Transforming Lives: Learners at AU is a testimonial series, written by AU students and alum, who want to acknowledge the people in their lives who have helped to mold and transform their AU experience and achieve their greatest successes. Their gratitude toward these integral individuals is worth shouting from the rooftops! We, too, thank these most important people for allowing the AU authors to achieve their educational goals. Read the other Transforming Lives: Learners at AU testimonials. Have an inspiring story of your own to share? Email us! We’d love to hear it.
‘Family’ is a small word that carries so much meaning. It’s not just Mom and Dad and siblings. It’s neighbours, best friends … sometimes even bosses. Without my extended family I wouldn’t be on this journey toward my Bachelor of Commerce degree; it’s with their help that I’ve embarked on the path to furthering my education, and it’s their support that’s making me successful.
I’m not discounting my own efforts, by any stretch of the imagination, but those I surround myself with lend me their strength when it seems like there isn’t enough of me to go around. On a daily basis I’m mother, student, wife, housekeeper, chauffeur, volunteer, employee, chef … the list is endless.
My husband is my rock and I find myself increasingly more thankful for the amazing man that he is as the years go by. Next year would make a decade since I moved to Alberta and he first asked me out on a date, and over the years our lives have changed so much. Our son makes me want to be better, do more, and push further. I hope that he will take my example and understand that anything is possible if you set your mind to it.
I was born and raised in small-town New Brunswick, where my mom and dad still reside, and where we are actually in the process of moving back to (another perk of AU!). They have always been available to video chat or just listen to me vent if I need to let off some steam. And although we’re currently thousands of kilometres apart, my mom is still there with kind words, helpful advice, and a stern scolding if the string of curse words I let out exceeds her daily dose of profanity. Likewise, my mother-in-law is only ever a Snapchat away with encouraging words and a needed dose of levity, whether she’s at her home in Manitoba, or wintering away in Honduras.
Moving on up
As an assistant branch manager with a major financial institution, I spend my days teaching people about their finances and leading our team to find their own success. When I first entered post-secondary after high school, I thought I would be a teacher. However, teaching children was not my niche. Although my career took me on a very different path, a lot of what I learned there proved applicable to how I spend my days now. AU has allowed me to broaden my horizons and to learn at my own pace — when, and where, I can find the time. Since enrolling last year, my newly acquired skills have already afforded me opportunities for career advancement, I spent 10 years as a financial advisor, and am now taking the leap into management, with future potential of leading my own team, or maybe even an entire district.
I don’t feel my situation is unique; more people than I realized pursue some form of learning later in life. At the end of the day, I’m just trying to make it through like everyone else. I hope my words encourage someone to stop trying to pick their battles, settling for one thing instead of pushing for everything. We deserve to pursue our dreams because we are all born for greatness! The definition of that is yours alone to decide.
One of my favourite courses so far has been Professional Management — which focuses a lot on what managers do. I’ve realized that most of those concepts apply to real life, not just to work life. Brushing up on my French skills has my husband and child looking at me quizzically when chatting to myself as I cook supper. I hope I can ace ‘Money, Business and Canadian Financial Institutions,’ otherwise maybe I shouldn’t work at one …
Norah is currently enrolled in a Bachelor of Commerce degree program in the Faculty of Business and is a full-time financial advisor at RBC Royal Bank. She resides in rural Consort, Alta., with her husband, Tyler, and their one-year-old son, Alex.