Advice · Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday – Online School: Joys & Trials Plus Tips

As as online student, I feel like there is never an “after homework” moment. Thankfully, I graduate soon (fingers crossed). I can’t name the school I attend for legal reasons, and I’m not saying EVERY online school is the same, but I thought I could break down some common points, good and bad, for you if you are considering online school or have just started online school. If you’re already in online school or have been to online school, I’m sure you’re going to get a lovely kick out of this messy list. Now, Allons-y. (Doctor Who reference. It means “let’s go” in French.)

The Joys

  • Go to class ALMOST whenever you want to.
  • Do school work when you want to.
  • Wear what you want to class. (I do most of my school work in pajamas! Ah, yes. Lovely image there for you all.)
  • All work is home work.
  • You can hold a nice full time job while getting a degree.
  • Usually, it takes less time (I am getting a 4-year degree in 3 years).
  • If you don’t like interacting with people in person, well, this is a nice option.
  • Work in your comfort zone.
  • No crazy dorm mates.
  • No crazy college parties downstairs while you’re trying to study.
  • You get to stay at home; no moving! Unless you just want to.
  • No commuting.
  • Tuition is usually cheaper (this all depends on the school and where you live, etc.).
  • Usually, you’re able to work at your own pace.
  • Make your own schedule.

The Trials 

  • Most communication is by computer so there is little to no face-to-face interaction with the teacher or your classmates which could be hard on some people.
  • One word: miscommunication. All the time.
  • The power goes out, and you have to make a trek to your friend’s house or McDonald’s to bum off some internet to do a test or finish a big project.
  • That above point being said, “no internet” is never an excuse in online school. It’s the equivalent to “the dog ate my homework.”
  • If you work, you come straight home to work some more on the computer.
  • If you’re not self-motivated, you will fail. There is no one around to make you get on your computer and do school work.
  • Having so much freedom can cause procrastination.
  • You have to have excellent time management skills.
  • You can feel isolated.
  • Your teacher sucks and waits until the day before a big project is due to finally answer your question that is detrimental to said project.
  • Your teacher still sucks and never answers your emails so you resort to filing a complaint on them. Your questions still go unanswered, and your grade might suffer from this.
  • Your school advisors suck and never get back to you in a swift manner, causing you stress.
  • Things are fast paced so what time you would normally take to do a project is expected in a half or third of the time.
  • You are responsible for your own learning.
  • Some people won’t take you seriously with an online degree.

So some of these things may even go with going to a college campus, but as an online student, you will run into these things. Just make sure you’re making the right decision for yourself. If you can handle the pressure, then more power to you. But take into account what kind of learner you are and your time management skills. Be honest. My time management skills were never that great but classes have whipped me into shape because I simple refuse to fail. Online school is not for the weak of heart!

Some Tips for New Students

  • Be professional in every email, text, phone call, and interaction you have with anyone concerning your school. Your questions and requests will most likely be answered in a swift manner if you are not screaming and cussing at them. Also, it will prepare you for any and all work environments.
  • Back up your files. I repeat: BACK UP YOUR FILES! The worst part about working on a computer is that sometimes your stuff gets lost, deleted, corrupted, etc. Anything can happen so invest in a USB drive. A big one.
  • Have a plan B. The internet goes out; whose house will you go to? Things can and will happen so it’s always best to have things sorted out to save yourself time and stress.
  • Do work in intervals. Work for an hour, take a ten minute break. This is good for you and good for your eyes. Plus it should cut down on procrastinating.
  • Make yourself a schedule. If you make yourself a schedule, you’ll be more likely to put in more hours on your school work.
  • You can always try to make friends on the online platform but students are in different places and different time zones. It’s an excellent way to network but not always a good way to make friends. Instead, make time to socialize with your real friends.
  • Teachers work at their own pace too. I suggest follow-up emails if they don’t answer within a 24 to 36-hour period. Google is a good place to go searching for answers. Your school may have facebook groups as well. Utilize these tools to help you find your answers.
  • As long as you are doing you’re best, that’s all anyone can expect from you. Take time for yourself, but push yourself as well!

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