"I was able to continue my education in a very practical manner that allowed me to keep a life-family-education balance."
A whirlwind life in which circumstance seems to determine one's fate will not affect the fate of the determined. Saman Waseem's resolve to achieve her goals, despite the hurdles life placed in her path, speaks to the strength and perseverance of the human spirit when aspirations outweigh situation.
Married at a very young age while still at home in her East Asian birthplace, Waseem moved with her new husband to Zambia in Southern Africa, a country where educational opportunities beyond secondary school are limited. She lived there for 14 years.
"During my time in Zambia I was a full-time mom to my three kids and had no opportunities to complete my education," Waseem said, reflecting upon life prior to her 1999 emigration to Canada.
Opportunity did not abound for Waseem as she followed her husband, a chemical engineer, to the small rural town of Castlegar, BC, where once again, there was no university. Determined to kick-start her education, Waseem completed a three-year co-op Diploma in Computer Information Systems (CIS) from Castlegar's community college, Selkirk College.
"My doors for further education closed at that point as I could not leave my three kids and move to another city for further university education," Waseem said. Then she discovered Open Learning.
"I researched programs on the website and was able to transfer two years of my CIS Diploma towards a BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration) Degree at TRU-OL," she said. "It was a great opportunity for me as I was able to continue my education in a very practical manner that allowed me to keep a life-family-education balance."
Waseem, who completed her BBA (CIS) with the commendable GPA of 4.2, found the online medium of open education "excellent in every way." Moreover, her experience was heightened by her Open Learning Faculty Members, whom she described as "more like mentors."
"Everyone is really proud of me to have completed my degree while raising three kids and fulfilling my other family obligations. Well, I tell them that my secret is TRU-OL."
The secret ends there, as Waseem happily divulged her future plan to achieve a Masters of Business Administration degree.
Castlegar, British Columbia