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Transforming Lives: Learners at AU

Marietta Holmes: Age is not a barrier to learning

By: Marietta Holmes

Transforming Lives: Learners at AU is a testimonial series written by AU learners and alumni who want to share how AU helped shape their lives.

It’s a space for the people who have provided support and encouragement throughout their journey. It’s also a forum for sharing how AU is helping them achieve their educational goals and realize their future 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.

By my late 40s, I had built a good life for myself. I had an excellent career working with a great company in the oil industry. I had a post-secondary education, with a certificate in accounting that I earned in my early 20s from a technical institution. But there was always one thing I had dreamed about: a university degree.  

I could not see it happening. I was working full time, a single parent to a lovely teenager, and thought I was past my prime for learning new things. I just did not have the time for studies and the idea seemed overwhelming.  

“I just turned 51 and am proud to say I just started my final two courses! ”

– Marietta Holmes

After discussing this with a good friend and colleague, she convinced me to apply to Athabasca University (AU). AU did a wonderful job assessing my work experience and any courses I had completed previously. They also helped me create a list of courses I would need to complete to obtain a degree.  

At one point, I thought the coursework might be too much and I would end up dropping out. However, a fantastic administrator contacted me and asked me what I wanted to do in higher education. He worked closely with me to adjust my workload to ensure I could achieve my dream.  

Sharing my story is important because so many people feel that age might be a barrier to pursuing a degree, or they will not be able to find the time because of all the things on their plate. I accomplished my goal by taking one course at a time and breaking it down further to one assignment or exam at a time.  

I just turned 51 and am proud to say I just started my final two courses! 

Being a strong female role model to my teenage daughter is important. I want her to see that, if you have a dream of achieving something, getting there at any stage in life is possible. With a push from my friend, assistance from AU, and a little drive and focus, I’m just a few steps away from completing a dream I never thought possible.  

I can’t wait to post a picture when I am finally holding my degree. Not only will my daughter get to see this, but my friends, family, and their children will too. Maybe I can inspire someone else around me to do the same! 

I’m extending a great big thanks to Athabasca University for providing the flexibility and guidance to make this student’s dream come true! 

Marietta Holmes is a 51-year-old parent to her 16-year-old daughter Cecelia. Raised in Calgary, she has been working in the oil and gas industry as an accountant for the past 15 years. She insists, accountants can be very creative too! When she has time, she enjoys writing, painting and singing.  She is excited to be on the verge of becoming an alumni at Athabasca University.

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  • November 26, 2021
Guest Blog from:
Marietta Holmes