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Making it happen

SAIT business student Heather is setting the stage for her future.

SAIT business student Heather is setting the stage for her future.

Was it easy? No. Was it worth it? Absolutely.

The idea of going back to school can be a daunting one at any age, but the decision to make the investment in yourself and your future is worth taking the plunge.

Heather is from Fort McMurray and is taking not just one, but two SAIT School of Business certificates online, all while working full time and being a mom. 

Heather, 26

Online General Business Administration Certificate of Achievement and Applied Management Certificate of Achievement student

What were you doing before you enrolled at SAIT?

I was working at Alberta Health Services (AHS) in an Administrative Support position supporting the recovery training team on the Wildfire Recovery Program team.

What made you choose to attend SAIT?

The scope of my role at AHS changed to supporting the Recovery Manager. With that change I was handling a lot more of the financial aspects and the responsibilities that come along with it. I realized that I needed to develop my communication skills and parts of my new position peaked my interest in learning more about finance and management. So I started researching courses that would help me excel in those areas and learned about the SAIT School of Business. SAIT sounded exactly like the educational institution I wanted to attend, a big bonus for me is that their courses are offered online since I’m not from the Calgary area. In 2018, I made the leap to enroll at SAIT and it was the best decision I could have ever made for my education and my career path! 

How have the skills you’ve developed from your program help you in your career?

Most recently I made the switch from working with AHS into the construction industry as an Accounting Administrator at Wood Buffalo Paving. This position will allow me to expand and practice the accounting methods I have learned so far in the General Business Administration certificate. I know that in a management or leadership position, you often need to have a solid understanding of the financials, so by developing my skills ahead of time in these areas I will be prepared!

What has your online experience with SAIT been like so far?

So far, my online experience with SAIT has been nothing but exceptional! I have encountered many phenomenal professors and classmates. I had never used the Brightspace (D2L) platform prior to SAIT, and I truly enjoy the layout and being able to access everything you need at your fingertips.

Being able to utilize the Reg Erhardt Library online has been extremely helpful to me when completing assignments and discussion posts — the librarians are extremely helpful! I have not utilized it yet but have heard great things about the Academic Coaches at SAIT as well! 

What would you say to someone either thinking about SAIT or contemplating a career change?

Believe in yourself and trust the journey take the leap if you are ready!

Where are you hoping to take your career?

After completing the General Business Administration Certificate of Achievement, I plan to work towards a Bachelor of Business Administration majoring in Management or Human Resources. The courses I have taken so far in my Applied Management Certificate (Leadership Skills/Supervisory Skills) combined with everything I have learned from the managers I’ve reported to, has made me realize my long-term goal is to end up in a leadership role. 

A lot of students have had to make the transition to online learning due to COVID-19. What advice would you give to those who might be struggling with the shift in learning environments?

You are not alone in this struggle. It can be quite an adjustment when you are used to having the daily/weekly face-to-face contact with your professors and fellow classmates. Reach out to those people, as they are likely struggling as well. Take time for yourself it can be hard to focus on academics right now with everything else going on around you. Try to have a designated area for doing your academics so that you can separate yourself when you need to relax. Yes, academics are important, but so are you. Don't forget that! You matter, and your mental health matters.

Heather’s story is part of the Making it happen series featuring stories of career changers who chose SAIT to help pivot their profession. Read Randy’s story.

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