Advice from an adult learner: Never underestimate your abilities

Gale Daigle was 35, a single mother with a 13-year-old son, working as a secretary for the provincial government. She wanted more out of her career and knew that a degree was required to advance.

Fortunately, Daigle had an employer who saw her potential and encouraged her to follow her dreams and, more importantly, he helped her to see that with challenge comes opportunity.

Daigle registered as a part-time student and took courses in the evenings and online so that she could continue working full-time.

“I took one course at a time, term by term, and eventually completed levels 1 and 2 of the University of New Brunswick’s (UNB) certificate programs in business administration.”

She thought about pursuing other degree programs but didn't quite find the right fit until she became aware of UNB’s Bachelor of Integrated Studies, a degree completion program designed for adult learners.

The BIS program had everything she needed.

“I was interested in taking psychology, sociology, and human resources related courses, and was intrigued by the required leadership component that was core to the BIS. I applied and got accepted.”

All of the BIS core courses are offered online.

“Even though the BIS core courses were online, you kept in constant contact with the instructors and fellow students. We did group projects and shared stories, which gave a more personable feel to the experience. I enjoyed taking online courses.”

Daigle says studying online requires discipline because when a lot is going on in your life, it is easy to procrastinate.

“You’ve got to be disciplined. It is like working out. You need to know what you want out of it. I wanted a more challenging job, and knew I wasn't going to get it without my degree,” said Daigle.

Daigle has already seen the benefits of her educational efforts.

“With every course I took, my confidence level increased, which impacted my performance at work. I have been promoted to positions that I may not have been considered for otherwise.”

Daigle says the 14 years that it has taken her to complete her degree were challenging and required a high level of commitment, and at times, it was a sacrifice.

“I attribute my success to the support of the people around me, including my son, husband, friends, family, and co-workers. I must also give credit to the staff at the College of Extended Learning for always being there for me when I needed direction or advice,” she adds.

When asked what advice she would give to someone who is considering returning to university, she said, “Believe in yourself.”

“Don’t let fear prevent you from achieving your dreams. The thought of walking into a classroom and writing exams after so many years may be a little intimidating, but it is nothing compared to the incredible sense of accomplishment that you will feel when you finish.”

Gale Daigle received her Bachelor of Integrated Studies from UNB in 2016. She was on the Dean’s List.

Learn more about the Bachelor of Integrated Studies, or contact Lorna Campbell at the College of Extended Learning at 506 458-7976 or bis@unb.ca.