Posts By: Jason Sullivan

Jason Sullivan

An unofficial AU advocate at large, Jason never misses a chance to recount the merits of an Athabasca education. Jason’s studies began alone in front of a rustic rural fireplace in December of 2003 and carried on through various brick and mortar college classrooms yet always with Athabasca as part of his journey. In 2014 he completed his BA in Sociology and in 2022 graduated with an MA in Cultural Studies. To this end, his columns seek to explore edifying moments of learning how to learn within the challenging ideological terrain of that great bugaboo facing students everywhere: the real world!

The Fly on the Wall—Convocation and Destiny

How do We Select Our Electives? Why did the chicken cross the road?  What leads us to choose a particular elective? Sometimes the process feels purposeful, as though we are fulfilling an interest that has haunted or intrigued us for eons.  Other times we might feel like uncertain fowl meandering through the traffic of unexpected… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—Roads of Perception

Winter months and distance education courses have one thing in common: they can both drag on interminably when we get bogged down.  Yet, as successes pile up over the years, and remembering how far we’ve come since early childhood education, we can feel confident in the face of what appear to be long odds for… Read more »

The Fly on the Wall—This, Too, Shall be Passed

Mired in coursework on a bleak February day I recall a common refrain from classrooms of my childhood.  A student would plaintively announce, “I’m stuck!” Often it was during math class and usually the problem seemed utterly insoluble.  As adult students these same struggles and doldrums can occur; in mid-winter it’s easy for even the… Read more »

Fly On the Wall—Truth Tellers

Last year, we addressed the idea of us, noble scholars, reduced to asinine drudgery and suggested that behind our mild-mannered veneers we have a cornucopia of fruitful intellectual possibilities.  We posed the question, is truth itself impossible? Education means philosophical inquiry, even if it’s only to realize that each act we engage in and each… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—Students of the World: Relax!

At AU we have all felt a lingering shadow of dread as a deadline approaches. Maybe we’ve squandered spare time we could have used to apply ourselves; perhaps life just got in the way. It’s as though we’ve revelled amidst plenty only to realize that our privilege can be crushed at any moment. Yet we… Read more »

The Fly on the Wall—Handmaidens of Untruth

Fwap, splash, fwap! Imagine a dream where you are ambushed and smacked across the face with a sopping filthy mop.  Why this assault, and from who? A few feet away leers a dour figure.  It’s the janitor of the building.  What does s/he want from you? The answer is spat out in syllables at once… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—”No Exit” from Sartre to AU

“How is school going?” For students the world over, that question often invokes feelings of stress and anxiety about interactions with classmates.  It’s been that way since the first cave family sent their kids down the mountain to an educational quarry.  Essay deadlines and academic struggles are unavoidable if we are to succeed in university… Read more »

The Fly on the Wall – Possessed by Language!

A nightmare scene: our vibrant student minds reduced to a brainless blob! Who cast this malevolent spell? Perhaps it was nefarious alchemy wrought by the linguist Ferdinand de Saussure who stated with slitting simplicity that, prior to language, “thought is merely a vague shapeless mass” (de Saussure in Allan, 316).  Language possesses us and subjects… Read more »

Fly on the Wall – How Will we Remember Us?

Who hasn’t heard the phrase ’well-behaved women seldom make history’? Far fewer of us know who coined the phrase: Laurel Satchel Ulrich in 1976. In her academic research she studied obituaries of ordinary women “who lived and labored in silent obscurity” and realized that the ones who became known and notorious were those who challenged… Read more »

Fly on the Wall – Perceptive as a Bat, Blind as a Human

On dusky, late-summer nights bats flit and flicker by in what appears to be playful pursuit of insect prey. I marvel at how it might feel to actually be what, in German, is known as a fledermaus (Reverso-Softissimo, online). As a flying mouse, I’d traverse the starry night’s buffet and dance aloft with my nocturnal… Read more »