With the summer semester over I finally have a chance to breathe a bit. I finished my Social Media class with a 98.65%, one of my highest scores to-date. I’m really happy with it, but grades like that don’t come easy. So this week I’d like to discuss the great balancing act that comes with attending classes online.
Attending classes online has many pros and cons but the largest of them can be summed up in one statement. You can attend class when you have time but you have to make time for class. It seems like a simple enough concept but in reality there is a lot that can affect your schedule and ability to handle the coursework. Things like work, your family, your hobbies, really just life in general can all toss a figurative wrench in the works.
So how do you balance it all? That answer can be really complex and the solutions are different for everyone, but there are some universal things that can help.
Probably the most important thing anyone that is trying to further their education can do is make a commitment to themselves to make school a priority. It sounds simple enough, but there are going to be days when logging into school is HARD. There will be days when work sucked, your writing has been difficult, the kids are sick, the dog pooped on the floor, and all you want to do is marathon a show on Netflix even though you KNOW you have an assignment due by midnight. Those moments are when you have to push through and do the work. If you don’t keep your commitment to yourself you are neglecting the education you are paying good money to get. You get out what you put in when comes to solo coursework.
Knowing your school schedule is a huge help. With online classes, your assignment schedule is usually the same every semester. For instance, at Southern New Hampshire University, our semesters are eight weeks and two days. This format is typical of many online schools. The classes are broken up into Eight Modules (or Weeks depending on the teacher/class). Modules/Weeks One through Seven run from 12 a.m. Monday to 11:59 p.m. Sunday. At SNHU, you can guarantee that you will have an Initial Discussion Post due on Thursday and two Discussion Responses due on Sunday. You’ll also have other assignments like quizzes, tests, or papers peppered in through out the course and these are all due at the same time as your Sunday Responses. Week/Module Eight always has two extra days built in to allow for reflection and make-up work. Because of that the Initial Discussion Post for that week is due on Saturday and everything else becomes due Tuesday. All assignments are due by 11:59 p.m. The first week everything is due on Eastern Time, for the rest of the term it is based on the student’s time zone. Once you get used to your assignment schedule you can start and then establish a good routine.
Lastly, and I’ve talked about this in a previous article, is to invest in a good planner. Keep track of everything you need to do. If you know ahead of time when you have stuff going on you will know when you can carve out chunks of time for school work. Each class needs about 8-10 hours a week if you want to be really successful and get the most out of school. Planning ahead is important.
The work/life/school balance is a hard thing to navigate but with patience and practice anyone can do it. It just takes a serious commitment to yourself.