AC Online: More Than Just a Leap of Faith
Courtney dropped everything to start fresh! Here's her story.
Would you ever drop everything for a fresh start? That's precisely what Algonquin College alumna Courtney MacDonald did, and she says, "it's the best decision I've ever made!"
After completing her Bachelors from an Ontario university in 2019, Courtney felt there was no real direction in her life. Apart from retail work, there wasn't much lined up for her in her hometown, so she decided to take a year off to get her bearings.
Moving to Ottawa
Everything changed when her best friend decided to move to Ottawa for school. "He was moving for his Masters and joked that since I wasn't doing anything and since he didn't know anyone there, I should go with him. I thought, 'Why not?' and joined him in Ottawa in September of 2019. I had no job lined up and no other friends in this city but it's been two and a half years since then and it's still the best decision I could have made," Courtney says.
Once she was settled in, Courtney decided it was time to go back to school, "I knew I wanted to continue my studies so, after tons of research and guidance from former AC students, I decided to pursue the Emergency Management program with AC Online." Courtney chose to enroll in online graduate studies because it allowed her the flexibility to work from anywhere and continue to work full-time. This decision proved to be a good one when COVID-19 eventually hit.
Flexibility and structure with online grad studies
AC Online provided a sense of structure and control for Courtney during an otherwise incredibly stressful time. "I was still in school and working as a full-time retail supervisor during the height of the pandemic. I was balancing not only work, but school, and the ever-evolving rules, and restrictions that were being enforced. I also wasn't able to go home and visit my family because it meant risking my immunocompromised family members."
The online course model gave Courtney the flexibility and freedom she needed. "It gave me the freedom to study from anywhere. I've taken classes from home, in the park, and from my partner's house. I also really appreciated that I could learn at my own pace. If I didn't understand something, I could always go back and reread it or pause and replay videos at any moment. I also took breaks whenever I needed to and worked around my job schedule."
Lots of practice working from home
Courtney explains that she felt ready to work from home thanks to AC Online. "Since graduating, I'm able to better manage my time and focus on completing my work. I would've had a much harder time adapting to the online work model if I hadn't completed my studies online."
She didn't believe that starting her career so soon was in the cards. "The Emergency Management program helped me achieve my career goals before I even graduated. My co-op placement allowed me to gain real-world experience, which in turn, allowed me to apply to relevant job postings. That's how I came across my current job at the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission." Since graduating, Courtney has been thriving in her role as an Emergency Management Program Officer in the Emergency Division.
Online learning empowered Courtney to make time for her future. "If you don't think you have time to go back to school, try online studies, because you'll find time then. There'll be deadlines you have to keep in mind, but the facilitators are extremely understanding of the real world. It also helps to plan ahead; when I knew my last month of school would be super busy with non-school commitments, I completed everything I could beforehand since I had access to it from the beginning."
"I am proud of how far I've come."
Courtney's journey illustrates how even the darkest clouds have bright silver linings. Balancing school, a pandemic, a social life, a full-time job, and making the honour roll came with its own challenges, but she fought hard and made it out stronger than ever.
Are you ready to change your life?
Kick off your journey with AC Online