The Hub Weathering the headwinds of life’s fierce storm
Transforming Lives: Moving Beyond

Weathering the headwinds of life’s fierce storm

By: JP Hare

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.

To know the story of why I chose Athabasca University as a challenge to take on, one must travel back to my childhood.

JP's mother
my mom (and mentor due to her overwhelming selflessness)

Though I understand my particular story has been told many times over the years, my family lived in government housing and subsisted on welfare. As a kid I never understood the larger factors that led to us being on welfare, but I understood I could help. From washing cars, assisting people to their cars with groceries, and shovelling the snow, to asking neighbours if they had milk for my mom’s tea, survival ruled my childhood. While the ability to be useful to those around me developed at a rapid pace, dealing with emotions grew to be a mountain too high to climb. As a result of this emotional immaturity, I became too overwhelmed in the summer of 2015, and had to leave a job that not only was I good at, but also provided my family with financial security. At this point, my personal and professional growth ground to a halt. 

Should I find another job or should I attend school to upgrade my thought framework?

During the summer, my wonderful wife and I planned our dream wedding. As this monumental event was unfolding, my thoughts were swirling around two major ideas. Should I find another job or should I attend school to upgrade my thought framework? In the end I chose to attend school but knew that my needs were incredibly specific. In a decision which proved to bear immense benefit, my wife chose to start her own tutoring business in late 2015 so that I could finish my degree. My part of our bargain involved taking care of every aspect of the house while she secured our financial stability. For instance, various duties always needed attending to such as cleaning, car maintenance, pets, cooking, and making her morning coffee! With all of this work came an inability to attend university in the conventional sense.  

JP and his wife
My beautiful wife and I on our wedding anniversary in Niagara-on-the-Lake

There are three major reasons I chose Athabasca University.

First, the flexibility gave me opportunities for accomplishing the small tasks that normally pile up in life. For example, I finished folding my laundry during breaks from a marketing unit.

Next, in success or failure, the onus, therefore the responsibility, was mine. Having recently left work due to stress, the challenge that Athabasca University presented afforded the chance to regain some measure of self-worth.

Lastly, online programs require that students are inclined technologically as well as possessing of the ability to learn independently, skills which I did not have prior to enrollment. Thus, Athabasca offered a unique way to acquire practical, real-world skills. 

“In success or failure, the onus, therefore the responsibility, was mine. Having recently left work due to stress, the challenge that Athabasca University presented afforded the chance to regain some measure of self-worth.”

– JP Hare

My future is secure, bright, and hopeful, all because I opened the door with a key given by AU.

Their premier learning system restored lost confidence in my ability to weather the headwinds of life’s fierce storm. Receiving a degree, while important, pales in comparison to getting an education 100% earned by my hands.  I am an advocate of this method and will preach the benefits to any that listen. 

My gratitude is eternal, my thinking is changed, my opportunities are endless, and it is all thanks to Athabasca University. 

JP is a passionate individual who, because of the wonder at his core, is dedicated to lifelong learning. He is thrilled to be finishing a four-year Bachelor of Management degree in Marketing at Athabasca University. He credits his time at Athabasca to his loving wife, without whom it would not be possible. As a devoted husband and cat-dad, JP has enjoyed life’s journey thus far and is excited to strengthen existing bonds as time goes on.        

  • March 2, 2020
Guest Blog from:
JP Hare