Kam Johal: A journey of persistence
AU is incredibly proud of the commitment and perseverance our incredible learners show us. We see it every day, and we’re blown away by your profound ability to juggle so many important tasks.
Has AU helped to transform your life? From a mother’s perspective, this is Kam Johal’s story.
Beginning of the journey
After graduating from high school, I attended a local community college and obtained my pharmacy technician diploma.
Working in the pharmacy enabled me to be in an environment that was culturally diverse with the ability to interact with a variety of community members.The demographic of patients ranged from seniors, families, babies, and mothers to pharmacy representatives who sold new drugs that counteract illnesses and symptoms. I enjoyed this experience for several years, and it was during this time in my life that I realized how closely connected my educational and employment experience would need to be in order to sustain my interest and attention.
A persistent and resilient learner
I consider myself a persistent and resilient “learner” (a.k.a. professional student) who enjoys asking the hard questions while having the knowledge to offer a variety of perspectives. I left after three years of working in the pharmacy environment to begin my pursuit of health and wellness occupations while starting my undergraduate degree.
One of my proudest accomplishments was seeing my parents at my undergraduate convocation. It took me nearly 10 years to graduate from Thompson Rivers University (TRU). Not because I wasn’t serious about learning and academics, but because I desired education to be flexible and accommodating while including opportunities to build relationships and networks. I took a variety of courses in the social sciences including sociology, social work, philosophy, languages, and psychology. During my time at TRU, I participated in health and wellness clubs as well as rallies for anti-discrimination.
Through my academic experience, I desired a learning environment that observed what I did for a living, asked the deeper reasons for why I worked within this position, and offered an intrinsic understanding of who I was as well as those around me. I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up, I just wanted to live and experience life while learning.
“Through my academic experience, I desired a learning environment that: observed what I did for a living, asked the deeper reasons for why I worked within this position, and offered an intrinsic understanding of who I was as well as those around me.”– Kam Johal
In 2018, I began my Master of Business Administration (MBA) [at Athabasca University] while working at the John Howard Society (JHS) in Kamloops, B.C. Shortly after being accepted into the program, my partner of 10 years and I found out we were expecting. I completed my maternity leave a few months ago and began a new position at TRU in enrolment services.
For three years at JHS, I worked as a residential services manager that enabled me to work in a dynamic and challenging environment. I worked with citizens from vulnerable populations who required services varying from housing needs to employment services. This was a newly developed position where tasks were taken from the director of programs’ desk and combined with property management duties (in the hopes of overtaking the director of programs’ role). My job duties included program reporting on contract deliverables, hiring staff, implementation community programs, and property management duties. I have worked with a variety of stakeholders, as well as First Nations communities in a social service and academic capacity. I have also been involved in campaigns for new programs and courses, as well as trained and worked along staff.
What the future holds
I have considered continuing my education with my Doctorate in Business Administration from AU, but I’m not sure about this just yet. I am looking to lead a company into the future, whether that be my own or where I currently work.
I want to teach my daughter how to be independent and multi-faceted, while she teaches me how to enjoy the little things.
Chips for breakfast, why not?!
Sharpie on the walls, yes please!
Read the same book over and over again… of course.
My parents have been a huge help to us, so I’m hoping we can pay them back. We shall see where the future takes us. I still dream of a tropical spot on an ocean somewhere (I have never been anywhere tropical, maybe for graduation?) or even a seasonal or purchased camping spot on the water with our new RV!