The Hub Transforming Lives: Learners at AU
Transforming Lives: Learners at AU

Transforming Lives: Learners at AU

We want to share your story! 

We know it isn’t easy to balance careers, education, family, and all of life’s other responsibilities. The stories of how our learners juggle everything in their lives is a constant source of inspiration for us.

How has Athabasca University transformed your life? How have your educational dreams with AU transformed your community? Has the flexibility we offer allowed you to do things you never thought possible while learning at a university? 

Nobody can tell the story of the transformative power of Athabasca University better than our students and alumni. That’s where our Transforming Lives: Learners at AU series comes in.

We’re looking for:

  • A 400-600 word personal essay outlining the reasons you chose AU, how the flexibility has helped you achieve your goals, and a bit about what your future might have in store.
  • We also need 3 or 4 photos: a picture of you, a picture of you and your mentor, a picture of your inspirations, your favourite study spot, your work space… you get the idea!
  • Each entrant will receive an Athabasca University swag bag full of exclusive AU swag and be entered to win one of four Google Home Minis!

See the samples below to get the creative juices flowing, then send us your submissions to Those who submit will be entered to win one of four Google Home devices this year!


Norah Surcon: Born for greatness

“Although my career took me on a very different path, a lot of what I learned there proved applicable to how I spend my days now. AU has allowed me to broaden my horizons and to learn at my own pace — when, and where, I can find the time. Since enrolling last year, my newly acquired skills have already afforded me opportunities for career advancement, I spent 10 years as a financial advisor, and am now taking the leap into management, with future potential of leading my own team, or maybe even an entire district.”

Natricia Walters: Triple threat and loving it

Natricia Walters and her kids. Mother's Day Transforming LIves: Moving Beyond student testimonial Athabasca University AU AthabascaU Bachelor of Commerce Triple Threat

“Now at the prime age of 35, I am a triple threat. I am a full-time single mom to my two amazing children, a full-time healthcare worker by day, and a full-time student by night, working on my second degree. Athabasca University (AU) has allowed me to hold dear all the things that I cherish in my life while creating a better life for my children. I am able to be there for them while studying and still being able to provide financially for their basic needs.

There are days when giving up seems to be the most viable option, but how can I when I have an amazing institution as AU pushing me toward my goals? I enjoy the flexibility of working on my courses when I can and wherever I can. I am grateful for the caring professors that I can call on whenever I need assistance.”

Brad Arsenault: Commanding his next chapter

Brad Arsenault and his wife

“A special thank-you go to my five-year-old daughter, Nora, and my son, Alexander, who, at the time of this writing is, three. They often see me in front of my computer, pounding away on the keyboard, or vigorously writing in a notebook. They inspire me daily and I, in turn, see that I am inspiring them. As my daughter often tells me: “I can’t wait to be in Grade One, Daddy — so I can do homework with you!”

There is no doubt that I would not be able to succeed without the unending support of my family.”

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  • January 27, 2021