The Hub How Athabasca University’s flexible courses reignited my passion for learning

How Athabasca University’s flexible courses reignited my passion for learning

By: Deanna Malanchen, Bachelor of Arts, Political Science Major student

Transforming Lives: Learners of AU is an ongoing series where real students and alumni share how flexible online learning at Athabasca University (AU) made a difference in their lives and communities. Submit your story.

The decision to attend Athabasca University had a powerful, positive impact on my life. I am a student with learning disabilities. Before learning about Athabasca University (AU), I had given up on my academic career.

I had attended traditional classes at an Edmonton post-secondary where I studied web programming. While I enjoyed the coursework, my physical health and difficulties with the classroom setting resulted in me having to resign from my classes before I graduated.

At that point in time, I had given up on going to school.

Empowered by flexible learning

I didn’t think there was a setting that would empower me to continue along my academic journey. I was incredibly unmotivated and didn’t feel much passion about my prospects.

I was directed towards Athabasca University by a friend who worked for the university. They took time to explain to me how education could fit into my life again.

Flexible classes meant I could save money by continuing to work full time. The online classroom setting also meant I could control the pace I worked at.

While hesitant at first, I decided to check out what programs the university had. I was surprised by the vast number of classes I could enrol in, and the variety of programs offered.

Time to take my health seriously

I am a fairly independent student. It only took a few months for me to understand that Athabasca University was what I needed to help me get to the next phase of my life. The fact that I could adapt my classes to my schedule was a huge benefit.

AU allowed me to take my physical health seriously and take the time I needed to change my lifestyle. The classes I was taking were interesting and challenging, which kept me engaged even during difficult times.

Finding support in Accessibility Services

I greatly enjoyed the control I had over my schedule, and that I could work on the projects as fast as I wanted. When I needed to slow down for things I found difficult, the tutors were always there to answer any questions I had. It was thanks to them that I was directed towards Accessibility Services.

Any obstacles I faced with coursework were easily overcome thanks to the staff working with advising services, and with the dedication of the tutors that were teaching me.

I had never considered getting support for my learning disabilities before, but thanks to the knowledge and empathy of the staff, I was set up with additional learning supports that help me in my journey.

Thanks to my education at Athabasca University, I have changed my life, and found passion again. My classes have given me the prerequisite knowledge to start my own business, where I can combine my past experiences with what I have been learning in school.

Supporting small businesses

I now work helping small Albertan businesses with digital transformations and consulting work. I’m halfway through my degree now, and value of the confidence I have in my own abilities and in my education has been priceless.

It’s allowed me to take control of my life and become independent, while also having the capabilities of extending those benefits to my fellow community members.

I am looking forward to finishing my degree and becoming a proud alum of Athabasca University.

Transforming Lives: Learners of AU

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

Deanna Malanchen is a full-time student enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts, Political Science Major. Deanna enjoys learning history and new ways to support her local community. She lives in downtown Edmonton, Alta.

  • March 21, 2024
Guest Blog from:
Deanna Malanchen, Bachelor of Arts, Political Science Major student