Transforming Lives: Learners at AU is a testimonial series written by Athabasca University (AU) students and alumni who want to share how AU has helped shape their lives.
It’s a space to thank the people who provided help and support along the journey, and to share insight on how learning at AU has transformed their lives, careers, families, and communities.
These stories are worth shouting from the rooftops! Do you have an inspiring story to share? Email us! We’d love to hear it.
Like many Canadians who come from families in the lower-middle class, I was never told university was an option. Many of us are told to find a good job, a good partner, and try to stay out of debt. Growing up, my parents did not emphasize the importance of education beyond high school.
Naturally, when I graduated high school, I went from job to job until I found a decent employer and worked hard as an order picker for a distribution company. In that same year, I got married. In our second year of marriage, my wife received the amazing news that she was expecting our first child. It was then that I realized: I was not ready for a family. Or at least, I was not ready now, and I likely wouldn’t be in ten years when bills are at their highest and my career has not progressed. I began to research online post-secondary institutions to better myself and open up my opportunities.
“From my upbringing I learned that taking the ‘family first, education after’ path is possible and will make sure my children know this, too.”– Elijah Buchan, Bachelor of Management learner
Not long after my search began, I found Athabasca University (AU), a post-secondary institution that had an impressively wide variety of diplomas and degrees that could launch my career into the next stage. I reached out to AU and was connected with extremely helpful staff who talked to me about the Bachelor of Management three-year program. I was also set up with a financial aid advisor who helped me find out what kind of benefits and grants I could apply for.
I am now two years into my degree and am loving it! The principles I am learning have helped me in more ways than just my career. They’ve helped me become a better and more understanding person, helped me understand my finances more thoroughly, and they’ve helped me better understand other people’s perspectives in our diverse Canadian workforce.
My employer has taken note of my initiative and has promoted me since starting at AU. We also have a tentative plan in place to move me into a managerial role once my degree is complete. Thanks to AU’s flexibility, I can complete it in three years or 30!
Since I started thinking about post-secondary again after being out of high school for more than five years, I’ve asked myself if it’s too late many times. With AU, the answer is no! Never. Not when AU was willing and able to help me kickstart my education again and provide me with the tools and the knowledge to shape my own future.
From my upbringing I learned that taking the ‘family first, education after’ path is possible and will make sure my children know this, too. Not only is it possible—it’s also fun. My son and I get to speak with each other about what we are both learning in school.
For anyone: it’s definitely not too late to continue your education. AU can help you restart your future. And with the way they have designed their educational programs, you can begin your course next month, learn in the evenings or on weekends, and you’ll still have time for your job and your family.
I do, and I am forever grateful to AU for transforming my life!