Dear Barb—Accredited and Vaping

Dear Barb:

Hi! I have just completed my first course at Athabasca University and did very well.  The problem I have is, every time I tell people I am obtaining a degree through an online university, they respond by asking why I don’t go to a real university! They say I am wasting my time and that I won’t be able to get a job with an online degree.  When I tell them it is an accredited university, they look at me funny.  I have done my research and I know that an Athabasca degree is recognized, but it still bothers me that people make judgements like that.  What is the best way to handle this? Thanks Emma. 

Hi Emma:

Yes it is annoying when people stick to these antiquated views without doing any research.  The main thing is that you have done your research and you know an Athabasca degree is as recognized as a bricks and mortar degree.  In a lot of respects obtaining a degree online is more challenging, as you must be a much more disciplined person to achieve your goals.  I guess the best way to handle people like this is to let it go.  There is no point in engaging with them.  But if it is someone like a family member and it is important to you that they realize AU is accredited, you could refer them to the Athabasca University website about accreditation and then they can check it out for themselves.

Thanks for writing Emma.

Dear Barb:

I haven’t read anything in your columns about vaping, so I decided to write in.  I have recently switched from smoking regular cigarettes to vaping.  I feel vaping has got to be a better alternative than smoking, although a lot of people don’t agree.  It just makes sense to me, without the nicotine and chemicals of regular cigarettes going into my body I am better off.  What is your opinion on this issue? Thanks, Blake. 

Hi Blake:

Great question! I am not an expert, but I have done some research on vaping vs.  smoking.  Just to correct you, there is nicotine in electronic-cigarettes.  Since vaping is a relatively new phenomenon there are no studies into the health effects of long term vaping.  When cigarettes first surfaced, no one thought they were bad for you, and for many years women smoked cigarettes throughout their pregnancy.  It was many years before the links with cancer and the low birth weight in babies born to mothers who smoked became widely known.  Although studies have shown that there are significantly less carcinogens in vaping than in regular cigarettes, undoubtedly carcinogens are a part of both smoking and vaping.  So, whether one is better than the other?  Who knows.  It seems to me you are taking a chance either way.  Thanks for your letter Blake.

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