Shahin Dewji: “I had it in me to persevere and succeed in this program.”

Going to college as an adult student has its challenges. It’s hard to fit education into an already busy schedule involving work, family obligations and other commitments. Ashton College honours students who demonstrate outstanding attendance, complete all the program assignments on time and actively participate in class activities with the Academic Achievement Award. Shahin, a graduate of the Human Resources Management Diploma program, won the award in summer 2019, for achieving the highest GPA in her cohort.

Please tell us why you decided to enroll in the HR program?

I have a background in the oil and gas industry, where I worked as a safety professional. In almost every workplace, I had to work hand-in-hand with the HR department where I helped and supported the new hires in the safety training procedures, which they were required to undergo. I always liked to deal with people and wanted to learn more about other processes of managing talent. I wanted to get a better understanding of the HR field and study the details of human resources administration, recruitment, personnel development and others.

Why did you choose to study at Ashton? What was your experience like?

I enrolled in the HR Diploma program at Ashton College as it was recommended to me by two other people who had graduated from Ashton before me. My experience at Ashton was fantastic and full of positive memories. I enjoyed the curriculum and appreciated all the instructors who did their best to provide the most current and up-to-date information in class.

What was the best part about Ashton?

The best part about the Human resource management diploma online at Ashton was the expedited timeline of the courses and the quality of instruction. Intensive three-month training is filled with presentations and exams every week. I am one of the people who like tight deadlines and enjoy the challenge of meeting them. And I appreciate the grueling schedule at Ashton, which taught me to manage my time wisely.

I would definitely recommend Ashton to others and have already done so. My situation was a bit special because I travelled every week from Edmonton to Vancouver to attend classes. I have never been so thankful for flight delays as that was the time when I got most of my studying and assignments done.

Could you please explain why you chose the in-class study format over the online format, especially given that you lived in Edmonton while studying at Ashton?

I enjoy being around people and prefer face-to-face interaction over online communication. When I was choosing the delivery format, it was important for me to be engaged with the instructor during the class, to get to know my classmates and bond with them.

Also, coming to Vancouver this often allowed me to spend some quality time with my Mom. My dad passed away recently, so we were able to support each other through this difficult time.

Lastly, I enjoyed coming to Vancouver every week as I absolutely love this city. When I was driving to school every day, I relished the fresh air, the sunshine, the view of the mountains and the ocean. I told my teacher and my classmates every day how blessed I felt to be in the city, and they were able to look at their home through my eyes with a deeper appreciation.

How did you feel after winning the Academic Achievement award?

Winning the Academic Achievement Award was thrilling. My Dad passed away in 2018, and I vowed to myself that I would do my best in honour of him. Although it came as a huge surprise to me when I won the award, it was touching and emotional to know that I had it in me to persevere and succeed in this program. I chose to move forward and in doing so, made my husband and my family proud of me.

Are you currently working in the HR field? Did education at Ashton College help you in achieving your career goals?

At present, I am working in the training and development field in the oil and gas industry. My HR Diploma from Ashton College put me first in line when I applied for my current position. It showed that I understand the people working for us, know all the processes thoroughly and recognize the significance of the workforce in the industry.

What are your plans for the future?

I want to continue my studies. Right now, I am taking an Occupational Health and Safety Diploma online through another educational institution. I am also thinking about pursuing a CPHR Designation as well as a Training and Development Designation. My main goal, however, is to get a Master’s Degree. As for my personal goals, I want to motivate and influence people in the workforce. With the help of my HR skills and knowledge, I will be able to make an impact and hopefully empower the people that I cross paths with.

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