When Tammy Scrivener finally decided what she wanted to study in university, she was a little older than most students at Carleton University.

“I had always wanted to be a lawyer, but by the time I got to university I was 42 and I was not doing law school,” Scrivener says.

She laughs about her unorthodox path to schooling; Scrivener says when she was younger, like many other teenagers, she felt that school was not for her. Decades later and decades wiser, Scrivener says she thought a bachelor’s degree could help her advance her career in the public service. Though, as a full time human resources manager, Scrivener ’s hands were tied.

“There are only so many hours in a week and I thought I couldn’t leave my job to go to university,” she says.

That was when she heard about Carleton’s online degrees. Following her dream of becoming a lawyer, and coupling that with the psychological aspect of her current work, Scrivener enrolled to be a law major and a psychology minor at Carleton.

Completing nearly 80 per cent of her three-year degree online, Scrivener was able to study and work part time, usually watching her lectures over lunch hour. In the fall of 2016, with the finish line in sight, she transitioned to full time school. On Saturday, Scrivener will graduate with the class of 2017.

“[Online education] was the perfect thing for me, and if I had had this 20 years ago when I was the normal age group to go to school, I probably would have gone to school much earlier,” she admits.

Scrivener says she is extremely grateful that online programs, such as those at CUOL, exist.

“It has been an eye opening experience that you can actually learn online,” she says.

In addition to earning her degree, Scrivener says the experience of attending school online has been beneficial. From networking within her career to having more finesse in debate and research, the skills Scrivener picked up during her online undergraduate experience are invaluable. She adds that her personal and work lives benefitted from the flexible online schedule, too.

“This kind of education really does help you develop your critical thinking – and that’s at any age,” Scrivener says. “I’m pushing 47 and I’m still learning, and I’m still teachable.”

One of the key things Scrivener says she learned about herself throughout her online degree is to have an open and teachable mind.

“It is very easy to get cocky, especially when you’re staring at a TV screen, it can be very tempting to fast forward through a boring part,” she says.

“It’s not just about passing the course, but it’s the degree at the end of the journey,” Scrivener says. “You want to make sure when you have that, you’ve actually earned it.”

Now, with the degree that Scrivener certainly earned, she will be catching up on some old work and delving into some new work, with the hope that her new law degree will open some doors for this new graduate.

By: Bianca Chan

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