Posts By: Barbara Lehtiniemi

Barbara Lehtiniemi

Barbara Lehtiniemi is a writer and photographer from Ontario. She’s a graduate of Athabasca University, having completed her Bachelor of General Studies degree in 2018.

A regular contributor to The Voice Magazine since 2013, Barbara is an occasional contributor to other publications including Maclean’s and MC2. Barbara writes in several genres, including non-fiction, fiction, and poetry. She’s grateful to The Voice Magazine for providing the opportunity to explore an array of topics and writing styles, and she remains dreadfully sorry for those awful haikus.

Barbara has a fondness for travel, used bookstores, everyday absurdities, and oversized wine glasses. Originally from urban Southwestern Ontario, she now lives on a windswept rural road in Eastern Ontario with her indulgent and supportive husband, Leo.

You can follow Barbara on Twitter @theregoesbarb, or contact her at

Many Small Steps on the Path to Truth and Reconciliation

“We live on an island surrounded by a sea of ignorance.  As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance.”  — John Archibald Wheeler (1911-2008), American theoretical physicist. Should every university program require mandatory indigenous-content courses?  That’s a question I pondered in 2016 after reading Tamra Ross’s article, “Truth and Reconciliation—Will… Read more »

AU’s Student Town Hall

When I arrived at the Student Town Hall in Ottawa last week, I knew I was in the right place.  In a room set up for fifty, each of the students already there were sitting as far apart from each other as possible.  AU students, it seems, are so accustomed to their solitary studies that… Read more »

The AUthor Series—Home Ice, by Angie Abdou

“The more we try to keep up with the Joneses in terms of preparing our little athletes for future success, the less likely we are to leave ourselves time to enjoy the simple pleasures of family life.” – Angie Abdou, in Home Ice.     If hockey parents aren’t shrieking in the stands this winter, it’s because… Read more »

The Convocation Experience

Attending AU’s Convocation was, for me, a much-anticipated experience.  As I worked my way through my AU degree program, the thought of attending convocation was on my mind.  Although Athabasca is almost 4000 km away from home, I viewed it as a important destination for my AU journey. On June 8, my husband and I… Read more »

The Road to Convocation—Trail of Gratitude

How do I thank everyone who helped me during my time at AU? In the lead-up to this weekend’s grad ceremony, AU’s convocation office asked me who I would most like to thank or acknowledge for their support while I completed my degree.  This, along with my responses to other questions, will comprise “a short… Read more »

The Road to Convocation—Many Celebrations

When I attend AU convocation this June, hundreds of my friends and family will be celebrating with me.  As befitting a degree obtained mostly online, the convocation ceremony will be live-streamed so anyone can join in the celebration—wherever they are. I finished the final course for my BGS degree several weeks ago, but I didn’t… Read more »

Clearing the Clutter—Making Space for Creativity

By the time my AU studies wrapped up in April, my office space was a disaster zone.  An explosion of textbooks covered every available surface, mingling with a backlog of books and magazines languishing in to-be-read piles.  Writing projects, research materials, and photography equipment added to the chaos, along with the inevitable piles of filing,… Read more »

Not with a Bang, but a Whimper

No trumpets sounded when I submitted the very last assignment for the very last course of my AU degree program.  Silence again when the final marks were posted for the course and my AU transcript preview dropped its last “In Progress” notation. Finishing the requirements for my degree should fill me with elation.  So why… Read more »

Money out the Window

Every student agrees that education is expensive, but not every student is prepared to do anything about it.  Twice each year, AUSU doles out thousands of dollars in scholarships, but only a small number of students bother to apply.  AUSU can’t give you this money—even if you are the best qualified—unless you get your application… Read more »