I have had a wonderful experience taking classes completely online as a means to earn my bachelor’s degree. This was not originally my method of choice. But, as a military spouse and busy mother of two, taking classes online was the best fit for my situation.
I have been a student for years and have attended several institutions because my husband’s career required us to move around a lot. Thus, I did a little research to find a “portable” online program that would allow me to continue my education and finally finish my degree. That’s when I found FIU Online. Today, I am an FIU Online psychology student and I will graduate next year. Along the way, I’ve learned a ton and gained some invaluable insights. But there are five things that my online experience gives me, that will continue to influence my worldview well into the future:
- Hope for the future
I think that nothing is more crushing than giving up something you want to do. In my particular case, I’ve always wanted to earn a bachelor’s degree, but my life circumstances made that a difficult goal to attain. However, FIU Online is allowing me to work toward my objective. Online education is a wonderful option—especially for those of us who are unable to get to a physical campus or relocate often. Hence, I’m hopeful for the future because if I can do this, then there is nothing I can’t do.
- A dream fulfilled
I always dreamed of being able to study abroad but was never afforded the opportunity in my younger years. As an FIU Online student, I was thrilled to find out I could take part in Study Abroad trips. When a chance presented itself last year, I immediately jumped at it. I chose the environmental sustainability program in Costa Rica because I am a nature lover.
- Memories of making a difference
I enjoyed our volunteering efforts most on my Costa Rica Study Abroad trip. I definitely enjoyed touring the country and seeing the cloud forest, but nothing came close to the joy I felt when we completed our assigned humanitarian tasks. The goodbye hugs, the joyful tears, and the appreciation of the people we helped are memories that I will carry with me. The experiences you gain from structured educational travel can be life-changing and the memories are yours to keep forever.
- Discipline and time management skills
I had taken online courses before, so I knew how to properly manage my time. The online Costa Rica course I took prior to the Study Abroad trip educated and certainly prepared me for the things to come. I ensured that I set time aside at the end of each day to journal because we were required to write a final essay at the end of our study abroad trip. Online education offers flexibility, but you still have to do your part to stay on top of things with disciplined study habits and time management skills. Online students must learn to be accountable for themselves or they risk falling behind. These are great life skills that I know I’ll be able to apply to my future career.
- A new strength
I am grateful for the opportunity to finish my degree wherever I may be. I am especially thrilled that I am able to pursue my degree at a reputable university like FIU, which offers so many global opportunities—even for virtual students. I feel renewed strength because I did not have to put my education on hold. As an FIU Online student, I am #PantherPowered and will be ready for the next station in my life.
Article by Stacey Fleurijean, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Class of 2017