A while back I wrote an article that outlined the odd way my educational journeys begin. When I started kindergarten, I did so with a broken leg. When I made the decision to go back to school for my Bachelor of Arts, I did so while laid up on the couch with a reconstructed ankle post-op. Now, several years later, I am facing another surgery, on the same ankle, and I find myself drawn back to school for my Masters of Arts.
When I graduated in 2016 I debated whether I wanted to jump into an MA right away or poke around the workforce a bit and see if I could edge my way in. I have learned a lot since I graduated, I have found the direction I want to go, and I have decided that going back for my Masters is a key step to achieving this goal. Making this decision, I dove into the depths of internet research looking for the best program that would fit what I am wanting to get out of this degree. I searched several schools which offer MA’s through distance, including Athabasca University. I searched through course offerings, program outcomes, professors, everything that might sway my decision. Ultimately, I decided to apply to Athabasca’s Masters of Arts Integrated Studies program. Several factors informed this decision, the most influential being that there was a possibility of directed studies courses and being able to mould this degree into what I want to get out of it. I reached out to an undergraduate professor and, after my discussions with her, decided without a doubt that this is the direction I want to go.
A bonus to deciding on AU for the academic flexibility and ability to personalize my degree outcomes is I can start working towards that degree prior to being admitted as a program student. Being admitted as a program student means intake is either January 1st or September 1st, I had long missed the January deadline and without these non-program options, it would mean delaying my start to September. But once I have made a decision like this I would rather jump headlong into it than wait. There are limitations to being a non-program student, but none that will hamper my ability to work toward my degree before being admitted. The limitations are that you are only permitted to take two courses per semester and have a maximum of five courses as a non-program student.
So now I wait to see if my application as a non-program student is approved and I can start working on courses. I sent my application in on Saturday and I can already hardly wait to get going on my courses. I had similar feelings of uncertainty as when I started my undergrad degree. But, I reminded myself that I made out just fine there. It took a lot of work, but that’s kind of the whole point, isn’t it?