Carla Cyr: always dreaming
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.
When I was five, I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. When I was ten, I knew what I hoped to be when I grew up, but I knew to set realistic goals. When I was fifteen, I had given up on the grand career aspirations of my childhood and was just trying to survive each day. At twenty, I had tried and meandered on to community college, I had no plan, no ideas and was completely disillusioned.
I was no slouch, I loved to learn, but life seemed to have different plans for me. Every turn I took, there was always another hurdle to overcome, another loss to bear, and eventually I became tired of trying and just stopped. I grew up in less-than-ideal circumstances, in a family that was not a family—I spent much of my time focused on surviving, neglecting my studies.
By the time I graduated high school, all I could think about was grabbing my then boyfriend, now husband, and getting as far away as I reasonably could. I had known about Athabasca University back in my college days. I was in school to become a licensed practical nurse and while life had gotten me down, I still held dreams of pushing on and succeeding further in life. I had wanted to transition to the Bachelor of Nursing program, then eventually to the Masters of Nursing program, hoping to one day become a hotshot ER nurse. Unfortunately, even though I had temporarily escaped my circumstances, life has a way of biting back and it decided that I had not had enough bumps and threw a few more at me that completely derailed that plan. Pregnancy losses, complicated family drama, no funds and student loans to repay from my previous failed attempts to better myself, I felt hopeless.
“I have the chance to be something, to do something, and to finally embrace that five-year-old who wanted to take on the world. I have been held back so long by toxic relationships, by finances, and by myself… Athabasca has liberated me from all of that.”
Finally, after many more trials, many more heartaches and many more hurdles, I made it.
Ten years later, I am now a student at Athabasca University. I am studying Anthropology and Psychology, hoping to one day go to law school. Athabasca has given me the chance to do something I had thought from the tender age of ten, was likely an impossibility.
I am the first in my family to attend university, and with the support of my loving husband and two amazing kiddos, I am going to succeed. The online-anytime component allows me the flexibility to go to school and still be home with my kiddos, which is essential with my husband’s military career taking him away from home quite often.
I have the chance to be something, to do something, and to finally embrace that five-year-old who wanted to take on the world. I have been held back so long by toxic relationships, by finances, and by myself… Athabasca has liberated me from all of that.
Earning a university degree, making more of myself than my very humble upbringings would suggest, is a dream come true and it has all been made accessible by the openness and acceptance I have found with AU.