The Hub AU experience a ‘win-win’ for psychology major

AU experience a ‘win-win’ for psychology major

By: Josh Flis, Bachelor of Arts, Psychology Major student

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.

Athabasca University (AU) has offered me a new lease on life, a true second chance.

I am a second-year student studying and working towards my Bachelor of Arts, Psychology Major. Learning how to use new communication formats is helping me to evaluate my own thinking more carefully.

Being able to work at my own pace creates a sense of personal accountability that was missing in my life. Creating papers that echo my unique world view has helped to rebuild my self-confidence.

“Being able to work at my own pace creates a sense of personal accountability that was missing in my life. Creating papers that echo my unique world view has helped to rebuild my self-confidence.”

– Josh Flis, Bachelor of Arts, Psychology Major student

Healthy, raw, win/lose competition shaped and prepared me for an unfair world. I grew up in a small town in Ontario with a major-junior team, 10 churches, and three bars. If you’ve lived in a similar setting, then you’d know how close to the traditional Canadian culture my life has always been.

Thankfully, our stable, blue-collar community modelled a supportive social framework. Now, pressing fast-forward, while living far from home and alone in Toronto, I felt a sinking disappointment in my individual performance as an adult.

This loss of confidence felt like a gutted sense of purpose and became an apocalypse in my psyche. Yet it was this crisis which became the catalyst for my journey into the intellectual crucible of education, and Athabasca University!

Network points me toward Athabasca University

I knew several professionals from the finance and pharmaceutical sectors who had successfully obtained their Master of Business Administration (MBA) with AU. These were mature and accomplished people who were actively working and studying while managing growing families, and who were all spread out across the various provinces, too!

Athabasca University has always been strategically positioned to support Canadians in a way that aligns with our national ethos of practicality.

Originally, my idea was to follow the path of my peers and take a business stream, but the choice to take a risk, to follow my gut, and to enter a science-based stream ultimately won my commitment.

The AU online learning experience

My education with AU is a win-win situation.

Each semester is like a bracket in the playoffs of this current season of my life. The tutors and professors collaborate to coach me. The assessments are all stressfully wonderful opportunities to execute under pressure.

When an unexpected grade is received, it comes with feedback! My experience at AU isn’t solo; the team of alumni and richness of AU’s culture represents a proud history. I may not have the traditional dorm-experience—and I am certainly not partying!

The AU student life is a widespread, interconnected online existence where the sacrifice of traditional, face-to-face intellectual combustion is ingeniously repurposed for our digital age.

open book

Professional pursuits

The future of my life resembles a forest with many paths. I don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel, I see the light of the sun breaking through the tops of the trees.

Although I am still interested in pursuing a profession having to do with organizational leadership, perhaps I’ll write a book instead? I can now see myself potentially supporting other people through challenging times as a doctor or a lawyer.

However, my passion for exploring and discovering meaning in a multi-dimensionally nuanced world could simply be directing, exposing, and refining my future as a—dare I say it—teacher!  (Insert head-exploding emoji! 🤯)

I have always interpreted my history as some, beautifully disastrous montage of life. Like a vibrantly contrasted, primordial liquid mural, colourfully painted along the structures of my memory with the inks of experience, by the brushstrokes of my choices.

At AU I’m learning how to think with new palettes, gaining new skills to use in a competitive global world, and loving every moment.

Transforming Lives: Learners of AU

Read more profiles of AU students and grads in our series Transforming Lives: Learners of AU.

Josh Flis is a full-time, mature student enrolled in Athabasca University’s Bachelor of Arts, Psychology Major. Josh enjoys learning about the complexities of human behaviour and approaches discovery with a blend of humility and ambition. He lives in Barrie, Ont.

  • December 7, 2023
Guest Blog from:
Josh Flis, Bachelor of Arts, Psychology Major student