I want to dispel one prevalent myth right off the bat: higher education through an online platform is not easy. It requires a tremendous amount of time, commitment, and energy.
I’m 27 years old. I work full time, and I’m also a student with a full time course load. I could have finished my degree years ago, when I was admitted to Boston University as a freshman in 2001, but I didn’t. I was going through some tough times emotionally, and school was not a focus. I left, feeling like a failure in 2002.
In 2009 I got back in the saddle after a series of false starts that tended to fizzle out as my yo-yoing self-confidence usually settled in the part of the spectrum devoted to telling myself that I’ll never amount to anything. Now, here I am. It’s 2010 and I feel accomplished.
Granted I’m 27 years old and a sophomore (oh, the tragedy), but I take a tremendous amount of satisfaction in what I have been able to achieve since January of 2009.
Every month, I have an 8 to 10 page paper due, without fail. This is, of course, aside from my weekly work which includes up to four or five chapters worth of reading, weekly writing assignments (varying from 3 to 6 pages), required comprehensive discussion posts and responses, quizzes, and tests. And this all has to be done in addition to my 9am to 5:30pm Monday through Friday job, my social life, and wedding planning.
My plate is full, to say the least.
It was tough at first. I had a lot of required classes that made me want to toss my laptop out a window. After one of those classes I actually conducted a ceremony in our living room where I destroyed (with gusto!) my textbook from the class. I wasn’t studying what I wanted to. I still was bouncing around trying to sort out my Direction in Life. Over the past few months, however, my patience paid off, and I got to start taking classes in what I wanted to do: journalism, PR, and mass communications. Oh, and political science.
I’ve been so inspired by my teachers, one of whom was a former professional basketball player a few decades back who decided one day that, hey, he wanted to go to law school. The people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting virtually have been so much fun.
As a student, I’m one of those people who, no matter how much I hated writing a particular paper, is chomping at the bit to find out my grade as soon as I submit my work. I am a compulsive grade-checker.
It’s a problem. A I-will-sometimes-wake-up-at-3am-for-my-late-night-potty-break-but-oh-yea-will-check-my-grades-just-in-case-and-then-will-check-again-at-4am problem.
I have been in the throes of this need for grades for the past week, over an assignment I submitted for the journalism class I’m in. Without becoming too boring, the gist was that I was to write a comprehensive analysis on types of media, news dissemination, who’s got the edge and why, etc.
This morning, my prayers were answered. My grade was posted. I got an A. Not only that, after quoting my thesis, my professor said the following.
What followed in your paper was nothing short of brilliant… your intelligent and engaging opinions showcased the thinking of a very active and insightful mind. Great job! But what really impressed me were the lengths you went to compare the coverage from the various outlets. I know this was part of the assignment, but not everyone took the time to go in depth on this aspect.
I have received praise for my writing before, but this was the first time I was given a pat on the back for writing on a topic in the field in which I wish to work and advance. Not only that, his glowing words made me squee just a bit. It’s helped me to not only gain a bit of confidence, but also put some distance between that girl from years ago who honestly thought she’d amount to nothing and who I am now.
It may not seem like much to many of you, especially those of you whose college years seem like miles away, but this was a big accomplishment for me. Maybe it’s ego, but I have always considered myself to be intelligent and capable of great things. Now, more than ever, I want to push that goal further and actually make something of myself.
I just need to figure out what my next step is because I’d like to think that I’m destined for something, well… awesome.