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By Anna Sarkissian
You don’t often hear kids complaining about Mom studying all the time. Deborah Simon, single mother of two teenagers, was always hitting the books.
This month, she is wrapping up her bachelor of applied human sciences with a specialization in human relations and a minor in theatre.
“When I first started, I was thinking, oh, I could be their mothers,” Simon says of her classmates. She previously worked at Air Canada and IBM in technical and operations support before deciding to go back to school. Getting used to the age gap was a big adjustment. “But there were a lot of older students too and we all connected.”
In January, she coordinated and facilitated the first-ever support group program at the Concordia University Student Parent (CUSP) Centre. Over the course of a semester, the sessions covered a range of topics such as raising kids while going to school and stress management. Free childcare was provided by CUSP.
Giving back to the community is important to Simon, whether it’s at Concordia or through the performing arts. She has been involved in local theatre groups including the Echo Playback Theatre Troupe, the Community University Research Alliance’s Living Histories Theatre Ensemble and l’Aquarium et le Globe’s Diversité/Différence project. “I’ve always been involved in leadership roles,” she says, and even completed a leadership certificate in 2006. She has also been a teaching assistant for the past two years.
Though Simon is about to start her master’s in human systems interventions, she is relishing the time off with her kids.
“I don’t have to read. I don’t have to write a paper. I don’t have to put together a presentation,” she says, relieved. “I feel like I can breathe for a minute.”