Transforming Lives: Learners at AU is a testimonial series written by AU students and alumni who want to acknowledge how AU has helped shape their lives.
It’s a space for those who want to thank the people who have helped to support and transform their lives through Athabasca University; all while looking forward to their future educational and personal potential.
Their stories are worth shouting from the rooftops! Have an inspiring story of your own to share? Email us! We’d love to hear it.
After graduating from college, I got my first “career” job. It was a great feeling until the tech bubble burst and I, like so many others, was laid off. I was fortunate in that I found a job quickly as a bartender. Not quite my chosen path … so I started thinking of options. I managed to get another career job, but it was shift work that made it difficult to consider returning to school. Also, it wasn’t a position I wanted to be in long-term.
Athabasca University (AU) was the answer! With the flexibility of online learning, starting, and working through, courses at my own schedule, I felt I could do it!
I started taking courses in 2006 (I think) in a business program. The flexibility offered by AU allowed me to take courses whenever I had the time. Plus, I could work from anywhere. The staff, professors, and tutors were always incredibly helpful and responsive. With the help of the administration staff I was able to build my course plan to make sure I took the courses I needed for a degree. The tutors and professors always answered questions in a timely manner and made sure I knew what I needed to do. I am not going to say it was easy, but it was made easier having such a great support group guiding me through the process.
“As my educational career progressed, so did work and life. During this time, I had two amazing kids who grew up watching me ‘go to school’. They inspired me to continue and I like to think that I inspired them to consider learning as a life-long endeavour. Maybe as they progressed through elementary school, we would enjoy doing homework together.”– Gonzo Moreno
At work, it was noticed that I was managing my courses and work effectively (good time management skills are very helpful!) and was congratulated with good reviews, a promotion, and a raise. I worked with my employer to create a position that was needed, and that was interesting to me, using much of the knowledge I was getting from my course work. I was fortunate in that I got the chance to create my new position. My new role was 9sih to 5ish which made it a bit more difficult to do coursework and study. I will be honest; the overnight shifts were great for getting schoolwork done!
Again, the flexibility offered by AU allowed me to continue taking courses. Finally, in 2016, I graduated with a Bachelor of Management degree. As the saying goes, slow and steady wins the race. I was super proud of my achievement, as were my kids and wife. Not only did this help in my previous job, it also helped me in getting a new job in a more senior position.
Although I have that degree, I continue to look through the available courses to see what’s next. While I will probably not get another bachelor’s degree, there are many courses and certificates I am interested in. Again, the flexibility offered by AU means I can take a course just for fun and work towards a certificate. I really don’t know what the future has in store, but I can definitely see another AU course or two in the near future.