Review of a Semester Online

As you may have read in one of my previous blog posts, I decided to take this spring semester online. I wrote about my experiences with it so far, as of the first few weeks of classes. Now that I’m doing finals, it seems like a good time to revisit my previous evaluation of online courses. Motivation, time management and difficulty learning are three main obstacles with online learning that I’ve come across.

The biggest obstacle to overcome when you take an online course, in my opinion, is motivation. Finding it can be difficult, when you know you won’t have to walk into class at 8 a.m. and see your teacher’s face when you don’t hand in your homework assignment. I’m motivated by deadlines, which is great for taking online courses since due dates are often the only thing keeping you from piling work up until the last week of April. Some of my classes didn’t mandate homework be turned in weekly, though, and I’ll admit that I might have procrastinated just a little bit. This week has been busy.

That leads me into my second point, time management. It’s all too easy to get relaxed and think, “I don’t need much time to do that – I’ll get it done Sunday night.” Then, Sunday night rolls around and you’re preoccupied with friends, family, and other obligations, and there you are, with a late assignment. It’s also really easy to forget when you have a test. Most of my classes online open a test on a set day, during a set time period. If you miss it, too bad for you (if you’re lucky, the teacher offers makeup exams at the end of the semester). If you don’t keep a running to-do list with dates and times, or a calendar, you’re probably going to forget something.

Another problem I found is learning the material. I can sit down, open up a PowerPoint and take notes on it with no problem, the same as being in a classroom. But when you don’t have the teacher explaining a difficult concept to you in person, when you can’t watch them work it out on a whiteboard or listen to your classmates ask questions, it gets difficult. I’ve utilized tools other than my textbooks and teacher-provided references in order to understand some of my homework. Be prepared to have to work harder and dig up answers – no one is there to hand them to you.

I definitely wouldn’t discourage taking online classes at CCBC. If you’re still scheduling, don’t rule them out, and if you already enrolled in one, this wasn’t written to talk you out of it. Take it as some friendly advice, and be sure not to underestimate the work you have to put in to succeed.

Rachael, student blogger

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Another Year in the Bag!

I’ve learned a lot this year in general. For one, college is WAY different than high school, and (in my opinion), a lot better. CCBC has given me a window of opportunities to better prepare for my future, and further plan for my future. I’ve experienced new professors, new classmates, and new teaching styles, and I can’t complain about any of it. This was a great year!

Second, college is not all fairies and rainbows. College is hard at times, and half the time, I’ll admit, I didn’t feel like putting in effort to try, or rolling out of bed to drive to campus at all. Setting goals for myself really helped though, and gave me a purpose to what I was doing, and helped me realize why I was doing it.

Third, balancing work and college is anything but easy at times. I was enrolled as a full-time student here at CCBC both for this spring semester, and the 2014 fall semester. In January, I was promoted to assistant manager, bumping up the hours I got each week at work. There were days that I would work 40+ hours a week (to some may not be a lot, but for someone new to it, it was for me), and trying to balance my 4 classes on top of that. It wasn’t easy, and I learned in those situations, you have to write notes, set scheduled times, and remain organized, or you probably won’t get something done that’s important.

Overall, the challenges I endured, the people I met, and the classes I took all encouraged me as a student. If you’re a freshman like me, we did it—one year under our belts, and probably at least one more to go. This year gave me hope though. If I can put my mind to it, I can dream it, and I can live it. Best of luck to everyone during finals week, and best of luck to those graduating or transferring colleges after this year—keep working toward your goals and dreams, you’ve got another year of schooling down!

Austin, student blogger

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The Big Finale

This is it… The final countdown. We’re almost there, ladies and gentlemen. It’s almost time for summer. For going to the drive-in, swimming, having bonfires, sleeping in, and taking a mental break from the college experience. I don’t know about all of you but I am so unbelievably ready for summer, it’s crazy. I’m ready to not have to constantly worry about how I’m going to find time to do everything that I need to do while going to college full time, having a full-time job, and still maintaining some sort of social life. I’m ready to feel the relief of leaving campus the last day of classes and realizing that I did it. I survived my freshmen year of college. I’m ready to no longer have an 8 a.m class every Monday and Wednesday. But before I do any of these wonderful things, I have to get through one final obstacle… Finals Week *Duh Duh Duhmmm*
It’s a frustrating week. It’s a scary week. It’s a stressful week. This is it. This is what your entire semester boils down to and that is frightening to me. But as I sit here thinking about what’s waiting on the other side of this week, I’m filled with confidence in myself and the other students here at CCBC. We are all here for one reason, to make ourselves better. We have everything we need to sail through this week with ease so believe in yourself, fellow student, and know that I believe in you as well.
Samantha, student blogger
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Keeping the Piggy Bank Full

College is getting more and more expensive as the years go by. Going to a community college does help save some money but even so, I know that I need to find ways to save some more. I did some research and found a few gems to help you keep your piggy bank full during your college experience!

Scholarships: Let’s face it, college is expensive and not everyone can afford to pay their tuition fully. That’s where scholarships come in. Scholarships are defined as a grant or payment made to support a student’s education, awarded on the basis of academic or other achievement. You can get a scholarship for almost anything, like being left-handed or wearing glasses. You just need to know where to look. Scholarships.com is a great website where you enter a profile and the website gives you hundreds of scholarships that you are eligible to apply for.

Rent Your Books: Buying the books you need for a college class is nice, if you are going to use them again. But if you are a nursing major taking an English class or computer class, there is no use spending the money to buy a book you’re not going to use again. There are many great websites out there where you can rent your textbooks cheaply, like chegg.com or textbook.com.

Making a Budget and Sticking to It: There are plenty of ways to make sure you aren’t spending more money than you should, and one is to make a budget. Mint.com is a great way to manage your money. It gets all of your financial information in one place so you have an idea of where your money is going and what you should be doing to reach your saving goals.

Food: Although the cafe has some pretty tasty food, it is much easier to save some money to pack your own lunch. That way you ensure you won’t spend money on food and also guarantee you will like what’s for lunch. Another thing to do while being money conscious is to not eat out. It is always cheaper (not to mention healthier) to make food at home rather than going to a restaurant or fast food chain.

These tips aren’t set in stone to save money but I do know they help me out a lot. And I hope they help all of you as well.

Samantha, student blogger

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Balancing College and Work

I knew it would be a challenge, but I knew I could do it. For my first year of college, I only scheduled my classes on Monday Wednesday, and Friday. I only had one class on Friday for two hours, so I considered it my catch-up day. I wanted to keep working because I obviously need money. I work at McDonald’s Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. That might not seem like a hard job, but believe me it is harder than what you think. I also work past my shift on most days, and I do a lot of walking while I’m there. I also take care of customer’s problems; this can be a difficult process especially when the customer is mad. I do get tired, and sometimes I do get overwhelmed. It definitely does get old not having a day off, so I usually try to request one Sunday a month off. It’s not that hard to balance college and school. I try to think about how the future will get better; in fact, one day I will make more money being a nurse, and I will only have to go to work, not school and work.

When going to work and college, you just need to make sure you have self-discipline. Make sure you get your homework and studying done on time, but never forget to give yourself time to go out with your friends or significant other. Since I only have one two-hour class on Friday, right after class, I try to do homework for at least two hours. When I have breaks between classes, I go find a quiet place to do homework or to study. I always make sure to use my spare time wisely. Working and college leaves no time to procrastinate. I am constantly writing a to-do list to make sure I don’t forget to do homework or even to do my laundry. However, I never forget to give myself free time. My free time motivates me to get my school work done so that I can relax. Balancing work and college is a challenge, but you will be able to handle it as long as you use your time wisely.

Emily, student blogger

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