Maria Greaves-Cacevski: Balancing it all and still giving back
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 Maria Greaves-Cacevski’s story.
Embarking on two dreams at once
Athabasca University (AU) was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life – second only to the birth of my daughter Olivia Marie.
In 2013, as a working supply chain and operations professional, I began the journey of my lifetime by embarking on my dream of motherhood in tandem with completing my professional studies. I had completed my Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Management [now called Online Graduate Diploma in Management] in March 2013 and I started AU Master of Business Administration (MBA) online program.
I fondly remember submitting my financial and managerial accounting assignment after which I woke up my husband and off to the hospital we went. My husband and I were simultaneously pursuing our MBAs through AU because it gave us both the opportunity to work and attend classes asynchronously while maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
The ability to balance my personal, professional, and academic goals was not the greatest benefit but rather it was through volunteerism that I felt I was able to give back as a member of the Faculty of Business Council member for the Athabasca University Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) for four years.
As a “voice of the student” I was able to actively participate in advocacy issues and policy making decisions for the AU GSA. During my years with AU, I attended several social events but none more significant than the graduate student council meetings at different universities within Ontario. These experiences during my time with AU enriched my life so much that I leveraged my years of industry experience and MBA by becoming a part-time lecturer as well as the newly appointed chairperson for the Program Advisory Committee all while working full-time.
I have a greater appreciation for lifelong learning and continue to optimize technology enabled learning to maintain my industry accreditation and certifications based upon the invaluable lessons of time management and quality peer learning experiences from my AU education.
Being Mom is number one
All professional and academic accomplishments aside, my number one priority remains raising my daughter. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, my primary role as a mother has evolved to include multi-faceted responsibilities from IT technical support, to tutor, and even playmate. These duties are in addition to my own enrolment in massive open online courses (MOOC) for career development and working remotely.
Regardless of how many hats I may wear daily, my focus has been to ensure that my daughter remains emotionally, mentally, and physically balanced given the uncertainty of the future. Her resilience in adapting to online learning and virtual play-dates shows that children model our behaviour and adopt our mindset. So our new mother-daughter norm has become sitting side by side as we complete our courses online. Together, we face the new era of digital learning knowing that we have each other to lean on, with the added support from our new online community of followers and many “likes.”