Campus Life

A mature path to education

Not every university education begins after high school. There are many ways to achieve a post-secondary degree and the University of Lethbridge is home to a variety of mature students pursuing their educational goals across all disciplines.

"I may not have been able to attend university straight out of high school," says English-Education major Alisha Sims, "but looking back I don't think that was a bad thing."

English-Education major Alisha Sims balances a career, family and post-secondary studies.

Indeed, Sims points out that her work experience has been a great benefit to her academic progress: as a mature student she knows how to manage her time and focus on the tasks at hand.

Sims also brings journalistic experience to her literary studies. Having worked for newspapers since the age of 15, when she was a junior sports-reporter in Manitoba, Sims went on to Saskatchewan and Alberta, picking up a couple of provincial writing awards along the way. Presently, she is with The Lethbridge Herald, where she is editor of the Lethbridge Sun Times weekly newspaper, Great Reads (Books) page and special sections. She also writes freelance feature articles for Bridge magazine.

All the while, Sims juggles the demands of home life.

"My children know I'm in university and it's been a real learning experience for them, too," she says. "While my four-year-old associates the University with Tim Hortons, my nearly 12-year-old sees me getting my homework done on time, and sees the work I put into my assignments. She's already talking about pursuing post-secondary education after high school."

Despite her busy schedule, Sims exhibits a continued passion for her studies in English.

"I get to read well-written literature every day. What's not to enjoy? The classes offered are interesting: Literature and Nothingness, Mother Figures in Literature, Portrayals of Madness in Women's Writing – this is not the stuff of dusty old books," she says. "I look at the calendar and would have no problem filling my schedule up with five English classes if I had the time to take that many in a semester."

When asked why she chose the University of Lethbridge over other institutions, the choice was logical.

"For me, other institutions were not an option," says Sims. "I work in the city, my husband works in the city, my daughter goes to primary school and my son is in daycare. It would have been impossible for us to uproot and move to another city so I could attend university. I'm just fortunate enough to live in a city where the Education program is second to none."

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