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Athabasca University

Dodi Todd

Bachelor of Professional Arts in Communications Studies, 2013

I always dreamed of completing a university degree, possibly more, and completing Athabasca University's Bachelor of Professional Arts in 2013 is a long held dream come true. It is also proof of one of my favourite personal mottos - I am nothing if not determined. I hope my journey in education will inspire at the very least my children, twin boys who are now three, to follow their heart and persevere.

In the 1990s I obtained a Diploma in Journalism from College of North Atlantic (CONA), attended part-time general university studies, and worked in radio broadcasting, non-profit communication, and spent just under five years in the Canadian Naval Reserves, travelling in Canada, the United States, and the Caribbean.

In 1999 I moved from St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, to Edmonton, Alberta, and soon became employed in information technology consulting as a software trainer/transition coordinator (change management). In 2000, I enrolled with Athabasca. I transferred my credits from the CONA and also later transferred credits from the University of Alberta's Certificate of Continuing Adult Education, which I completed in 2004.

When I first began my studies with Athabasca, I was a single girl living on my own and I needed to work on my education on evenings and weekends. The flexibility of distance education greatly appealed to me, as I could go at my own pace and not be tied to a class schedule. I thank all the tutors who helped me over the years.

It took a long time for me to complete my degree, from 2000 to 2013. During that time I got married, had twins, and had three major moves, from Edmonton to Britain in 2005, and back to Newfoundland and Labrador in 2007. Between 2006 and 2013, my husband had three serious bouts of illness, but is stable and doing well now, I am glad to say. During these times, maintaining my job was critical to reducing overall stress on the household.

When our twins were born in 2011, I had renewed focus on my studies, as I knew having a degree could make a difference in being able to maintain a certain level of employment. I returned to full time work when they were eleven months old. Evenings and weekends with my family was precious, and I am glad that in the course of my degree, I only missed about 40 daytime hours with them over three years. I am a night owl, but I still needed to pace the late nights of studying.

In regards to my study approach, there were times when I took a full year to complete a single course. At first, I was mostly a hands on learner, and I took loads of notes. Over the years, I transitioned to being more of a visual learner, so I could read content off Moodle and then just highlight areas. This ability to learn visually has also helped me to condense time in my work life.

I have a renewed life and career outlook as a result of completing my degree. My twins are three years old now and don't realize what I have accomplished, but in the future I will be encouraging them to obtain the education they need for their chosen path, and that it is ok for that path to undergo a metamorphosis.

I believe in the ability of a person to evolve, and sometimes that occurs quickly and other times, it takes longer. I do think no one is ever too old to learn something new, and I intend to be a life-long learner.

Updated February 25 2015 by Student & Academic Services

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