Sharing my academic writing: Course 1 Assignment 1

I am taking courses at Athabasca University to eventually achieve a Bachelor of Arts with a major in English (and a minor in Psychology). I have decided to share my assignments, once they have come back with marks and comments, with the rest of you. Maybe you will find it interesting, and maybe you won’t.

Here is the first assignment from my first course (Introductory Composition). 

The task was to write two paragraphs, one introductory paragraph and one on an aspect of my culture or community.


Here is what I wrote: 


Breaking the cycle of familial expectation

            In my family, being unique or different is considered a negative quality, yet nothing can keep me from shining. Working a desk job, preferably within the government, was constantly presented through childhood as the ultimate goal in life, but my happiness could not occur with such a career choice. Instead, I chose to reach for a more challenging, less lucrative, and more creative avenue for my career. I chose to become a writer. The ultimate goal is to express my thoughts, feelings, and beliefs for others to read and enjoy. My dream is to inspire those who read my words and to bring to them a newfound knowledge or perspective. By reaching for my own unconventional goals, perhaps I will inspire others within my family to look within and find their inner passions. Expressing the creative spirit within me may never bring fame or fortune, and I may not become a bestselling author, but it is essential to my satisfaction with life. No matter how successful I am, each moment of effort is worth it, knowing that I reached for my goal. Nothing could compare with the feeling of reaching for the stars and watching those I love follow suit.


Combining big city and small town families

            Getting married can extend one’s family substantially, and my wedding was no exception. There are often differences in upbringing and tradition in each separate family, particularly in my case. Where my family was born and raised in bigger cities, my spouse was born and raised in Northern Ontario, in a very small town north of Thunder Bay. Where going shopping and hanging out at the mall were everyday occurrences in my teenage years, my spouse spent her time babysitting cousins or actually going to visit friends at their homes. While I always had ready access to fresh and vibrant fruits and vegetables, my spouse had much less variety and the produce, having been shipped farther, was often past its prime and less than tasty. Very little of our cultures and upbringings are similar, and visiting my in-laws is always a fun and unique experience. My parents enjoy spending their free time playing computer games or watching television, and my in-laws prefer to go outside into their neighbourhood and drop in on their friends with little warning. When our families get together, even in small doses, it is impossible to predict how well they are going to get along. Conversations are often choppy and awkward, with no one really willing to push any buttons or try any new waters. A whole new family with different ideas, beliefs, and actions has been added to my life. Every single encounter is an adventure and a new experience in the differences between our families, and I would not have it any other way.


  1. question

    Hi Laura!

    I’ve been considering registering at Athabasca University, because I am working and it would be convenient but I am still very hesitant. I thought I’d ask you since you’ve studied/studying there. Could u tell me about your experience? is it a good university? is it recognized? will I be able to get a job with a degree from there? or is it pure business and will be a waste of my time and money? any idea about the ranking? are online degrees less recognized in general?

    I am sorry to be bothering you with all the questions, but really can’t find a trusted answer. Thank you so much!

    1. Laura (Post author)

      So far I love it! The courses are organized really well, and they send you the required reading/course materials for no additional cost. It is a recognized/accredited university, and the degree will be recognized by all employers. (AKA, it’s not Everest college, or the like). Since it is actually an ‘in-person’ university located in Alberta, as well as having a huge online course availability, it is very strongly recommended. I know a number of people who have received degrees from Athabasca, and each of them is satisfied with both the education, and the recognition of their degree that came afterwards.

      I hope this is helpful, and I hope you will come back and chat some more about your hopes and dreams!



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