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Jardine scores going back to school

Thursday, February 27, 2014
Former national hockey player Kristine Jardine displays her valedictorian award conferred by the University of New Brunswick, Canada. Photo: Robert Codallo

A life crisis for Kristine Jardine did not come about as a result of a near-death experience, a life-threatening disease or the loss of a job or loved one.


Jardine resigned from her position as a Consular Affairs Officer at the French Embassy on Maraval Road, Port-of-Spain, after 21 years’ service and returned to the classroom.


Four years and one semester later she graduated from the University of New Brunswick, Canada, with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and as the valedictorian of her class.


Kristine followed her twin sister Kathryn to Roytec where she pursued first the associate degree in management studies then continued to the bachelor of business administration, offered at Roytec and conferred by the University of New Brunswick, Canada. Her concentration was in human resources, finance and marketing.


The former national hockey player gave up her extra-curricular activities to concentrate on school work for three hours a day following her new job as a finance co-ordinator at Bourbon Offshore Trinidad Limited.


But why leave the embassy? 


Kristine said: “I had exhausted most tasks that locals can execute at the embassy and I could not imagine working for the next 20 years, doing the same thing, so I decided to make a change and switch fields. I got a job at Bourbon Offshore Trinidad Ltd—a company in the energy sector, based in Chaguaramas and which, for sure, was totally different from the Embassy.”


No stranger to challenges and hard work, Kristine delved into her studies as she did national hockey training.


She said: “Going back to the classroom was not easy—with a full-time job and doing classes on evenings and on Saturdays and Sundays. In addition to classes, there were midterm exams, end of term exams, and individual and group projects. 


“Almost every class had a group project to submit in between the midterm and end of term exams. It was a lot of work to prepare for both exams and projects so you never really had any free time for yourself—that was a bonus, if it came along. 


“Preparing for the degree comes with a sacrifice but to me, it was a sacrifice well worth it—education is one of the best investments we can make in ourselves—and also, I loved this new field, so different from languages.”


At the embassy, her job entailed consular affairs (processing passports, ID cards, preparing electoral lists, registering births, deaths and marriages of French nationals in T&T), and translating documents French/English. 


“Now I was doing admin and finance, so a bachelor’s degree in business administration was to me, a step in the right direction to acquiring the right skills and knowledge,” she said.


Why do it?


Kristine said: “Today, it’s a competitive, global economy where we are competing for just about everything. Jobs are no exception. Many require specialised skills and knowledge, along with practical training and in many instances, employers are looking for the most qualified.


“After all the assignments, projects and exams, achieving the bachelor’s degree was a great achievement and a sacrifice well worth it. Then when I was told that I was selected to be the valedictorian, it was truly an honour.


“The day after the graduation, at the University of New Brunswick Alumni Function, one of the professors told me that not only did I get the highest GPA at Roytec, I topped the list as well among the Canadians meaning that I had the highest GPA in T&T and at the University of New Brunswick, Canada—Wow! I was shocked.”


Did she miss the outdoors of the hockey field? 


“Hockey is a big part of my life, both parents played hockey and all my brothers and sisters (six siblings). I started playing hockey when I entered secondary School at Form One at St Joseph’s Convent, Port-of-Spain. 


“I have played competitively since then—in the school’s league, the T&T schoolgirls team, Ventures and the national team.”


“I even did some umpiring and coaching for a little bit. 


“I also love languages, give French lessons, am a member of the Alliance Francaise and sat on their executive board for a couple of years, but these extra-curricular activities had to take a back seat when I decided to go to Roytec and though I missed them, I enjoyed the years at Roytec.


As a national hockey player at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Mexico City in 1991, the versatile defender spent almost as much time on the hockey field as in the infirmary translating for players, administrators, as well as the chef-de mission Hasely Crawford when almost half the T&T national contingent at the Games was afflicted with Montezuma’s Curse.


What’s left for her? 


Kristine said: “I see myself pursuing the masters programme in HR/finance. Employers seek those with motivation and a drive to succeed and as more and more people expand their education, for me, completing the master’s programme will help me gain a competitive advantage in my new career path. 


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