College Gallery

Building Blocks to Success

Posted on Oct 27, 2022

Marilyn Orr

When Marilyn Orr moved to Peace River to provide a better educational experience for her teenaged children, she certainly didn’t plan on resuming student life herself. A graduate of the Northern Lakes College Office Administration Certificate program, Marilyn had been working as a payroll clerk for a trucking company.

However, once her children were settled and enrolled in their new school, Marilyn knew she had to find her own place within their new community. She reached out to her sisters for advice, and they encouraged her to consider building on her Office Administration Certificate. Both of them had found success through the Northern Lakes College (NLC) Practical Nurse program. “They said their programs had been really accessible and that they believed in me. So, I did it,” explains Marilyn. With the support of her family behind her, and having enjoyed her previous NLC experience, Marilyn decided to enrol.

Marilyn enjoyed working in an office environment, thrived in the ‘busyness’ of it, and knew she had keen organizational skills. For these reasons, she felt earning a certificate in Business Administration would best align with her life goals. To upgrade her mathematics prior to enrolling in the Business Administration program, Marilyn completed NLC Academic Upgrading courses and particularly enjoyed learning new mathematical concepts. Once she started the Business Administration certificate program, she further realized how interested she was in working with numbers, specifically in accounting.

“As my certificate program was finishing, NLC sent out an email asking program participants if anyone would be interested in taking a Business Administration Diploma program through a partnership with Portage College. I thought, ‘yeah, I’ll try that!’ I had really enjoyed the small class sizes and I found it easy to make friends at the school. The instructors were also great – you can really talk to them, and they are very understanding.”

Upon graduating with a Business Administration Diploma in Accounting, Marilyn plans to use her new skills to manage office environments, and perhaps to move into business ownership or accredited accounting someday. Reflecting upon her time in school, Marilyn comments, “My spouse was a major supporter for me, especially when I felt overwhelmed. He always encouraged me, telling me, ‘I believe in you and know you can do it!’”

Her advice to others looking to further their education and increase their involvement in a new community? “Just go for it. If I can do it, you can too!”