This post was written by Binod Jwarchan, a recipient of the CUNY School of Professional Studies ACE Scholarship.

Online education has been a boon for busy individuals who can’t commit to be present in the traditional classroom in the set schedule every week. Though there are various online schools and the format of online education provided by these institutions are likely to vary, in this essay my own personal online learning experience here at CUNY School of Professional Studies will be shared.

CUNY SPS is the online school provided by City University of New York in various fields such as Business, Nursing, Psychology, Information Technology and so forth. I pursued a BS degree in Business. Each class has three credits. In general, each class requires you to allot 9 to 12 hours of study time, which meant 1 credit hour required 3 or 4 hours of study depending on difficulty level of the particular class. For most classes, the school week starts on Monday and ends on Sunday, which means the deadline for most work is at midnight on Sunday. Most classes have a discussion board each week where topics relate to the materials studied that particular week. They also have separate assignments or quizzes going on each week like in the regular classroom. In sum, it involves a lot of reading and writing, and emphasizes analytical thinking on the part of student.

There were certain things that I found really important, and that I want to share with you today. First, it’s very important to manage time effectively. Managing time starts with allotting a certain amount of time to a particular class each week. If you are a working individual, you shouldn’t make any compromise on those allotted hours separated for that particular class.
I also found studying in pieces very useful, which means I set like 40 to 50 minutes on my alarm clock for one class. After I complete that duration studying for that particular class, I take a 5 to 10 minutes break, and start another class with similar 40 to 50 minutes duration. Identifying your peak hours also helps. For example, since I am a morning person, I generally devote this time studying and learning new or difficult things.

The second critical success factor is the motivation that keeps you get going. Generally, at the start of the semester, it happens that you have a lot of energy and you are really excited for the exciting journey. But, as the pressure of the class and your other obligations pile up, passing through middle towards the end of the semester gets tougher. The most important motivation factor for me was “desire to learn.” As I got tired bombarded with tons of new things, I tried not to get embarrassed and burnt out, and instead took it by making up my mind that “I will learn one thing at a time, and this process would be continuous as it goes on.” This mindset helped me to lessen my stress, and helped me get going. Also, the desire to learn helped me to get motivated every passing day in many cases trying to take best from the materials supplied.

Thus, though online education provides you the flexibility to learn on your own pace away from the rigid timetable of the traditional classroom, it poses certain challenges, and overcoming them needs your own roadmap to succeed.       

Binod Jwarchan is a recipient of the CUNY SPS ACE Scholarship, a scholarship program designed to support high-achieving undergraduate students Achieve College Education (ACE). She will graduate from the Business program at the end of this semester.