How a counselling grad and psychologist found a path to helping others
Transforming Lives: Learners of AU is an ongoing series where real students and alumni share how flexible online learning at Athabasca University made a difference in their lives and communities. Submit your story.
My academic journey began in the structured world of the biological sciences, where I pursued both bachelor’s and master’s degrees. As I immersed myself in my master’s research, I realized something crucial was missing: the warmth of human interaction and the fulfilment of directly helping others. This revelation was the catalyst for a significant shift in my career trajectory.
I found myself irresistibly drawn to the helping profession, beginning with an impactful role in a residential program for children. This new path was fulfilling in ways I hadn’t imagined. It ignited a passion within, leading me to a pivotal moment and deciding to become a therapist.
“I realized something crucial was missing: the warmth of human interaction and the fulfilment of directly helping others. This revelation was the catalyst for a significant shift in my career trajectory.”– Rod Mitchell (Master of Counselling ’17)
Embracing flexibility at Athabasca University
The transition to a career in therapy, however, presented a new challenge: balancing a demanding job with the pursuit of further education. This is where Athabasca University (AU) became a crucial part of my narrative.
The flexibility of AU’s Master of Counselling program was the solution I needed, allowing me to work during the day and engage in my studies at night.
The online format offered the perfect blend of convenience and quality, eliminating the need for commuting while providing a rich educational experience from my home.
The educational experience at AU was not just enriching, it was transformative. The professors were more than educators; they were mentors who fostered deep and diverse discussions, mirroring the varied backgrounds of my peers.
The online forums buzzed with a tapestry of shared knowledge and experiences, creating a supportive and dynamic learning community.
Fulfilling a dream: A life of helping and growing
Fast forward to today, and thanks to AU, I’m a registered psychologist in Alberta. I proudly lead my own practice, Therapy Calgary Emotions Clinic, and contribute my expertise to a women’s emergency shelter. My days are filled with the rewarding work of helping others, a dream made possible by my time at AU.
After completing my degree, I embarked on another beautiful journey—starting a family.
The birth of my children following my graduation. This added a new layer of joy and responsibility, marking a continuation of my life’s journey of growth and change.
This personal milestone has enriched my life, giving me new perspectives and motivations in my professional endeavours.
Looking to the future, I’m excited about the opportunities that lie ahead. My plans include growing my practice, deepening my impact in mental health advocacy, and continuing to learn and grow, both professionally and personally.
My educational journey at AU taught me a valuable lesson: life is full of unexpected turns and embracing them can lead to fulfilling destinations.
As I reflect on my path, I am grateful for every twist and turn that led me here. Athabasca University didn’t just provide me with a degree; it paved a new path in my life, one that I embrace wholeheartedly.
Transforming Lives: Learners of AU
Read more profiles of AU students and grads in our series Transforming Lives: Learners of AU.