Transforming Lives: Moving Beyond 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 AU experience to achieve their greatest successes; all while looking forward to their future educational and personal potential.
Their story is worth shouting from the rooftops! Have an inspiring story of your own to share? Email us! We’d love to hear it.
Ability to upgrade my education, while still working
Athabasca University (AU) offers as many opportunities as traditional universities. Even though many students learn online at their own pace, faculty expect the same quality of work as they would face to face.
AU’s distance-learning model allowed me to upgrade my education while gaining valuable experience in the Ontario college sector, where I work closely with faculty and a team of teaching consultants who advise professors on their pedagogical practices. In the short time since I’ve graduated, I’ve used my newfound knowledge to enhance the online and social media presence of my department, and communicate with greater confidence to 1,500 faculty, executive deans, and vice presidents.
How I've been keeping busy
I’m also active in my local literature scene, having independently published my debut novel, “Passage to Portrainia,” available as a paperback and Kindle eBook on Amazon, and online at Indigo Books and Music. Falling under the fantasy genre, my novel explores lucid dreaming as a trainable ability to complete a quest, a phenomenon that is uncommon in fantasy literature.
It went through five or six unpublished drafts over several years with each one having many different settings. The novel will be available at my local Indigo store in Waterloo Region later in 2020 or early 2021, before which I will appear in a promotional video as part of a virtual storytelling initiative.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a new normal in our society. Working and learning look different than they did only a few months ago, and they will for the foreseeable future. Current and prospective AU learners may find themselves working remotely (for those who plan to keep their jobs while studying) and tending to personal responsibilities. When I began my studies at AU, the Learner Support Services provided me with a calendar, so I could chunk down assignments, readings, and exams into manageable steps for each course that I was enrolled in.
My advice to students is to budget your time wisely. Establish a working relationship with professors and communicate with them frequently. Email snippets of assignments you’re completing to ensure you’re on the right track, and seek support if you’re falling behind due to extenuating circumstances in your life.
“My advice to students is to budget your time wisely. Establish a working relationship with professors and communicate with them frequently.”– Wesley Butler
My personal journey is...
My personal journey landed me here, at AU, and my future goals are more attainable. I intend to grow in the higher education sector, primarily in the field of communications (having two-way conversations with faculty, employees, managerial staff, and alumni). Where publishing literature is concerned, I aim to sell to more bookstores across Canada and internationally, and work with traditional publishers.
A graduate of the Bachelor of Professional Arts in Communication Studies, Wesley Butler specializes in communications and academic administration within the Ontario college sector. A self-published author and former freelance writer, Wesley has served as associate editor of FAME Canada, an online arts and culture magazine, and as a feature writer and reviewer for Independent Music Promotions.