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 alongside your family life, personal life, and work life. We would also love to know a bit about what you have planned for your future!
  • Provide us with three or four photos we can choose from to use on social media and in the piece on the Hub. If you would like to take a new photo, ensure a great one by taking a selfie from the shoulders up against a plain background and avoid shadows on the face caused by hats, sunglasses, or anything else that obstructs.
  • Each writer a published article will receive an Athabasca University swag bag full of exclusive AU swag. 

See the samples below to get the creative juices flowing, then send us your submissions to

Baljeet Bilkhu: Learning at AU opened a new path to professional success

Baljeet Bilkhu

“I dreaded going back to school and initially had doubts as to whether I would succeed. I was in my late forties at the time with a growing family and had not gone to school for a quarter century. Registering for the Master of Science Information Systems program at Athabasca University was a breeze. Due to my experience, I was accepted to start learning in September 2019.”

Nazira Chatur: An educational gift

Photo of Za and her family with an orange filter

“I have chosen to restart my life after the age of 50 and build a better me. I tackled many traumas the last few years: facing panic attacks, anxiety attacks, having major surgeries, and catching tumours when they were beginning. It was a rough ride, but it’s all better now and school has actually been the best medicine and motivator.

You will never regret joining AU. The professors helped me so much guiding me on how to plan myself for projects, and also giving encouraging feedback to submitted assignments. I love being back learning.”

Robyn Hanson: How online learning allowed this communicator to flourish

“After completing my Bachelor of Professional Arts in Communication Studies through AU, I began a master of education program that was also online. Through this process I learned I had undiagnosed attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which explained the challenges I had following lectures. Those with ADHD often lose focus during lectures, which can be discouraging as they feel like they are always trying to catch up. Or, even when those with ADHD do manage to follow a lecture, they can become overwhelmed trying to understand what information is most important. 

AU’s format and completing courses at my own pace and timelines helped me realize that I am smart, but that traditional models of learning do not work for me. Completing my undergraduate degree fuelled my love of learning and gave me confidence to not only complete my master’s, but also find my passion for speaking about ADHD and how the human brain processes and learn information differently.”

Henry Ochoa: Why this warrior keeps fighting

accommodating students with disabilities ASD Athabasca University online university online learning transforming lives

“From there it was a journey to successfully accomplish two technology diplomas in college, and I am now enrolled at Athabasca University in the Bachelor of Computer Science and Information Technology program. I’m currently enrolled in three courses.

I’ve had many setbacks, however. Just recently I had two surgical procedures on my lower back nerves.

My future holds a lot of opportunities and doors left to open. Just like the way I learned to walk after my surgeries and setbacks, I will continue my journey in technology and maybe pursue a business degree or cybersecurity specialization. Finding a school that understands that people with disabilities want and need to have flexibility is difficult. Education is the number-one priority for a person with physical limitations.”

Maribel Jody: Nurse finds freedom in AU’s flexibility

Maribel Jody: Nurse finds freedom in AU’s flexibility

“Knowing that AU is supporting me throughout my program provides me courage, comfort, and drive to keep reaching toward my goal and completing this program successfully. As a nurse who is currently working full-time, I am grateful that a convenient university such as AU exists. AU gives me flexibility and peace of mind knowing I can continue working my usual job shifts while pursuing my master’s on my days off. 

I am looking forward to my online journey with AU and the opportunities that it will provide after graduating. I have thought of pursuing a leadership-type position as a nurse ever since I completed my bachelor’s degree. Nothing would make me happier than to be educating the next generation of nursing students.

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  • January 27, 2021