Like the predictable man-walks-into-a-bar joke, the “news” that AU might be closing seems to reappear with tiresome frequency. And like the reaction to a tired old joke, students who have heard it before tend to sigh and roll their eyes.
Each time the not-so-new news breaks about threats to AU, new students break into a social media sweat, worried lest the work they’ve put in to credits and programs come to naught. Experienced students helpfully post articles from last year’s crisis, or the year before?s.
Not to downplay the issue: The financial challenges facing AU are real and are cause for concern. Students have a right to know and?I believe?an obligation to keep informed. I recommend starting with Carla Knipe’s July 29, 2016 article The AU Budget Beyond the Numbers, in The Voice Magazine. For the official word, check the AU News page and, if you like your information to be a bit more random, perform a web search on “Athabasca University” coupled with your pick of “insolvency”, “budget”, or “rumour” .
I remain rather meh on the issue. I get that It’s a serious topic and I’d like to see the problem resolved, if only to prevent these annual death rattles which distract me from my studies.
Perhaps I should be more worried but, then, there is so much to be worried about these days. I don’t consider myself a chronic worrier, yet when I begin a mental list of all the things I worry about, It’s a bit overwhelming. Perhaps I should be worried that I worry too much.
I heard a piece of wisdom years ago that there was “no sense in worry, because five out six things you worry about will never happen.” Is that supposed to be comforting? I’d really be worried if I thought that one-sixth of the things I worry about will really happen!
So, am I worried about the perennial worries about AU? Yes, of course. But I’ve only got so much capacity for worry and I try to focus on the situations I can do something about. This is one situation that I’m reasonably confident is going to work out okay, whether I worry about it or not. Even if I can’t fully rely on the assurances of presidents and politicians, I can rely on my own research that shows that, while a handful of Canadian universities have merged over the years, only one Canadian university has ever closed.
So I’m sticking with the program and my studies. I’m sticking with AU. And next year, when I hear the sky is falling again, I’ll roll my eyes and remind myself to Keep Calm and Study On. Again.
Barbara Lehtiniemi is a writer, photographer, and AU student. She lives on a windswept rural road in Eastern Ontario. Follow Barbara on twitter @ThereGoesBarb.