This month, I began what I hope will be my Best AU Course Ever. Not just because it’s the last one to complete my degree—although that’s certainly reason enough to love a course. Mainly it’s because this final AU course is the one I wanted to take the most.
When I enrolled in the Bachelor of General Studies program at AU five years ago, I created a wish list of courses. The list contained all the courses I might like to take. I reviewed the list every few months and often expanded it. Right from the beginning, though, there were more courses on the list than I needed for my degree. I prioritized the list, flagging the courses I most wanted to take.
Those priorities changed over time but one course consistently held the top spot: ENGL 384 Writing Creative Non-fiction. I wanted to take this course early on but it had a tangled skein of prerequisites. In addition to its two prerequisite courses, ENGL 211 Prose Forms and ENGL 212 Poetry and Plays, it was recommended to take ENGL 381 Creative Writing in Prose first. That course had, in turn, a further prerequisite, ENG 353 Intermediate Composition. Naturally, two of those courses had a further prerequisite, ENGL 255 Introductory Composition. If you’ve lost track, that meant I needed to take five courses on my way to Writing Creative Non-fiction.
ENGL 255 Introductory Composition was one of my first courses at AU. Not only did that course launch me on the long path to Writing Creative Non-fiction, the writing skills Introductory Composition taught me helped me through many subsequent AU courses. ENGL 353 Intermediate Composition helped me fine-tune my essay-writing skills while exploring topics of personal interest.
ENGL 211 Prose Forms and ENGL 212 Poetry and Plays serve as the launch pads for English Literature courses but are worthy in their own right—I would have taken them anyway. They are also the prerequisites for the Canadian Lit and World Lit courses I took later.
The tangled journey to Writing Creative Non-fiction mirrors my whole AU journey. Each course selected carefully, much like a mason selects building stones. Each one supporting another and part of a carefully designed whole. I could have taken the courses in a different order or skipped some altogether but then the structure would have lost something—been less stable.
I finished the last of the five courses in September, just in time to enrol in Writing Creative Non-fiction for my final course. I was keen to get started. With the eager anticipation seldom experienced since my first AU course five years ago, I began working on the course before the start date.
Can Writing Creative Non-fiction live up to five years of anticipation? Will it be the shining star of my AU career? So far it’s looking that way—and I’m only on unit one. Unlike every other AU course, for this one I have actually met my tutor, when serendipity brought us to within easy go-for-coffee distance just a few weeks before the course start date. I’ve also benefited from direct feedback and enthusiasm for this course from another AU student.
I’ve looked forward to this course for so long, it can’t help but being the best course ever. Even if it doesn’t prove to live up to five years of anticipation, this course will distinguish itself as being the last one I need to click “submit” on. And that will ensure it is the best—at last!