The road less travelled

Jun 13, 2002, vol. 24, no. 4
By Susan Jamieson-McLarnon



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The road to Laila Ferreira's current academic goal - of a master's degree in English literature - has been a little different from most of her classmates who received their degrees this June from Simon Fraser University.

She achieved some of her academic success by means of distance education. Typical on-campus students, she and her husband, Sam Clemens, a sculptor/painter and a Capilano College fine arts student at the time, interrupted their studies to return home to Gibson's Landing on the Sechelt Peninsula following the birth of their son, Max, almost five years ago. But distance education courses that shipped books and articles right to her address in Gibson's kept her going academically.

Distance education was a wonderful experience, she says. “And really the only way that I was able to continue when we went back to Gibson's. You can call collect to talk to the tutor markers. They become friends.”

“Although having a child and doing graduate work is difficult, it also keeps you on track and disciplined and in many ways, is inspiring,” says Ferreira
Student loans, bursaries, fellowships and working as a teaching assistant have helped pay the bills so far, but Ferreira will be working toward winning even larger scholarship and fellowship support from UBC. She starts her doctoral studies in early Victorian literature there this fall (just about the time of the expected arrival of their second child).

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