By Danielle Gadberry / Staff Writer

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with balancing life and staying in school. In high school, that meant me cramming all my responsibilities in after school, work and practice.

Now, I have adult responsibilities, like bills and grocery shopping. Yikes. Those adult things require an income coming in and a balance between work and school. I’ve made this all possible by going fully online for my studies.

I can now work a full-time job and be a full-time student. I now work my 6 a.m.-2:30 p.m. job without being tied to a desk. I do my homework on my time and on my schedule.

You can do your classes wherever you want, you could be travelling the world and still obtaining your degree. Now, I’m not travelling the world, I typically choose to do my homework where I feel comfortable, my bed, but you may want to travel.

I’ll be honest. It’s not always sunshine and rainbows doing my schooling onlin,e and it does have its disadvantages.

I have limited access/interaction with my instructors and my peers. The majority of the interaction with professors comes from class discussions and feedback on assignments. Some students who thrive in one-on-one interaction with their professors may have trouble with this format of schooling.

That lack of instruction sometimes affects my learning, but the instructors who do teach online here are good about responding fast to my questions/concerns. The lack of interaction with my peers is greatly affected. I work at The Home Depot, so my friends and co-workers there are all 35-plus in age. It can be hard to relate to someone who still thinks “TikTok”[1]  is only heard on a clock.

If you struggle with time management and procrastination, then online school is probably not for you. Hours of self-directed work are necessary to get through all of the material, including course lectures, video supplements, assignments, assigned textbook reading, and discussions.

It may say “All assignments for chapter 7 are due Saturday,” that doesn’t mean you start all assignments on Saturday. These assignments have to be spread out throughout the week and cramming it all in one day will only bring stress to your life.

A few tips for those who are struggling in their online classes – minimize distractions around your workspace is essential to providing a productive atmosphere for online learning. Also, steer clear of the temptation to surf the Web while completing coursework.

Create a weekly schedule that you follow, designating certain hours each week to reading, watching lectures, completing assignments, studying, and participating in forums. I’ve designated the hour I get off work to a quick nap/quick snack. Then the next couple of hours are dedicated to homework.

Figure out what works best for you. Not everyone learns the same way, so think about what types of information help you best grasp new concepts and employ relevant study strategies.

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