I can’t tell you how excited I am right now, because I have just completed my first semester of grad school. While final grades will not be out until next week sometime, I already know I am on track for an A in both classes. I finished up my last accounting exam on Saturday morning and I was super nervous about it because it was on stocks and bonds that were actually really hard for me to fully understand. Thank goodness it was open notes and everything but I just took my time and took the longest I did for any of the other exams to fully think through the questions. I was happy when I hit submit and only missed a couple that I had guessed on. There were even some that I guessed on that I did get correct so I was happy about that too. And now the pressure is lifted for a month as I enjoy the holidays.
I did want to reflect on my first semester though. I am only taking 2 classes at a time and I honestly can’t imagine taking more than that along with working full time and keeping my gym schedule (which is important to my sanity). October and the first couple weeks of November were definitely the hardest. I spent a good 8 hours at times of my weekends working on assignments and preparing for the week. However, even with all that, it gave me something to be excited about. Honestly, I love my program so much!! I was worried initially with doing online classes because I do like the actual sitting in a classroom and interacting with others. I worried about feeling alone with online classes, but part of the main reason I applied to Penn State’s program was the fact that you have interaction with the teachers and other students as you are put in teams. I didn’t realize when I applied that I would have group assignments throughout the program, but the first class you are required to take is a Teaming Class. I have to say it was really interesting and I was grateful to have such a great first team.
Looking back at this year (and I plan to write another post to reflect on 2018), one of my goals was to get into grad school. Also I would say the best week of the year was my one week at Penn State. Despite the fact that there was a lot of reading homework and it was a full 8 hours or more of class and interaction, it was amazing!! I was riding the high from the week for the rest of August and into September. Every time the stress of assignments got tough, I would remind myself, I chose this. I chose this program and I know it is a way I am investing now for my future.
I think back to my undergrad years and I honestly didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I just knew, I had to go to college. I graduated with my bachelor’s in 2012 and soon after, I wasn’t happy with my first job and I wanted more, but I still didn’t know what. I thought about grad school, but how would I pay for that and why was I going? At that point, I was thinking about grad school as a way out of working and as I went through the process, I just wasn’t feeling motivated or that it was right. If I went to grad school, I wanted to feel like it was right, because while my undergrad degree felt like it was something I HAD to get, a graduate degree felt more like an option.
So it took 5 years from graduating and working in 3 states before I decided to look into graduate degrees again. With a specific purpose in mind, it came down to 2 schools, Syracuse and Penn State because of the concentrations they offered and the flexibility of online. Penn State was my top choice and I couldn’t have been more excited to start. I was nervous, but that quickly went away when I met up with people in person at our week residency. Everyone of all range of ages from 20-50 years old. So many backgrounds and so much networking. I felt like I belonged. I was happy to share my travels and listen to other people’s travels. To top it off, I knew I was not in this alone. I had my team. I have Penn State as a team and the other 79 students who started the same week as me. We may all take the program at our own pace, but it was an amazing uplifting week.
As the semester went on, things didn’t change. We had live sessions with our teachers each week or every other week, which are great for interacting not only with other students, but with your teacher directly. The teachers were very responsive with questions too. Also, school gave me something to work on outside of work and the gym. It kept me busy as Brian has been away a lot of the past 5 months. Now that he is home…we will see how Spring goes lol. But it was still exciting to be learning something new. In addition, I loved the team class as we learned about why a team fails and how to make a team succeed. There is so much I took away from this semester, but one thing is that I also can believe in myself more and look back to see how much I accomplished and I look forward to the next semester after a little break.
Have you ever taken online classes? If so, do you prefer online or in person?