The Hub Elia Gindin: Building on the future
Transforming Lives: Learners at AU

Elia Gindin: Building on the future

By: Elia Gindin

I had been in university for a couple of years after high school and things just weren’t going right for me.

I wasn’t used to the large classes and I had no idea what it actually was I wanted to do in life. This, coupled with the fact that I had just moved to Calgary from Winnipeg, made thinking about the future an arduous daily activity.

After deciding to move to South Korea and New Zealand to teach English as a second language for a few years, I knew that one day I would have to return to university and finish what I started. However, I knew that those larger class sizes weren’t going to go away, which resulted in some anxious thinking my last few weeks overseas.

Welcome (back) to Canada

When I returned to Canada, I knew that I wanted to be a teacher and that I wanted to get my degree done quickly. That is when someone mentioned to me to take some online courses with Athabasca University (AU) to complement the courses I was registered for at Mount Royal University (MRU).

Online learning, I thought? Like, working on my own at my own pace? I immediately dismissed this idea as I didn’t think I’d have the fortitude and self-discipline to get work done on my own. However, as I quickly realized that fast tracking my schooling wasn’t going to work without doing some courses at AU, I registered, and away I went.

“I didn’t think I’d have the fortitude and self-discipline to get work done on my own.”

It was one of the best decisions I made during those early days being back in Canada. I was now determined, inspired, and ready to take my future in my own hands and do what I had to do to become an educator. I ended up loving school again and graduated with my history degree (with distinction), jointly from AU and MRU.

Those stimulating years learning with AU gave me the motivation to continue on, eventually achieving a Bachelor of Education degree at the University of Calgary and then doing something I never thought I’d be able to do: receiving my Master in Education degree at the University of Alberta through online learning. Without my previous experiences at AU I would have never had the confidence or courage to try distance learning again.

I currently work at Foundations for the Future Charter Academy in Calgary as an eighth-grade humanities teacher. Not only do I love my career here, I also remember the days of working at my own pace, which has made me a better teacher today. It helps me understand my students’ needs, while being able to differentiate their learning through patience and guidance, much like my needs when I took a variety of AU courses many years ago.

  • September 5, 2019
Guest Blog from:
Elia Gindin