A Return to School & Learning

Tina Miller knows firsthand the importance of a good foundation. After spending 18 years raising children, she made the bold decision to earn a post-secondary degree and took the first step at Okanagan College.

Arriving at the Kelowna campus on the first day wasn’t easy for Miller. It had been 17 years since she had been in school but with some help from the College’s advisors, she registered in her first post-secondary courses through the Adult Basic Education (ABE) program and took one large step forward toward her goal of earning a degree.

“It was definitely intimidating coming to the College on that first day,” said Miller. “It had been a long time since I had been in school and I wasn’t sure if I could do it. I got into my first classes in English and math and the instructors took away all that fear. They were friendly and understanding and welcoming and they really made me feel comfortable.”

Miller worked hard and had success in her ABE classes and was accepted into Okanagan College’s School of Business.

She is halfway through the Bachelor of Business Administration degree program and Miller now feels like Okanagan College is her second home. In addition to attending classes, she works as a peer mentor in the Aboriginal Services Centre and has become active in organizing events on campus that celebrate Aboriginal culture.

“The Centre is not just for Aboriginal students – everyone is welcome here,” said Miller. “It’s a supportive place. The staff are amazing. They are very encouraging and understand the personal challenges students can face.”

Miller is set to graduate in two years and if timing works out, she’ll receive her college degree at the same time her eldest son graduates from high school.

“I’m really hoping it works out that way,” said Miller. “I think that would be special for us.”

She credits the College’s instructors in the ABE program as one of the reasons she has been successful in her post-secondary education, and admits her College experience has changed her in many ways.

“I am more involved now,” said Miller. “I speak up and I realize that I have a voice.”

As for her future, Miller hasn’t settled on the exact direction for her career. She began her education with an end goal of working in the music business but through her classes she has realized there are endless opportunities for her.

“I’m not sure exactly what I’ll do. I’m really enjoying the marketing aspects of my degree program but I’m also leaning toward working with non-profits. What I know to be true is when I’m done I’ll have lots of options.”