Transforming Lives: Learners at AU is a testimonial series, written by AU students and alum, who want to acknowledge the people in their lives who have helped to mold and transform their AU experience and achieve their greatest successes. Their gratitude toward these integral individuals is worth shouting from the rooftops! We, too, thank these most important people for allowing the AU authors to achieve their educational goals. Read the other Transforming Lives: Learners at AU testimonials. Have an inspiring story of your own to share? Email us! We’d love to hear it.
When I met my husband, Ben, 8 years ago, I was working as a registered nurse having just finished my bachelor degree. We were discussing our career dreams and I told him mine was to complete a masters of nursing program. About two years ago one evening he said, “so I think its time you went after your masters.” I researched programs and found a perfect fit with Athabasca University. Just after I was accepted to the Masters of Nursing, Nurse Practitioner program, we found out we were expecting our second child. I freaked out! I thought how can I juggle full time school a busy toddler and full-time work? Ben said, “I believe in you, and you can do it. I’ll help any way I can.”
The first semester was hard. I had mom and pregnant brain and a lot of self doubt and my ability to be successful. However, Ben was by my side reminding me my brain had not been lost in the pregnancy and made time to watch our son so I could read, study, or write an exam. As much as I wavered in believing that I could be successful in this program, he never wavered in his belief that I would be.
Since we welcomed our daughter in February 2017, life has been busier than I imagined. I returned to my program for the summer session and it was hard. But with my family I did it.
Belief from the support system
Ben has had to travel during the week for work this past year, and when big papers or projects are due, he will sit up on the phone for as long as it takes to help me proofread. One night a few months ago, I was panicking and thought this nursing paper was terrible and certain I was going to fail. Ben calmed me down and stayed up with me until after one in the morning proofreading, even though he had to be up before six and had a fourteen-hour work day scheduled. When we finished proofreading he said, “Jackie this paper is great, I can’t tell you if the nursing stuff is correct, but it sure sounds good,” and with that I submitted it. As usual he was right and I got an A+ on that paper (don’t tell him I said he was right though).
I’m nearing the end of my maternity leave and will return to a job that is physically and emotionally difficult, while balancing a 11-month daughter and a busy 3-year-old that attends preschool twice a week and of course full-time studies. Ben again said to me, ‘don’t stress we’ve got this.’ If Ben had not come into my life and listened to my dreams, I can honestly say I would not be here at Athabasca University pursuing this education.
Ben and I continue to look forward into our future and we have a plan on how we can work together following graduation to fulfill another dream: opening an urgent care walk-in clinic in our city. I continue to doubt if I can be a nurse practitioner, but he never falters, he simply says, ‘yes you can’, and ‘together we can do it.’
I am filled with gratitude to the village that has helped me so far: our parents for watching the kids for me when Ben is away, my coworkers for letting me sneak in some reading between cases, and my friends who tell me endlessly they are proud of me. I have realized dreams really are possible if you have someone who believes in you, even when you don’t, and supports you through it all. There are no words for how grateful I am to Ben and his love and belief in me.
Jackie Foreman is 38 and has been working as an Registered Nurse since 2006. She met her husband in 2008; they married in 2015 and had their son, Braxton, in 2014 and daughter, Kensington, in 2017. Jackie and her husband love Volkswagen Beetles and love cruising it through the Rockies. Jackie works at the Chinook regional hospital in Lethbridge, Alberta performing endoscopy procedures. She is in her 5th semester at Athabasca University in the Nurse Practitioner program. All of us here at AU believe in her too!