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The Voice is always delighted to hear from readers about what concerns you, what moves you, and what you would like to read about in The Voice. Following are a number letters from the past year focusing on the pinnacle event for AU students — the annual June convocation ceremonies in Athabasca, Alberta.
Well, I finally finished my coursework. It was official, I could graduate. I was so tired of those dreaded three-hour exams, research papers, all of that reading. Then Dianne at AU called, asking if I would attend the convocation ceremonies. Gosh, I was so tired of school. I thought that finishing was reward enough. Why go to the convocation? After all, I didn’t actually know anybody. I’d be graduating with strangers. I’d have to travel from BC to Alberta. I’d never been to Athabasca – it seemed a bit far away. Would my family travel that far? And besides, it’s that degree, that piece of paper, that matters most, right? So, why bother?
I told Dianne I’d consider attending, but wasn’t likely to, but a few hours later I got a phone call from my dad. Mom was very sick, and it would take some time and a lot of tests to find out what was wrong. Clearly, our family needed a ray of hope, something to look forward to. That call frightened me, but forced me to rearrange my priorities, So, I made a few calls. Mom said she would see me graduate if she had to be wheeled in on a stretcher, and my brother was more than willing to take time off of work. Next thing I knew, we were going to the convocation!
I learned how terribly wrong I was, and how important convocation is. There are no strangers at AU. Everywhere I went, I was warmly welcomed. The staff and volunteers were so down-to-earth and friendly, I felt right at home. I met my fellow graduates, and we had a great time chatting while lined up for the ceremony. The town of Athabasca is lovely, and definitely worth the visit. The floral displays and the grounds at the university were beautiful. I could tell that the town and the university worked very hard to make my day special, and they succeeded. The ceremony was beautiful–better than I could have imagined. I guess I’d been so wrapped up in finishing my courses and establishing my new career that I hadn’t realized the importance of taking the time to celebrate. When that memorable day was over, I realized I’d gained enormous pride in my alma mater and I felt so grateful for everyone’s work over the years. Perhaps most importantly, I gained pride in myself. I realize that doling out unwanted advice is a risky venture, but I have a little message to all AU students: attend your grad. Even if you’re busy, a bit shy, even or really don’t want to travel–even if you don’t think it matters. No matter what is happening in your life, set the time aside and go. Celebrate your accomplishment, and share it with your school and your fellow graduates. I can promise that you won’t be sorry 🙂
Janine Menard, BA (!!!!!!!)
My daughter-in-law, Sheryl Britton, got her M.B.A. from Athabasca University on June 11th. I just want to say how much we enjoyed the weekend that was planned for us. All of the effort and programmes were so well done that, we did not have to worry about a thing.
We came from Ontario for the convocation and are we ever glad we did.
Thank you very much for a wonderful time.
Mrs. Ellen Britton
Thank you again for publishing the articles on convocation. After reading it makes me want to attend more upon my own graduation.
I found it interesting when Debbie Jabbour talked about bringing Athabasca home to Athabasca, and that this might have had an effect on Athabasca’s ability to compete in the global marketplace. When I
originally investigated attending AU, the fact that it was in such a remote location actually enticed me to attend.(I live in Ontario) I figured if these people are in such a remote location then they’re going to have a better sense of distance education. Had it been in Calgary or Edmonton my thoughts would have been it’s just another University.
It was awesome — I was there too!
I was one of the Nursing program graduates. This was the best experience…better than high school(from what I remember).
I, too, am a mature student and loved the flexibility with the programs and class schedules that were offered. I am now looking to continue my studies.