Agnes Kwan

Agnes Kwan. Photo by Greg Ehlers.

For Agnes Kwan, earning an SFU degree was a personal goal at first. "I'm a true believer in always developing yourself," she says. "I always want to be learning."

While working as a waitress, she enrolled in a degree program part-time through SFU NOW: Nights or Weekends. Near the end of her studies, she landed a job as a college administrator, and soon learned her SFU education was worth even more than she'd thought. In her communication courses, she'd learned to write clearly, think critically, stay organized, and more. "It definitely prepares you even for the simple, day-to-day things like constructing an effective email," she says.

Through her work, she also learned how important her degree would be in the workforce. Kwan's role involved placing students in practicums, and her supervisors taught her that when screening stacks of résumés, a bachelor's degree often mattered. "You usually pick the ones with the most education," she says. "It just gives you more of a competitive edge."

Fortunately, thanks to SFU NOW's flexible scheduling, Kwan's work schedule and family responsibilities didn’t hinder her progress. After finishing work, she would walk to SFU's Surrey campus and take evening courses. She was also able to take classes on Saturdays.

Kwan plans to keep learning as she advances her career. She's in the process of completing SFU Continuing Studies' Human Resources Management Certificate, which is building her career skills and her confidence. While working at a recruitment agency in early 2015, an issue would arise and she would think, "I just learned about this yesterday!"

She has words of encouragement for anyone considering balancing school with a full-time job like she did. "SFU NOW helps people who juggle a full-time schedule," she says. "I did it. Even if you work full-time and you have things going on at home, you can do it."

By Amy Robertson

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