A conversation on a Tuesday afternoon pushed me in to thinking about my life and education. I’m not sure it was meant to start something like this, but it did. Names have been withheld to protect the identity of those who are responsible for encouraging this wild adventure. Dialogue is created from the best of my memory, which as we all know can be both amazing and subject to human frailty.

“So… you don’t have a degree…?”

I get this a lot. Given the types of jobs I’ve had and the industries I’ve worked in, I suppose it is surprising that I haven’t been in any type of formal classroom for nearly twenty years.

Then I tried to explain why. I couldn’t find anything interesting to study, I didn’t have the time. I didn’t have the funds. I just wasn’t cut out to be a student. I’d get bored or frustrated and really, what was the point?

“Have you heard of Athabasca University? They might have what you’re looking for. You can still work and study at the same time.”

I’d heard of Athabasca University, an online university headquartered out of Alberta with students located all across Alberta, Canada, and internationally. Many students work or raise families while still pursuing their education. Could I make the time to pursue education, and still maintain my job?

“I had this neighbor once… she got her teaching degree from Athabasca. It took her nine years while she was raising her kids, but she got it done and went on to teach for 25 years.”

“But… I’m just not… a student!” (yes, I remember saying this)

“Why not? You’re smart. If you find something that interests you, it might be worth looking in to. It doesn’t hurt to look.”

So, I went home. And started searching. I looked at Athabasca University’s web site, asked around about students’ experiences, and started looking at faculties. I found certificates, diplomas and degrees, all of which I could study at my own pace around my job and racing schedule. The freedom – along with the realization that maybe I could do this – was intoxicating…. so long as I could find something to study.

So… what would I study?

Come back tomorrow and I’ll tell you more.