Jeannine was excited to be back in school. It had been over 20 years since she dropped out of
college to start her family. She was also excited to graduate as soon as she could so she could get
the promotion her manager promised her once she graduates. The pay increase would help a
lot…and she was ready for a new challenge at work.
Half way through her first class, her excitement started to wane a bit. She started to realize
working full time, taking care of her family, and going to school was no easy task. The online
learning environment was also new to her and presented some unexpected challenges.
As the weeks went on, she started to get more and more behind and her work was not to the level
she expected of herself. Jeannine started to wonder if online education was really for her.
The more she thought about the challenges she was experiencing and the possibility of dropping
out the more she remembered her goal to graduate and receive her bachelor’s degree. She had
waited for over two decades to accomplish this goal…she wasn’t going to let it slip away now.
Jeannine sat down and wrote out all the problems she was facing. She made a list of problems
along with possible solutions to each problem. She thought about how she had power to make
changes and take control of her situation. She had started to feel helpless when the problems
piled up, but after she made the list, she realized she had the ability to control the situation.
The first thing Jeannine did was call her academic counselor. She told her counselor all the
things she was struggling with. Jeannine got some great advice on how to manage her time better
and how to navigate the online learning environment. Her counselor also made her feel like she
wasn’t alone and wasn’t the only person who was struggling. This really boosted her confidence.
With this advice Jeannine wrote out a schedule which indicated all the times she would sit down
and focus on school. She made specific times to check and post in the discussion forum. She also
made sure to review and start all the assignments early in the week so they wouldn’t creep up on
her and have to be completed in a rush. Doing these things took a lot of pressure off of Jeannine
and she started doing better on her assignments because she was no longer procrastinating.
Next Jeannine asked her teenage daughter to teach her how to use the online learning tools
better. Jeannine was not “tech savvy” and she felt kind of intimidated by the online learning
environment…she was just afraid she would break it if she did something “wrong.” Her daughter
sat down with her for an hour on a few different occasions just to play around with the online
tools so Jeannine could feel more comfortable. She soon found that she understood how to find
things and navigate efficiently. Jeannine’s fears for using the tools quickly went away and she
was figuring things out for herself in no time. She just needed a little more time and practice.
Initially Jeannine also struggled with her writing skills. She hadn’t written an academic paper in
years and had forgotten a lot of the intricacies. She started to take some extra time and review
some of the tutorials and resources in the online student resources section of her online
classroom. There she practiced her writing skills and made sure to implement the things she
learned into her actual assignments. She noticed that her writing started to improve. She was
articulating her ideas much more clearly and writing became less of a chore. She was really
starting to get control of this “being a student” thing.
By the end of her first class, Jeannine was more excited than ever to be a college student. She
still had some struggles, but she was overcoming them…she knew she would just keep on
improving over time and would eventually reach her goal of being a college graduate.
Jeannine learned that despite the obstacles she faced, she could still take control and do specific
things to overcome them