Minds We Meet—Christine Sabourin

Interviewing Students Like You!

The Voice Magazine recently had a chance to chat with Christine Sabourin (she/her), a 35-year old Bachelor of Arts in Psychology student from Cornwall, Ontario—“with roots from an even smaller township of Monkland, Ontario,” (where she spent her “formative years”).

She added, “I acknowledge and am grateful to live, learn, play, and work on the traditional territory of the Audenosaunee, Mohawk, Haudenosaunee, and Huron-Wendat.  This Territory is covered by the Upper Canada Treaties.”

Christine also mentioned, “I am passionate about being part of a diverse society where everyone can belong and have the right to exist.  I am an artist who likes to explore new ways to create, an avid P!nk fan, a skateboard enthusiast, and a nature/animal lover.  Psychology has been a fascination for me from a young age and I am proud to be further pursuing this interest at the academic level.”

As for her future plans?  “My plans are currently undetermined.  My greatest desire is to make a difference in this world and make the world a better place.  I would love to infuse my skills and knowledge in youth, the world of skateboarding, and those who feel unseen and unheard.  To let them know they have a place and belong,” she explained.

She also had some study tips for fellow AU students.  “My study habits vary.  At times I need absolute silence and other times I need noise.  I have been learning to pace myself, which has been an asset.  I enjoy being by the river or our local conservation area when the weather permits.  I set out goals as to what I want to accomplish or what needs to be completed.  I highlight the text in color-coded format during my readings to categorize the information.  I also make notes/or transcribe the applicable highlighted sections as much as possible, sometimes I fall short in this practice.  When I receive a good grade that helps to keep me motivated.  Seeing the work payoff is rewarding.  Sometimes I use external rewards, whether it is a treat, a trip to a skatepark, or if I reach this grade I can purchase a particular big ticket item.”

In addition, she had some great advice for new and/or prospective students.  “The advice I would give new students/or prospective students is time management skills are everything.  The process of learning can be taxing but it also can be enjoyed.  Investing in the joys of learning will help relieve some pressures.  I highly recommend familiarizing yourself with your learning style and using strategies that support the way you learn.  If pacing helps, pace on.  Try new methods of learning if you are not seeing the desired results, or tweak existing ones.  Ask for help, this is a hard one.  I struggle with this all the time, but anytime I have it has been beneficial.”

When this busy student is not studying, she is creating art “and going to events where [she] displays and sells [her] work through [her] small business Meraxic Creations.”  She continued, “I mostly work with mixed media, pyrography, and upcycled skateboarding products.  I love to create and do not limit myself to these mediums, the sky is the limit.  I enjoy being in nature, skateboarding, puzzles, and listening to music/going to concerts.”

As for her experience with online learning so far?  “The experience so far has been good.  It is challenging for me as I am more of an auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learner.  My most challenging aspect is the freedom to chip away at the course, mostly I love it as I can make it work with life obligations and work.  However, the inner procrastinator battles to delay the course progression.  Being no due dates, or professors in a class to guide, set and remind you of the expectations or due dates can be tough.  The accountability of course completion is fully on the student.  On the bright side, I see how this develops greater autonomy and character, which I am grateful for.”

Her most memorable AU course so far has been SOCI 301: Social Statistics.  “Being a person who does not enjoy math and requiring a math credit, my thought was let’s get this credit out of the way.  Looking through the options I figured okay, these other courses would probably be easier but this one, SOCI 301, would serve me best, not knowing what I was getting myself into.  I proceeded with enrollment and fees.  I then had a session with one of our guidance counselors, informing them of this they asked me why I would start my university career with the hardest course.  They kindly let me know that I could withdraw and suggested that I do so and start with an easier course to ease me in and get the feel.  I investigated this option as I realized the mistake I had made.  As I paid with a credit card there was a large amount that was not refundable.  For me, this was too much of a loss to bear, and thought I would have to grind it out.  I began the course and soon was like oh no what have I done at this point I was fully invested and there was no turning back.  I surprised myself, fully immersing myself in ensuring that I get through this with the hopes of never needing to do math again; I utilized the tutor service before submitting my assignments and further worked on them before submitting them, and one by one, they came back with 100%.  I could not believe it.  With the tests, I finished the course with an A.  Although the process was challenging, I got through.  It was an amazing boost in confidence, and I am still in awe of this experience.  It reinforces the saying, ‘We can do hard things.’”

Christine also had positive things to say about communication with her course tutors.  “Communication with tutors has been great thus far.  They have been responsive and helpful, they will provide their guidelines in what they are able and not able to assist with and provide resources to gain assistance with what they are unable to do as it conflicts with objectivity in grading.  For example, the use of Write Site in an English course.”

The Voice Magazine asked Christine what her first project would be if she were the new president of AU and she mentioned that she “would develop a Skateboarding Program.”  She explained, “With the sport reaching new heights and being inducted into the Olympics we can start new trends, new mindsets, and take the field by storm.  To build an elite program propelling talented skaters into the professional world would be groundbreaking.  To see skate teams competing like other sports at the post-secondary level would be revolutionary, while motivating a demographic that is often overlooked or cast aside.  I would also implement a research aspect diving into the benefits and effects this activity has on mental health, from the lens of community, personal development, and growth.”

We also asked which famous person, past or present, she would like to have lunch with, and why and she chose singer P!nk.  “I am a die-hard fan and have idolized P!nk since I was about 9 years old when she first came out.  I have been fortunate to experience her live in various venues over the years.  She is an inspiration, an anchor, a do-er, with vocals like no other; a true bad-ass.  There are so many conversations I would like to have with her and the opportunity to express my gratitude for the impact she made in my life.”

As a final note, we asked Christine about her most valuable lesson learned in life.  She stated, “The most valuable lesson I have learned in life thus far is that others will project their insecurities, limitations, and negativity onto you as though it’s about you, when in reality it’s about them.  It’s about their self-limiting beliefs, their incapacity to want to see you do better than them, and their excuses as to why it cannot be done to keep you small or to disempower you.  With the right people and support it is amazing what one can accomplish, don’t give up and keep working towards accomplishing your dreams.”

And her proudest moment?  “My proudest moment in my life would probably be August 21, 2010 when I was able to have my picture taken with P!nk.  I had spent five hours in the pouring rain in Niagara Falls, as she walked by me entering the event I asked if I could get a picture where she replied, ‘Ya, for sure,’ came back, and put her arm around me.  As I was trying to give my point-and-shoot camera to someone as I was there alone, she said, ‘Here I can do it, I am really good at this’ without hesitation I gave her my camera and is she ever good at it, I have the greatest picture and memory a fan could ask for!”  Best of luck, Christine!

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!