Linden Alumna Melanie Hickey Discusses Her Experience as a Linden Parent
Melanie Hickey attended Linden in the mid-90s and graduated in Grade 8. She returned to Linden in 2017 to enroll her daughter in our early learning program. She recently spoke with us about Linden’s impact on her educational journey, her career, and experience as a Linden parent.
Linden: Do you remember how you and your family discovered Linden and could you tell us a bit about your experience as a student?
It was actually my mom who suggested Linden because of its girl-centred focus and small classes. I remember loving the unique ways of learning and thinking about the world. Some of my favourite memories include standing on a chair singing “upside down you turn me” while learning about dividing fractions and a whole geography class about how shopping malls are designed to encourage consumption. I was particularly excited about the focus on gender in history, which was quite the contrast from public school and sparked an interest that played a significant role in me going on to earn my Masters in History.
Linden: What led you back to Linden to enroll your daughter here? Tell us about your experience as a Linden parent.
We wanted our daughter to learn and grow in a diverse environment that would help her excel both academically and socially. We loved that even as a four-year-old, she would be given an opportunity to speak in front of the whole school to help her develop her voice. The inquiry-based nature of the early years program and the CERES lab also really impressed us. Another draw was the opportunity for girls in different grades to interact and mentor each other.
As a Linden parent, it’s been wonderful to share memories of the school with my daughter. We’ve also really appreciated being welcomed into the Linden community, especially since the small class sizes facilitate building relationships with other families and the faculty.
Linden: Do you have any advice for prospective families?
Take advantage of opportunities to attend an open house and/or school events. Even though I was familiar with the school it was really beneficial to see the students in action and the school’s atmosphere. For us, the Social Justice Data Fair provided insight into how much even the youngest students could accomplish. Further, watching our Grade 6 tour guide interact with the early learners demonstrated the depth of the relationships between different age groups.
Linden: Thank you for volunteering with Linden’s Alumnae Committee. Could you share some of the initiatives and goals you have been working on?
The Alumnae committee is a new board committee. A key goal is to build on the work of previous alumnae to enhance the ways in which former Linden students can maintain their connection with the school. Overall, we hope our efforts will benefit both alumnae and the school community as a whole by providing an opportunity for alumnae to share their skills and experience, build and maintain relationships and convey their take on what makes Linden such a special place.
Linden: Can you update us on your post-secondary educational choices, and your current work?
After high school, I earned both my BA and MA in history from Queen’s University with a focus on social and gender history. My first job was for a national political party and I now work in risk management for an accounting firm.
Linden: What experiences helped shape your current interests and career?
While my history degree, my political experience and my career in risk management may seem unrelated, I’ve found that everything I’ve done so far has helped me find success in my current field. For example, my degrees are indispensable even though they don’t specifically relate to my current work. One of the reasons is that they taught me how to work through and process a substantial amount of information in a short time. Another is that the study of history, in particular, helps develop an understanding that there are several points of view in any situation. My political experience also provided an essential background in project management and governance that I couldn’t do my current work without.
Linden: Do you have any advice for Linden students who might be interested in following a similar career path?
From my experience, I would say don’t feel bad about studying something that doesn’t feel “practical” as it might have applications you haven’t considered. If risk management, in particular, is of interest, any experience you can gain in project management, systems and governance will serve you well. My field has people from various backgrounds who are able to learn and adapt quickly, communicate well and analyze data.