Marilyn Kwan enrolled as a part-time student at U of T Scarborough in 2008.
Now, a decade later, she’s graduated with high distinction in a Bachelor of Arts degree, which includes minors in English literature, history, film and literature studies.
“It’s such relief,” says Kwan, who is the Senior HR Consultant and Staff Development Coordinator at U of T Scarborough.
“It has been a long 10 years, but I really enjoyed every course that I took.”
Kwan pursued post-secondary education after high-school and holds a diploma from Seneca College. After beginning an applied degree at Ryerson University in the early 1980s, she eventually put that aside to take care of her children.
“I’ve always felt like that was something left undone,” she says. “I’ve always wanted a degree and I’ve always loved learning. Being around students all the time was just fantastic.”
Working in U of T Scarborough’s human resource services department certainly helped in pursuing a degree, where she would often take night courses to accommodate her schedule.
“I would leave work at five, race home, make dinner, make sure everything was in order and race back for a seven o’clock class. The class would end at 10 and I’d go home and make sure everything was cleaned up and ready for the next day.”
Kwan would take a couple of courses at a time, which she says really helped in focusing all of her attention on her course work while balancing her other responsibilities. In the summer semester of 2014 she made the third year honours list, and was on the Dean’s List for four consecutive summers beginning in 2015 and including summer 2018.
Being a mature student didn’t come without its challenges. Kwan says it took her a couple of years to strengthen her essay writing skills. With help from the Writing Centre, her skill improved over time.
So, what made U of T Scarborough a great choice for a mature student to get their degree?
“I think the caliber of the teaching here is excellent,” says Kwan. “I’ve had nothing but good things to say about all of the professors that have taught me. They just had so much to give to every class.”
While her perseverance got her through her studies, there are also many other people she thanks for supporting her through this 10-year journey.
“Thank you to everyone who supported me ... especially my children, Michael and Stacey. I need to thank my manager and colleagues for allowing me to do this,” says Kwan. “If the University didn’t allow me to eventually take courses during the day and shift my hours, I couldn’t have done this. Everyone’s support in my learning was invaluable.”