Give Online Learning a Chance
Renowned career consultant Marty Nemko proclaimed in the 2001 edition of Cool Careers for dummies that he believed that online degree programs would greatly surpass the need to attend brick and mortar institutions. In my hometown, Mr. Nemko’s prediction would fall flat. 6 out 10 people in my hometown are college graduates from either prestigious universities or state colleges. Whenever I tell people I’m earning my associate’s degree online, I continue to get puzzled stares, and an array of those questions “Can you even stay motivated?” “Are you sure your school is accredited?” “Don’t you long for the social life of a traditional college?” Yes, yes, and a little of both.
Straight out of high school I took the traditional route, I attended a state school full-time, and within the first semester I began to have troubles. Upon taking my math and English proficiency tests, I scored a couple points below on the math test. As a result, I was placed in a remedial algebra class for no credit. To think I had already endured two years of algebra in high school, the mere thought of taking it again disheartened me. My other classes, while mostly a breeze, became increasingly difficult when the workload seemed to pile on. I had numerous essays to write for English, and lab work to complete for Biology, and with my job and family obligations, I found it difficult to turn things in on time. Listening to lectures was tiresome for me, for I am a hands-on or kinetic learner who learns best by doing and doesn’t have capacity to remember what someone said the day before.
By the end of the school year, I had gotten mostly C’s in my classes, and ended up having to withdraw from Biology because I wasn’t doing well in it. I had a fat W on my record that didn’t need to be there. My learning challenges convinced me that traditional college may not have been my forte after all.
When a friend suggested online learning, I was a little skeptical, for I had heard the tales of diploma mills, and that they weren’t for a young person like me, that I needed the structure of a classroom because I couldn’t stay motivated without someone telling me what to do. Or could I? I decided to give it a shot.
Within weeks my first set of learning materials arrived in the mail, and I was actually excited to start. Then I caught a cold the next day. I recall during my tenure at traditional college, I would feel obligated to go to class even if I was under the weather. Since I had no set schedule, the luxury of being able to recuperate without worrying if I’d miss a lecture or two was welcoming. I also didn’t feel overwhelmed with the workload, as I had no labs to attend. I wasn’t however, immune from homework, or even my least favorite subject, math. But since I had no deadline as when to finish the class, I enlisted the help of a tutor, and in about a month I accomplished what I thought was impossible, passing a math class! Staying motivated was not a problem for me. Whenever I received a new shipment of materials, I would be enticed to complete the assignments, for what good would they do just lying around the house?
For those reading this, I’m not suggesting that online learning is for everyone. Many working adults, not just kids out of high school, need the social structure and deadlines of a traditional school. However, if you have trouble balancing your credit hours and don’t want an army of W’s on your transcript, online learning may be the way to go. Remember to check the school’s accreditation, both regional and state, and seek out tuition plans if there are any available. Lastly, know that you want to better yourself, and go for it!