This Week, A Letter FROM The Editor

February 19, 2003

Sadly, we have no letters to the editor this week. I’ve been concerned about this – and the general lack of reader response lately – but I have decided that this as a challenge! As your new editor, the challenge is mine to meet.

The notice from AUSU last week told you all a little bit about me, and anyone who has read my bio on the AUSU councillors page [I guess it’s time we remove that] knows a little bit more. Many of you, I imagine, have no idea who I am.

Let me tell you, then, a few things you might want to know:

First, I am an AU student, taking a bachelor of arts with a major in Psychology, or Woman’s Studies, or both. I’m having a little trouble nailing it down, but I’m enjoying myself and slowly making my way toward a parchment of some kind.

I started taking courses in late 1998, at which time I tried to complete an absurd 15 courses per year. That only lasted for one year, and several of those courses were extended well into the following year: I clearly bit off more than I could chew. Now I’m working more slowly, both due to the workload of the higher level courses and the staggering financial drain of today’s tuition.

In 2001, I began working for the Voice as a weekly columnist, which was my first step toward beginning to understand the diverse and distant community that is the Athabasca University student body. AU students are everywhere – believe me – but we are nearly invisible and may pass by each other on the street or in a store and never know that we share a common AU bond. That bond is so much of what is missing for distance education students.

I have believed since I first read the Voice that it is the most valuable student service offered at AU. I am very thankful that the Students’ Union created, and continues to fund, the Voice and I am excited about making the paper accessible to as many AU students as possible.

This is why I decided last month to leave my position as an AUSU councillor and apply as Voice editor. I’m delighted that I have this job, and I have very big plans for the paper. I want it to be even more enlightening, and much more entertaining. New columns are starting soon, and a whole new look and format is just around the corner. I hope you all like the changes to come. I am especially excited to be taking over at this time, with the Voice’s tenth anniversary quickly approaching. Look to the May editions of the Voice for a retrospective of our paper, and archives from our entire ten year history to be available on the website soon.

To begin the transition to the new Voice format, two new columns have been introduced: X-Press and Featured Fiction.

The X-Press column, as the name might imply, features brief press releases from educational institutions and other organizations that impact education. I hope that by seeing what others universities are offering you will get ideas for using your skills in new ways and become inspired by the multitude of education and career options that await you.

This is to be a main focus of the Voice: How to think creatively when it comes to your educational goals, so that you can apply your education to the things that mean most to your life and create a career that will truly suit you. I want you to inspire you – and myself as well – to “?do what you love’ in a way that will also make you successful.

I also want you to have some fun. University is serious business, and very stressful at times. Often, after years of study, students lose their creative muscle. Some might find it very difficult to write creatively after a long time in school, while others may stop reading fiction entirely. This is why I’m introducing the new Voice Fiction Feature, which will showcase student creative writing in all forms.

To kick off this new column, we have a special treat – an original short romantic novel by Carla Johnson, exclusively in the Voice. This novel will run in its entirety over 5 issues, after which we hope to feature a new short piece of fiction each week.

I hope you enjoy it, and the many changes to come over the next few months.

Tamra Ross Low