AU’s flexibility leads to financial freedom for 2-time grad
Transforming Lives: Learners of AU is an ongoing series where real students and alumni share how AU’s flexible learning model made a difference in their lives and, in turn, the communities in which they live and work. Submit your story.
Jennifer Bouley goes from struggling financially to helping others as a career development professional
In 2007, I graduated from college with a diploma in social service work. I was happy with my accomplishments, but I knew I wanted more. I needed flexibility and the ability to work full-time so that I could begin to progress in my career while furthering my education.
I had an idea of what I wanted to do, but at first was unsure of which university was right for me. I was introduced to AU by a career counsellor and during my research, I came across the Bachelor of Human Resources and Labour Relations program. It’s a 3-year degree and I was able to get credit for some courses because AU recognized my previous education.
“Because of AU's flexibility, I was able to accept a job with a major Canadian telecommunications company and go to school.”– Jennifer Bouley (Bachelor of Human Resources and Labour Relations ’12, University Certificate in Career Development ’21)
When I started my degree, I was greatly supported by the school. AU has all the offerings of a brick-and-mortar university except courses are delivered virtually. Because of AU’s flexibility, I was able to accept a job with a major Canadian telecommunications company and go to school. Between AU and my job, I was able to gain experiences I would have never thought possible both financially and professionally.
Overcoming financial and personal struggles
When I started my degree, I was in a hard place financially and not the best place personally. I struggled with depression and anxiety, and with paying the bills. With AU’s flexibility, I was able to work at my own pace, extending courses if needed, or complete courses at a faster pace if I felt it was possible. I could also take academic breaks if needed.
Because of AU, my career has been diverse. My degree, which I earned in 2012, allowed me to work in the corporate world, but I also owned and operated a career coaching practice. I have also worked in corporate and agency recruitment and as a freelance consultant.
Volunteering with AUSU
When I returned to AU in 2018 to pursue a university certificate, I became involved as a volunteer with the Athabasca University Student Union. This was a great opportunity to get to know other students and to see what their struggles and experiences were like while attending an online university.
Overall, AU has provided me with the opportunity to work at my own pace, and complete 2 programs! In the future, I plan to continue my work as a career development professional and helping others find meaningful careers.