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Returning to School

Returning to school as an adult can be an overwhelming and difficult decision, but it was one that Koren Roth needed to make. It’s changed her life. After enduring a lot of stress over the last five years dealing with many personal challenges, the decision to go back to school took a lot of courage, but now she’s living her life with purpose and feels she has a career that she was meant to do.

Roth graduated in 2020 with honours from the Academy of Learning Career College, receiving her Community Services and Addictions diploma. “I knew at the job I was at that I wouldn’t be financially independent and secure in my future if I stayed there. I needed to make a change,” said Roth. “I went into it with the knowledge that this was my one chance. My one chance to further myself and provide for myself and my family treated it as a full-time job. I tried every single day to make the most of the opportunity and to have the best attitude I could, no matter what turmoil was going on in my life personally.”

Balancing Life and School

Juggling a post-secondary education, while raising a family amid other obstacles that come along the way can be a challenge. Still, Roth was committed to building this opportunity for her. She felt she needed to do it, not only for her but for her children. “I set a goal for myself to set an example for my kids,” said Roth. “It was important that they saw that hard things can happen in life, but mom didn’t just pull the covers over her head. I got up every day. I made the best of it, and I put my best foot forward. I was bound and determined to make that their memory of this time.”

COVID-19 Challenges

Like many of AOLCC’s graduate students, Roth was dealt another challenge when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in March of 2020, and she had to adapt and adjust to finishing her program online. “I had to be super disciplined. It was totally different than getting up and going to class every morning,” recalled Roth. “But, I had the same mindset, and that was to get up in the morning and be grateful for what I have, and not focus on the things I have lost, or how I wished it was different.”

As the pandemic worsened, it brought along some uncertainties for many people across the country about what the job market would look like. It had to be scary for students getting ready to venture out into the workforce. Roth certainly felt some uneasiness and anxiety about what was ahead.

Koren’s Success

“I was having some fear and some real stress around what this was going to look like. How was I going to get a practicum in the middle of a pandemic? How am I going to find a job?” said Roth. However, Roth was offered an opportunity for a paid practicum doing virtual mental health support for Medcor Canada. She began working full-time after her practicum on June 1, 2020. “I had income right away. I know I’m extremely blessed, and I don’t take that for granted for one single second,” said Roth. “In that time, we’ve been able to create an amazing program that’s helping our own advocates across Canada, but also across the border in the States.”

Her continued success in the community services and addictions field has grown even more. In January, she was promoted to manager of her department with Medcor. 

“It’s super exciting and nothing I would’ve ever dreamed of for myself. I’m so grateful,” said Roth. “I know I’m here for a reason. I know that I’m living out my calling and my purpose. I did that through hard work, determination and a positive mindset. As much as I’m a success story, I really do feel that every single graduate has overcome their own things — just different. It’s not easy, it’s one of the hardest single moments and times in my life, and yet we can all look back and be proud of our accomplishments.”