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International inline champion achieves Bachelor of Science one course at a time

Meaghan Buisson
Meaghan Buisson

I can honestly say the feeling of finishing my degree is every bit as special to me as anything I have accomplished on skates.

Meaghan Buisson, an 11-time international medalist and World Record holder in the sport of inline speed skating, graduated with distinction from Thompson Rivers University, Open Learning (TRU-OL)'s Bachelor of Science program in 2010. Buisson recounts her inspirational educational experience with TRU-OL:

When I stepped across the stage for my graduation from Thompson Rivers University, Open Learning (TRU-OL) I kept thinking, "I'm really here."

Receiving my degree marked the culmination of a long, hard journey racing around the world, literally. As a national team athlete in the sport of inline speed skating, sitting in a traditional classroom simply wasn't an option. I bounced through five universities before finally finding the right "fit" at TRU-OL. Through TRU-OL's flexibility and support while working towards my Bachelor of Science program, I was able to complete my degree one course at a time. I quickly learned how to study in trains, planes and automobiles while crisscrossing oceans and continents. My reading selection caused raised eyebrows on the World Cup circuit more than once. What, doesn't everyone read a biology textbook while sitting on a stationary bike?

Somehow I managed to balance school and sport; breaking a world record one day, writing a final exam the next. I've stood on international podiums and known the pride of hearing the Canadian anthem play following a skating victory. However, I can honestly say the feeling of finishing my degree is every bit as special to me as anything I have accomplished on skates.

I'll never forget the day of my graduation. As a TRU-OL graduate (Bachelor of Science, Biology/Life Sciences, 2010), the ceremony held special meaning as it was my first time ever seeing the campus. When I met my Open Learning Faculty Members and support staff, individuals whom I'd only known through email and phone, all I could say was "thank you." Their support and encouragement was amazing. They are the pillars upon which TRU's Open Learning programs stand strong.

I read a quote once that said people need both "roots and wings." My degree through TRU-OL has given me both. As I turn in pursuit of graduate studies, I do so with the knowledge the quality of my degree from TRU-OL is recognized worldwide. The skills I gained throughout my undergraduate program, including time management and self-motivation, coupled with the quality of my education, are intangible assets. My degree has opened doors I didn't even know existed and there is not a day that goes by when I am not grateful for TRU-OL. I wouldn't have graduated without having the online learning option.

While I'm not sure when I'll be on campus next, one thing's for certain; no matter where I go in this world, I'll always be a proud graduate of Thompson Rivers University.

Meaghan Buisson
Calgary, Alberta

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