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.
I started my Athabasca University journey when I had multiple surgeries on my left knee and one for my lower back.
I was a business owner for over 18 years, and those were my only “gifts:” I was good at being an entrepreneur and could perform manual labour.
I was left with three big problems. One, I became a person with disabilities, two, I had not received my high school degree, and three, I was left with physical disabilities and life changes.
A beautiful teacher named Mary Jane Katz helped me accomplish my high school equivalency, and prepared me for higher education. She believed in me so much.
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.
My wife is a huge support, as are my four kids. As a person with health issues and physical disabilities, the comfort of studying in my house has been easy—I find ways to control my chronic pain and continue to accomplish my journey at Athabasca University.
I have never thought I could learn this much, accomplishing knowledge that is connecting with my previous studies, making me envision who I want to be as person with disabilities, and giving my knowledge to the technology industry.
“Warriors get tired, but never, ever, give up on themselves. We keep pushing in life. The journey at Athabasca University as a warrior has just started!”– Henry Ochoa