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Meet Vanessa Sheena, an Indigenous Student Who Keeps on Learning

20 years ago, Vanessa Sheena started her journey of learning at VCC. Today her resume is full of accomplishments including the completion of the Learning Education Resource Network - UGotClass Bookkeeping Certificate offered in partnership with VCC.

“It was Covid and I was just trying to get a little bit more knowledge under my belt,” explains Vanessa. “I like working with numbers, I used to work at a bank, and I thought having bookkeeping skills would be valuable. I could potentially find a job and even do it from home. It offered me some security.”

The bookkeeping micro-credential had Vanessa enrolled in three online classes that helped her understand Debits and Credits, General Ledger Procedures, and Closing Procedures & Financials. The classes always began on the first Monday of the month and were offered asynchronously, meaning it was up to Vanessa to complete the assignments and readings on her own time.  

“I'm so used to learning in person but doing it online worked out great. My life is so busy between work life and family life, plus I own a wedding planning business, so not having to be there on this day at this time worked out perfectly. Also, I don't have the possibility of taking time off work and, with the majority of the classes being offered full time, the flexibility to do the courses within my own time was a good option for me.”

It wasn’t without its challenges though but for someone like Vanessa who is focused on creating her own successes, it was easy enough to overcome.

“The last course I finished in a day,” she says with a laugh. “I received the registration, made my introductions and read the material and then I got busy and forgot that the class was happening. So, I set aside a few hours, told everyone to leave me alone for the day, and got busy watching all the discussions, doing all the readings and quizzes, and got through it.”

As an indigenous student, Vanessa also felt she benefited from the services of VCC’s Indigenous Education Department.

“When I started at VCC 20 years ago there was no Indigenous advisor,” says Vanessa. “I felt really fortunate that I could walk into the school with a lot of questions about the bookkeeping course and see somebody who looks like me and is there to support me. Having a place to go where we feel safe and can have questions answered is amazing.”

Now Vanessa is planning the next step in her journey of life long learning. “I realize that I am the one that's going to take me where I need to go and I’m never giving up on myself. I’m knowledgeable in all of these areas and now it’s time to show me the money.” The sky truly is the limit for this self-described Jill-of-all-trades.