The Hub Christine Dubois: How AU’s flexibility allowed nursing learner to publish a children’s book
Transforming Lives: Learners at AU

Christine Dubois: How AU’s flexibility allowed nursing learner to publish a children’s book

By: Christine Dubois

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.

I always wanted to get a bachelor of science in nursing, but over the years life got busy. And then when I didn’t get in, I went into a different program. Later, I began to grow my family and going back to school to become a registered nurse was looking even more difficult. I have a very active five-year-old, and the McDonald’s play area was where I would go to study—while he and all the other children would scream, laugh, and play in a noisy echo chamber.

About five years ago, when I was pregnant with my son, my husband (who was in the navy), injured his back. We were forced to leave our beautiful military house near Royal Roads University (in Victoria, B.C.), and the ocean, local playground, and church across the street. We moved to Vernon, B.C. because the housing market at the time was much less expensive than Victoria.

Nursing learner Christine Dubois holds her first children's book

I waited until my kid started kindergarten before going back to school. I chose Athabasca University (AU) because schools in British Columbia do not offer programs that are as flexible, or as online. I can take my courses online, I don’t have to pay for parking, or panic that I will be late to pick my child up from school.

I’ve managed to work just under full-time hours—and avoid student loans in the process. Travelling to practicums, finding accommodation, and getting time off work all cost money. Wanting to find a way to earn extra money for practicums, I had hoped to use my three weeks of vacation time from work as an opportunity to get a second job. But then another COVID lockdown started and most businesses closed. I felt like I was going to die from boredom!

To keep my brain busy, I thought it would be a cute project to create a book to read to my son. As I was working on it, I thought, “why not just publish this book?” Maybe I could use it as a fundraiser for school expenses.

“I can take my courses online, I don’t have to pay for parking, or panic that I will be late to pick my child up from school.”

I spent three weeks illustrating the book (it’s about dragons—my son loves dragons—and a mermaid, which I always liked to imagine, being from an island). It took a few weeks to finish the book, working around a busy schedule. I worked a few days a week, did my homework in the mornings, and took my son on fun excursions. In the evening, after bedtime and the chores were done, I got to work on the book when I some free time to myself.

At times, I didn’t fully believe in myself and questioned if I was using my time wisely. During the first two weeks after publication, I was feeling a down and being hard on myself. The next day I woke up to see that my book, The Dragon Meets a Mermaid, was on a hot release list on Amazon! I also had my first interview with the local news outlet in Vernon!

The first book was so cute I decided to write another. I am currently working on another book, which I estimate it will be done next summer. It will be a short young adult novel, about mermaids of course. I never thought I would be a published author, but somehow it happened!

Christine Dubois is a creative soul from Vernon, B.C., where the nearest university offering a bachelor of science in nursing was an hour away.  She chose AU for its flexibility.  Without having to commute daily, she could still care for her family, work at her job, and pursue creative projects.

  • July 30, 2021
Guest Blog from:
Christine Dubois