Benefits of my online community

Three weeks into this course I feel so much more confident that I can succeed with my continuing education.  I really got to learn more about everyone’s real life challenges through the discussion boards in a way that I could not have in the traditional on the ground classroom.  Participating in conversations with and reading the stories of my fellow students made me feel less isolated (even while sitting at my own computer).  If I had a question, inevitably I would see that another student had a similar question.  This was a great way to start back to college and I feel much better about my decision.  It was a big leap of faith for me as a 44 year old to go back for a second bachelor’s degree and I wasn’t sure I could “hang with the kids”.  However, I have successfully met every challenge that came my way in this class and did very well (except for one silly wrong answer on a quiz that still irks me!) and I don’t think I would have felt so empowered without this whole group.

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Realistic Expectations

Our instructor is asking us to consider if we can realistically adhere to a schedule conducive to getting all our work done in this online class. One of the main components of being successful in any endeavor (including online courses) is good time management. I am lucky to be well versed in that regard because I received my initial bachelor’s degree in 1995 and went on to have a full time career, a husband, three children, a lot of animals, and have stayed pretty active on top of that.  I couldn’t do all that I do without good time management skills.

The key for me is to break things down into smaller pieces. I tend to not look at the entire picture at once, because that will only make me feel overwhelmed, which results in me being ineffective.  Instead, I take it a week at a time. I open my calendar and look at the following: my work/course load for both school and my job, any appointments, workouts, tennis matches, kids’ activities,  and household obligations. Then I spread things out so I have a manageable workflow on a daily basis.  For example – if I know I have a tennis match on Thursday evening, I may do more than one school assignment Wednesday night so that I am ahead of the game.  If my son has a rugby game on Tuesday and we need groceries and I need to create a blog, then I might get up at 6am instead of 7am to start my regular job earlier and this will give me more time to accomplish everything on my list that day.

This process has always worked well for me and as a result I am not a procrastinator.  One of my pet peeves is being late for anything. I also cannot stand having a ton of pressure on me to rush to complete tasks, so I avoid being put in that position. Using my approach to time management, I am rarely late or rushed.  Having said that, I do think I will have to finesse my week to week approach since I have to now consider midterms, finals and projects, and I may need more than a week to prepare for those.  If I am realistic with my workload, consider my obligations, and plan ahead, I expect I can succeed in my first online class or anything else I want to achieve.