Tag Archives: college

4 Organizational Tips for the Online Student

As an online student, it is important to be organized. Being organized can make your educational experience less painful and stressful. Your homework can seem less daunting. And when you are calm and not stressed, then your work will reflect that.

4 Organizational Tips for the Online Student

1. Use binders!

20150515_212301At the end of every term, I get two binders and fill them with loose leaf paper. I then log onto Blackboard and put out the syllabus, rubrics and any other required reading, such as an article. I punch holes in them with my handy pink hole puncher. The paperwork goes inside the binder.

It’s not very fancy. It is pretty simple. But it works for me. What is most important is that my two classes are kept separate and all resources are printed out for further perusal.

2. Use a filing system!

Filing SystemAt the completion of every term, I take everything out of the binders. I file all of my school papers into a filing system. This way, my school papers are easy to access. I’m the kind of person who does not like to throw away school stuff and textbooks. Just in case I need it if a fellow student had a question about a course that I already took.

3. Use a to-do list!

to-do listTo-do lists are amazing for keeping life organized. When I have a lot of things I’ve got to do (which is often) I grab a piece of paper and write down everything I need to get done. As I complete each task, I cross it off my list. This is also an effective time management tool.

4. Use color!

HighlightersBrighten up your life with some color! Use highlighters! I highlight my rubrics and textbooks. It’s a great way to make important words pop out.

Comment below and tell me what you use to organize your life.

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Top 6 Things I Learned at SNHU

6 Things That I Learned at SNHU

 As I approach the end of my time at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), I would like to share the top eleven things that I have learned. (Note: These eleven things are not in any particular order).

1. Time Management

Since I take online classes at a brick-and-mortar college, 95 percent of my education is dependent upon me and how well I can get my work down on time. Like most online students, I have extremely busy with work, personal life and school. This means that I have had to learn how to prioritize and plan. I have to plan my work in advance. I have to take it one assignment or task at a time. Once one task is done, then I can move on to the next. This is the key to managing my stress level. I’m glad that I have had to learn how to manage my time because this will be extremely important post-graduation.

2. Teamwork

Taking online classes at a traditional brick-and-mortar school, it may seem as if I don’t have many opportunities for collaboration. Not true! In my Writing for Public Relations class this term, my professor divided the class up into two groups. I am a member of group A. Every week, we work on a different project together using a Wiki platform. One week, we created a flier for an organization. Another week, we wrote news leads. It is an interesting experience as we all learn to set aside our differences and work together to create a project. It has helped to bring new ideas that I alone would not have thought of.

3. Leadership

Teamwork is tied closely with leadership. Teamwork cannot happen without leadership, and vice versa. On SNHU’s social media site, I am one of the Peer Leaders. I motivate new students by giving advice and sharing personal stories. I learned that being a leader is not about giving orders. It is about setting an example, accepting and receiving feedback, and working as part of a team. It is about motivating others and holding others accountable. Leaders are the first people to get up and do something. They set the bar high and expect others to follow.

4. Motivation

I have to stay motivated at SNHU to succeed. Since I don’t have to attend class three or four days a week, it is up to me to make sure that I know what the assignments are and when they are due. It is up to me to make sure that I do these assignments. For me, motivation comes in the form of my impending graduation. I have three classes left, after this one, and then I am done. When I am that close, that’s even more reason to keep going. Another way that I get motivated is (call me crazy) is by watching SNHU commercials. Those commercials are really entertaining.

5. Networking

Since starting at SNHU, I have tried to cultivate my online presence by polishing up my personal brand. I have a LinkedIn profile, which I use to connect with fellow SNHU students and alumni, as well as connecting with people in my chosen field. I also have a Twitter account for networking and promoting this blog. Networking is about making friends, connecting with industry experts, and putting myself out there. I communicate until I get heard loud and clear. I make a name for myself so that I am not just some random person out of a million with a Facebook page.

6. KISS

Chances are, you are familiar with this acronym. KISS stands for Keep It Simple, Silly. As a Communications major, I do a lot of writing for my classes. I write news releases and articles. I create brochures and write memos. In each of these assignments, I am realizing the value of using short sentences and common words. I have to write to be understood and not just to impress.

Being Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

A very wise person once told me that I need to be comfortable being uncomfortable. I did not understand what he meant then.

But eventually, it hit me. It means that I need to take risks. I need to be comfortable doing things that I don’t like to do out of fear or some other reason. I need to put myself out there.

Doing the same things over and over again in a very repetitious manner can be boring. But it can also be comfortable. We like things that are safe. Being safe ensures survival. But when we constantly are engaging in safe things, then there is no opportunity for growth.

Recently, I hosted a Google Hangout with some of my friends at my school. As you may already know, I attend college online. One thing that I’ve been missing is the face-to-face interactions that are the norm at traditional colleges. Now, the Google Hangout was a very casual exchange. It was equivalent to a group of friends meeting in the dining hall for lunch on campus.

But I’m not going to lie. I was pretty terrified prior to the meeting. I have a fear of public speaking, and it seems to increase in an online environment.

But instead of letting this fear define me or hold me back, I confronted it head on. I hosted a Google Hangout meeting because I wanted to get comfortable with video conferencing.

I’m not going to say that I’m a pro at video conferencing now. I would need more exposure before I’m really truly comfortable. But it was a start. And I felt proud of myself for taking this risk and confronting my fear.

How I came to major in Communications

Since I started college in 2007 at age 18, I’ve been through at least five different majors.

I started college with the intent to become an English major. I love the written word. I love reading British lit (Jane Eyre, Oliver Twist). I wanted to become a published writer. But then college started, I took a couple of introductory German classes and I absolutely fell in love. I loved the words, the grammar, the nuances of the language. I loved writing in German, listening to my professor speak German, and I loved the culture of Germany. German happened, took me over, and I changed my major from English to German.

For the first two years of my college career, I took German major courses. I even studied abroad in Berlin and had the most amazing experience. I loved the operas, the museums, the Brandenburg Gate, the city, the people.

And yet, I felt that German was not my destiny. I loved it, but it wasn’t in my future. In other words, it wasn’t my calling. I’ve had near instances during those two vital years of college in which I questioned German. I took Art History, Psychology, and Mythology — all of which I loved equally. I considered majoring in those disciplines.

Four years later and I enrolled at SNHU. I did some research. By now, I wasn’t the same wide-eyed teenager in college. I was a semi-experienced professional who  viewed college differently. Previously, I viewed it was the logical next step after high school. It was the path to freedom from parents and discovering oneself. Now, I view college as a means for self-improvement and advancing one’s career.

I chose Communications.  I have so far loved all of my communications classes. I love to blog and I love the idea of social media. I am fascinated by how it has brought people together. I love how we can use social media to connect with celebrities and organizations. I really think that communications is my calling. It was what I was meant to major in all along.

Dreams at 26

I’m 26 years old. I am a twenty-something. I can no longer say that I am a young adult or that I’m in my early twenties. I have my feet solidly in my twenties. I look back to those angsty teenage years and those rocky early twenties, and I am filled with awe and wonder. Where has all the time gone? Have I changed? Who have I become?

I’m at the point in my life when I can still remember those early years and still be able to look forward to what is coming next. I remember the day that I turned 10 and how super excited I was to finally be in the double digits. I remember turning 13, excited about changes and middle school.

And then I remember turning eighteen, excited about high school graduation and the college years. Eighteen signified adulthood, independence, voting rights, and college. Eighteen was the magic number, sandwiched between the awkward teen years and impending adulthood.

Turning twenty was another momentous event. It marks the end of adolescence and the official beginning of adulthood. I could finally say that I was in my twenties. I was no longer a child. I could finally start to make my mark on the world. Even at twenty, I was still filled with dreams. I wanted to join the Peace Corps and help people. I wanted to help people better themselves.

Even now, at 26, that desire hasn’t changed. I’d like to go forward with my degree and work for a non-profit organization. If I can make a positive impact on even one person’s life, then I would be immensely satisfied. I want work that is meaningful and life changing. I realize that I am just a small piece in the puzzle of the world. But even that small piece can do something big and wonderful. That small piece can change the world.

I’m older and I’d like to think that I am wiser now. But I am still filled with the same idealizations and dreams that I had when I was twenty. And I’m okay with that. I am a dreamer, but I am also a fixer.

4 Benefits of Online Education

For today’s post, I’d like to discuss the benefits of online education. As a disclaimer, I’d like to point out that I am not an expert on online education. I am, however, a student who has been attending online classes for one year, since January 2014.

When I first decided to go back to school — online, if you will — I was nervous, apprehensive, scared, intimidated. I was all of those adjectives rolled into one — and more! My academic advisor at the time went over the platform that the University uses, advised me to only take one class my first term, and made sure that I had dotted all my i’s and crossed all my t’s. In short, I really appreciated her taking the time to acclimate me to the online learning environment. It wasn’t my first time at college but it was my first time doing it online.

After the first few weeks, I adapted. I flourished. I enjoyed it. I had fun. I learned a lot. And continued to do so.

One thing that I loved was that I could work at my own pace. I could study at any time of the day — night or morning. I could work ahead, if I wanted to. Or I could stay with the class and take it week by week. It was my choice. But I relished that freedom.

Second, I loved that I could continue working while going to school. I could gain experience in and out of the virtual classroom. It also gave me an excuse to use what I learned outside of the classroom.

Third, I can work from home. I don’t have to worry about paying room & board. I can cut costs and reduce the amount in student loans that I take out.

And finally, I enjoy attending school with people of different ages, life experiences, and cultural backgrounds. In my classes, I am not only learning from my professors, but the students as well. We are all learning from each other. And collaborative learning is a skill that is used in the workplace.

To recap:

Benefits

  • Work at your own pace.
  • Real world experience while taking classes.
  • Save money on residency / meal plans.
  • Collaborative learning

So, what do you think? Comment below and tell me what you think about online education!

Working & Schooling — Together??!!

So, how do you do it? How do you work 35 – 40 hours a week and still go to school?

A few months ago, I was asked this question by an eighteen year old girl. The short answer: time management.

The long answer:

I attend college the untraditional way: online. I take classes at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). I also work full time, anywhere from 35 – 40 hours. In addition to school and work, I am involved in a number of extracurricular activities. I am a Peer Leader on the university’s social media site. I do some freelance writing on the side. And now I have this blog.

So, how do I do it?

At the beginning of each term (which is eight weeks long), I print out the syllabus for each class (I take two classes every term). The syllabus is a very useful piece of college documentation. It lists all of my assignments and their due dates. For example, let’s say that I have Monday and Friday off. Because discussion board posts are due by Thursday, I would work on the assigned readings on Monday and a discussion board posting. I would then work on the second class’ readings and discussion board postings on Tuesday and Wednesday (giving myself two days because I’m working both days).

Once the discussion board posts are done (usually by Wednesday at the latest), I devote the rest of my week to work on the more time consuming assignments, such as short papers, papers, quizzes, and projects. In my hypothetical example, I still have Friday as a day off to work on those assignments. I also have the nights on the other days.

I feel like that I’ve tried to cram too much information into one post, so let’s recap:

  • Plan your week (use planners to write out a schedule of everything that you have going on)
  • Stick to your schedule
  • Prioritize your life (what’s more important? That big paper you have to write or watching a movie on Netflix?)

And, finally, one thing I did not mention:

  • Reward yourself. Go for a walk, eat a snack, read a book. Something. Anything. Do something that you enjoy to reward yourself  for working hard, getting a good grade, or simply because you deserve it.

So, next time you have a lot of things going on, try this and let me know how it worked out by commenting below!