Editorial—Reasons to Celebrate

Each year, Athabasca University hosts a convocation, where some of the students will gather to receive confirmation that they’ve indeed passed all their requirements and are heading into the world with the piece of paper that elevates their worth.  They likely weren’t that much different the day before, but evaluating skill is hard; that’s why we rely on certificates and degrees and awards and basically people who aren’t the ones in need of skill or ability to confer that status on to others.

But does it really matter?  Statistics range from 34% to just over 50% of employers who will check your educational credentials.  Which puts a whole new spin on fake it until you make it.  This is part of why it’s so important to be sure that at least part of why you’re taking the degree is because you enjoy the process, because it’s quite possible you’re not only competing with other graduates, but perhaps even just people on the street who can talk a good game in an interview.

However, once you’ve decided you’re going to do the honest thing and actually work your way through the learning you’re saying you have, sooner or later there comes a time when the university says, “You’ve done enough here,” and a celebration is held.  For the last few years, spurred on by COVID-19, AU held its convocations only virtually.  Meaning all AU graduands, so long as they had access to a computer powerful enough to handle their courses, could have the same experience of graduation.

With the new Chair of the Board of Governors appointed firmly to boost the prospects of Athabasca, it’s no surprise that this year, Convocation returns to AU.  This means that many students may not be able to take part in the full celebrations as they might want, but that those who attend get a unique experience.  But that doesn’t mean you’ll be completely left out. Our feature article this week is from Karen Fletcher, who attended AU’s convocation in person for her second degree, and was kind enough to give us a recounting of her graduation in Athabasca.  Find out what was going on behind the scenes, some of her experiences with the various displays AU made available, what  surprised her about the experience, both good and bad, and more.\

But there’s more than convocation to celebrate.  There’s also Canada Day just around the corner here, and there’s certainly a lot to celebrate if you’re a Canadian.  For instance, even though we have our own troubles with our politicians, when you look at what’s on offer down south through the recent debates, I think most people would agree we don’t have it that bad.

But in this week’s Voice, a new Cities in Six continues its run in the far north, this time giving us a virtual tour of Iqaluit, Nunavut.  And we round it out with an article giving us a relatable image of Islam, taking us through Malcolm X’s experience and following it with a conversation with different Imams about their work and the mosques they do it in.  All of that, plus we have a look at ice cream and gelato, in case you’re looking for a cool treat while you’re celebrating Canada Day, a look at the importance of restaurants, research opportunities, scholarships, events and more!   Enjoy the read!