On Thursday, November 19th, I wrote my last exam for my degree. That is, of course, unless I change my mind on one of my final two courses. The rest I have enrolled in have no final exams. So while it was not my last course it was still a milestone. A milestone which makes it seem all that more real that soon, I will be done my degree?I’m on the home stretch now.
While I am excited, and anxious, to be moving forward and onto the next chapter in life, it has made me reminisce about how far I have come over these last few years. By the time I am done it will have been four years with Athabasca University (assuming I meet my self-set deadlines moving forward). I have grown as a person and a student through these years. Athabasca University has helped me find my voice and ignite my passion.
The first course I took with Athabasca University, English 211 ? Prose Forms, was a challenge in and of itself. I was getting back into the groove of school after a seven-year absence, learning the ropes of distance education, and remembering just how to write an essay. Now, three and a half years later, meeting word counts does not seem so daunting, working through courses all follows the same general guidelines, and I am so used to being buried under schoolwork that I am going to have to relearn how to live without it.
The experience I have had so far with AU has been a mixture of amazingly good, and amazingly frustrating: the good, undoubtedly, outweighs the bad. And the frustrations are those which would occur at any school that you would attend. AU has opened doors for me, and I am sure countless others. I am grateful for this wonderful school, a school that keeps adding new courses, new ideas, and new programs.
I have slowly made the transition from the one asking all the questions on the student feeds to someone who can offer advice, solutions, and answers. The most common question I see come up on, either the new AU app, or the AU Facebook page, is regarding final exams. It can be tricky to give advice about how to prepare to an exam without getting yourself, and the person asking, in trouble. The best advice, and advice which can be taken for any course final, is that this exam is an opportunity to showcase what you have learned through the course. If you review the unit objectives and find yourself nodding, knowing the various objectives, chances are you will make it through the exam unscathed. The exam is not set up to try to stump you (as I often found in high school tests where the teachers had apparently wanted to test how closely you read the question rather than the subject). Each exam I have taken has been decently clear and concise about what was required, and followed the course objectives. I have found that viewing the exam as an opportunity to show what I have learned, rather than as a “test”, enabled me to relax and the knowledge came through much clearer than if I was stressed out about not reading a question properly.
Each program and course leaves a unique imprint upon the student who took it. The imprint is often affected by what is happening in their daily lives and the tutor support that is received. Each exam follows this as well. In courses where tutor support has been great I have gone into, and come out of, exams with little stress. In courses where I felt frustrated and lacked tutor support I went into the exams, and came out of them, feeling awful. On this, my last exam, I went into it throwing my hands in the air unsure of what was to come, but simply wanting it done and over with, I left convinced I would be rewriting it (thankfully I do not have to do that). While I am grateful that this was my last exam, it is not how I want to remember all my exams. I wish I had left this exam feeling as confident as I had with the others, as sometimes it is the last impression that sticks with a person.
Deanna Roney is an AU student who loves adventure in life and literature