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What Type of Learner Are You?

Hi everyone, my name is Coy.

The year 2011 was a year of opportunities, challenges, and new experiences. My first semester as a CUNY SPS student greatly expanded my perspectives as I found myself introduced to the vast amount of resources we – students, workers, and citizens of a digital world – all have at our disposal. Now that 2011 is at a close, I find myself with an opportunity to reflect back on what drew me toward the CUNY SPS community……..

For the majority of Americans, acceptance into a university is considered a milestone – a portal of sorts that allows graduates entrance into a successful career and fulfilling life. University life is viewed with awe as hopeful high school graduates contemplate the schools they will attend, the courses they will study, the clubs they will involve themselves in, the people they will meet, and the knowledge they will exit with. The prospects of university life are often made better when it is considered that as college freshmen they may live on-campus and thus practice ‘real-life skills’ – such as meeting deadlines, budgeting, and time management – away from home. When the four (or more) years have been completed, the new graduate proudly displays their degree and promptly walks into a job which highlights the skills honed at the university. Although, current economic times render these oft-held expectations of university life improbable, many hopeful college entrants entertain such dreams. Up until July 8th 2011, I was one of these many college hopefuls, albeit, one with a slightly different story.

I am a tennis athlete who has always preferred homeschooling. Like many of my same-age peers with whom I grew up, I imagined myself playing for whichever university offered me a scholarship. I saw myself on the pristine courts of universities known for their tennis accomplishments such as UCLA or USC. Throughout my early years as a tennis player, prospects seemed good. I consistently played tournaments, amassed several tournament wins, and generally finished in the top ten of my respective age division. Things seemed to be on the right track until I was injured. Before I knew it, tennis had taken a backseat and my scholarship plans were halted. It was clear I would need to find an alternate method of attending a university.

Since my dreams of a college scholarship would not be fulfilled as I had hoped, I began taking community college courses. In the beginning, I had merely hoped to augment my high school education. However, as I took more and more community college classes, I began to consider the idea of transferring my units to a university and begin pursing a baccalaureate degree in earnest. I had gathered approximately seventy units and was anxiously researching universities to determine where I could go. I did not want to leave home so the program would have to be online; yet, I also wanted a rigorous instruction that would build upon the knowledge I had gained and challenge my ideas. By chance, I discovered City University of New York School of Professional Studies. Further investigation revealed that SPS offered online baccalaureate degrees and would accept up to ninety units. It seemed as if I had found the right program.

I contacted CUNY SPS and began the enrollment process. I tracked down transcripts, composed a personal statement, completed applications, and impatiently awaited a letter of acceptance. I received it July 8th and shortly thereafter began to correspond with my Academic Advisor. She proved very helpful as I secured my classes, responding to my questions and concerns in a timely and informed manner. I soon became acclimated to my classes and enjoyed a highly successful first semester as an SPS student. As the Spring Semester approaches, I am looking forward not only to my upcoming classes but also to engaging with the wider CUNY community through our Community Blog.

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!