consciousness.  It would be interesting to talk to her about her creative process, her views on literature, and her experiences as a woman (writer) in a time when gender roles placed significant constraints on women.  We’d also probably talk about dogs – I believe she was an owner of two dogs, and I obviously have a hard time not bringing my dog into every single conversation!”

Ana credits Woolf’s To the Lighthouse of having had an impact on her life.  “This novel offers profound insights into how people perceive and understand the world around them, and how they relate to each other.  Woolf’s writing in general made me more aware of how our thoughts and emotions shape our understanding of the world, and this novel in particular made me see the world and people in a different way, which I found really interesting.”

She let us know a bit about her most memorable vacation.  “When I was 9 years old, I went on my first family trip to the coast.  It was so special because it was my first time seeing the Adriatic Sea in person and actually getting to swim in it.  What made it even more exciting was the lead-up to the trip.  Our mom and dad would buy a few things for it every week, and my brother and I packed a box with our swim gear, towels, and snacks.  We were really looking forward to it.  When we finally got there, it was even more amazing than we had imagined.  The sun, the salty sea air, and the gentle breeze made it unforgettable.  It’s still my most memorable vacation, and nothing else has ever come close.”

She also shared her most valuable lesson learned in life.  “I guess one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned in my life is the power of resilience.  Understanding that failure is not the end but a steppingstone to something better helped me to be smarter in those difficult situations we all experience.  Being adaptable and persistent, and probably a bit stubborn, helped me achieve goals that initially seemed impossible to attain.”

And her proudest moment in life?  “This is another hard question for me! I don’t believe there’s been just one such moment in my life.  However, I’ve felt a deep sense of pride in my role as a career coach.  It’s when I witness how the conversations I’ve had with my clients transform their self-perception, boost their confidence, and guide them toward a fresh chapter in their lives.  In those moments, I’m not only proud of my clients but also of myself.  Seeing that direct impact my work has had on that individual just feels amazing.”  Best of luck Ana!

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!