To help share what it’s really like to pursue a degree while keeping up with the demands of a busy personal and professional life, new student Ebonie Townsend agreed to document her experience with regular posts on the AIU blog. Ebonie is pursuing an online business degree at AIU and currently works for Harrington College of Design, a member of the Career Education network of universities and colleges. Read her latest blog post below:
I managed to pull an A minus in my Business 105 class. I was disappointed not to have landed a solid A, but after a five-year hiatus from higher ed, a 3.7 GPA isn’t too shabby!
My business class ended on a Sunday and in what seemed like the blink of an eye, I had two new classes waiting in my student portal Monday morning. I had just submitted my final Individual Project for Business 105 the night before and had no time to mentally prepare for what lay ahead of me.
All the while, life continues to happen. Family members get sick, dinner still needs to be cooked, errands have to be completed and Christmas shopping has to be done!
In the first few weeks of my second session, I’ve learned that there aren’t any secrets to success. The only way I will do well in my course work is to do the work, and do it well. Some nights, I didn’t go to sleep until 5:30 in the morning. I missed my best friend of over 10 years’ birthday dinner last weekend. Some mornings I have to get up two hours prior to my normal waking time to do homework before heading to my day job. (I loathe early mornings, by the way!)
Last week in my Cultural Studies class, I was assigned my first group project at AIU Online. I’d already told my professor during a chat that I dreaded group projects as I always end up doing most of the work. Needless to say, there wasn’t as much participation from my group members as I would have liked, and so I found myself spending my Thanksgiving shelling out assignments. My mom was sweet enough to postpone Thanksgiving dinner for me, so I enjoyed some much-needed family time a couple of days after!
Aside from the stress of managing a full-time course load, I am truly enjoying my time learning. I love that I can demonstrate what I know through elaborative writing instead of multiple choice tests! My peers are very transparent in our Discussion Board activities, and it’s a pleasure learning with them. This Unit in my Intro to Psychology course, we’re expounding on Emotional Intelligence and learning about critical thinking. We have to write about an experience where we acted mindlessly rather than thoughtfully and then identify critical thinking strategies that could have been utilized in our situations. I had peers to talk about past relationships and marriages and open up about very personal hurdles. This allows us to apply textbook principles to real-life situations!
I accept the fact that the next two years won’t be easy, and I’m okay with that. I am grateful to have two very flexible professors. I expressed how overwhelmed I’ve been to them, and they’ve made themselves available to me at any time for questions. Now that I’m halfway through my third week of my second session, I’m beginning to feel more confident balancing my new course load with the rest of my responsibilities. At the time of this writing, I am maintaining solid A grades in both my Cultural Studies and Psychology courses. I plan to finish strong!