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2011 is behind us and now we’ve embarked on a new year, 2012.
Last year was a pretty good year, especially for me in academia. As many students can attest, the beginning of a new semester can bring with it, new challenges, fresh perspectives and even elevated stresses.
In my experience, as a mom, full-time employee and part-time online student – organization is key. (Notice how I rated all of my responsibilities).
First, before registration begins, I discuss my registration options with my academic advisor. Who in my view, is a pretty awesome lady! I know sometimes we feel that we’re capable of doing the basic things on our own such as applying to the classes of our choice – but in order to fully take advantage of your highest potential, it’s always a good practice to seek out help from an advisor who can view your strengths and weaknesses before making a recommendation.
This tactic proved to be very successful thus far. And while I can’t say there weren’t times when I wanted to give up, my adviser was there to lead me in the right direction.
Second, communication is vital. Communication is a means by which two or more people interact. If you find there’s trouble lurking or that you’re not quite sure how to get an assignment completed, talk to your professor – they’re the first point of contact. The staff at SPS are truly great at responding to the needs of their students. Being an adult can sometimes make you feel like you shouldn’t ask for help. Well, I couldn’t disagree more.
That’s the whole point of communicating!
At times home life, work and school can wear on you as an individual. But the way to come out on top is to ask for help when it is needed. I’ve also found that communicating with classmates has proven to be fruitful. For the past two semesters, I’ve met some really nice people on blackboard.
Third, networking is essential. Find at least one classmate in every class that you stay in contact with, in case you’re unable to attend class or have to travel for work or family related issues. This can serve as a backup plan. Remember, we’re adults and should be able manage our schedules accordingly. (Especially since we do it for our children and jobs)!
Don’t neglect your responsibilities.
Fourth, stay on track with all assignments. Again, this is as essential as any other item I’ve listed. Staying on track with assignments will keep you focused and also help you to remain in sync with quizzes, tests and projects, to which a portion of your final grade can/will be affected. I’ve found, when I see myself falling behind, I remain in contact with my professor. Look things happen, this isn’t a perfect world we live in. It’s the professors decision to delay or extend a due date. At most, they’re willing to help to if you keep them abreast of the issues. If that isn’t feasible, ask your professor if they’re assigning extra credit. I recommend all students take advantage of these extra points, since you never know what may happen down the road.
Points do add up!
Your experience is what you make it. Get ready, get set, and go!
Time is something that we all have but could always use more of. When I first started at The School of Professional Studies for the online B.A in Communication and Culture, I found out quickly that time management is key for succeeding. Just like anything in life, managing your time is essential to stay organized and focused. I believe that online learning is a great tool to help students to manage their time. Life is busy, there is always something that needs to be done but completing an education online can fit right in to our hectic lives. One way that I have I found to be beneficial is setting time to really sit down and focus. Learning to be persistent in completing assigned work is a great way to stay on top of your studies. My first semester has gone well for me and I plan on keeping it up.
The Discussion Board is a huge part of online education. It is very important to collaborate with fellow classmates. This helps in the “Discussion” part of the class. I also find it nice to learn how other students communicate with each other and their thoughts about weekly subjects. You really do connect with the other students in the class and even friendships occur. I feel like online learning is a great way to learn how to communicate through writing.
Another big part of online learning is turning in work on time. The Professors give deadlines and they are reasonable due dates. This allows students to learn how to manage their time as well. Turning work in on time also prepares students for the demands associated with having a job. It is best to keep a calendar with all due dates and it helps to not wait until the last minute to start an assignment. For me, I would work a little at a time so that I know I put 100% into the assignment. Remember, it is not how well you did but how well you tried. Nobody in the world is perfect but giving your all is all anyone can ask of you.
It is funny actually; when I was younger college wasn’t in my plans. I wanted to start working and making money. I thought why should I go to college? I soon learned that having a degree would allow me use my talents in many different ways. When I finally got the encouragement from family to try out college I started out at Queensborough Community College. I saw that my G.P.A was high and that I actually enjoyed college. The first time I was on the Dean’s List I became obsessed with achieving my goal. I stayed focused and pushed myself even harder. I had one more semester left to completing my Associates Degree but I decided I wanted more so I transferred to The School of Professional Studies. So here I tell you, if you have the desire then you are able to move mountains. It is great having family and friends that believe in you but nothing actually happens until you believe in yourself.
Here at The School of Professional Studies you will have all of the tools to build a great future for yourself. You just need to dedicate time for completing your work. I found that if I had a problem the Professors were eager to help me with any questions that I have. The support that I have here at SPS is amazing! I am excited about next semester and I wish everyone luck in their future goals.
I encourage you all to do your best and to never give up. I hope everyone stays focused in this adventure that we have. Enjoy it and try your hardest because hard work always pays off.
Amy Bolick is a Communication and Culture major at the CUNY School of Professional Studies. She enjoys reading, traveling and writing. Her goal is to one day be an author for children’s books so she can educate children and teach them life lessons.
Most of us are professionals of some sort. I am a project manager for a major trading firm. I live in NYC with my wife. We lead busy lives. We have families to tend to…responsibilities to keep. For whatever reason, my education slipped through the cracks. Our lives can become overgrown with other obligations. Money was short. The degree programs weren’t relative. No time for classrooms. These are all valid explanations. However, they are not worthy excuses for not finishing our education.
Life is not always as straightforward as people make it out to be. We have these notions that have been fed into our brains since we were children: you grow up, go to college, get a job, find a mate, buy a house, have kids…yada yada yada. But my experience has been quite different from that one. I struggled. I procrastinated. I traveled. I goofed around. After all, if I didn’t know what I wanted to be…why should I commit to a degree?
I am now at the cusp of finishing my degree. This is my last semester in the CUNY Online Baccalaureate program. Next spring I will proudly walk the aisle and receive my diploma from Dean Mogulescu and take in the moment with my family. It will be well-deserved. However, the journey does not stop there. In many ways I feel this is only the beginning. Now that I am older (hopefully wiser) I realize that it is not about the destination. It is about the journey. Whereas before when I was but a clueless youth who had and upside-down goose’s sense of direction, I now know that it doesn’t really matter. After I graduate, I am considering a plethora of options. I could go on to grad school (because I learned that learning is fun!)…I could commit to writing more. I could start my own business.
Henry David Thoreau said : “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.”
The truth is I don’t completely know what comes next. Who really does? But I do know that I will have completed a major milestone in my life that will continue to serve me in many different areas. That simplification process that Thoreau was talking about is really just putting one step in front of the other. I have dreams. I am walking towards them. I am setting goals for myself and reaching them one by one. It is very satisfying. And, it gives me hope for the future…something that is a tad scarce in these times.
So, if you find yourself considering finishing your education… stop considering. Do it. If you find that you are overwhelmed and in the thick of a challenging semester…push through. The unintended consequence of learning is that it makes you a better person by pushing you forward into new possibilities rather than just staying in the same place. And that sounds good to me.
Charlie Newell is in his last semester for the BA in Communications and Culture. He is presently working as a Project Manager for a firm on Wall St. He enjoys sports, outdoors, cooking, travelling and his wife.
One of the first things that come to mind when I think about what it means to be a student is the need to excel at time management. There are certainly many aspects to learning, but I have those moments when I’m faced with the difficulties of being a working adult, which is compounded by my desire to learn and to excel in the academic side of life. With the digital structure that modern society is becoming, I’m able to plan things ahead of time to allow myself enough space in my daily routine to get things done. Electronic calendars are favorites of mine, because a pop up is all it takes to remember that I have an assignment due and when it is due. I can also divide my tasks into days, so I know to focus on things at their appropriate time rather than waiting and scrambling to get things done at an inopportune moment. Computers and PDAs can be of great help when setting schedules, and putting your life in order.
However, I don’t depend on the myriad of electronics I have at my disposal alone, because they’re not as dependable as they appear. I have had computers crash when I needed them most and I’ve had my blackberry –which I love beyond reason –shut off on me at the wrong time. I have different mechanisms myself for backing up everything I do and everything I plan to do. This is where flexibility comes in. As an SPS student, I know everything is accessible –from professors to classmates, and random librarians with magic fingers. Aside from the accessibility, there is also the added element of connectivity between students. In modern day education, we don’t have to be in the same place to work together. Collaboration is as simple as logging on to a tool such as Pronto, or through Blackboard’s message boards. Being a student is much more dependent on a personal drive to learn than it is on the ability to relocate oneself to a brick and mortar institution, or physically sitting next to someone you’re assigned to work with. We’re also given a better platform to be creative, because when you’re not restrained by time or space, you’re more equipped to add your own flavor to what you have learned rather than spewing other people’s thoughts as your own. SPS students can work together –each one adding to a project on his time –at a fast rate because the issue of time can be minimized.
While flexibility is essential, and creativity even more important, there is no understating the importance of time management. Whether you succeed or not will depend on how you apply yourself, but a brilliant student who submits assignments late or misses them is only brilliant in his own head. Academic aptitude cannot be measured by interaction alone, so if you’re great at teamwork but cannot prove your own merits through material proof, then it stands to reason that you are not learning.
Charles is pursuing a BA in Communications and Culture. He is the author of “Fields of Discovery”, and “On the Eve of Departure”. He is also an avid Arsenal and Real Madrid fan.