This should be my final term with FRCC. Having completed 5 terms prior to this one, with each one consisting of a minimum of one online course, I have the following advice to offer to online students:
1) Check D2L DAILY.
Your instructors can, and some WILL, change due dates and assignment criteria. These updates will be noted in D2L and you ARE responsible for this information. You probably will NOT receive any other notices. Set aside a few minutes each day to check D2L. It is remarkably easy to do in the morning before rushing out for the day.
2) Do your work early.
Don’t wait until the due date. Get started as soon as the assignment pops. If you work, remember that you WILL have time to do classwork on work days. On your breaks and during your lunch. If you have downtime at your desk and your boss allows. Before work, after work. On the bus. Don’t feel you need to complete an assignment in one sitting. Take advantage of the small times you have throughout the week. It REALLY adds up.
3) Don’t forget about YOU.
Set aside one day each week where you have no class and no work to just be YOU. Don’t lose your identity to school and work. Plan your work around this. It does you no good to become emotionally drained and burnt out. Your school work will suffer, you’ll end up wasting money, and will have a statistically higher chance of dropping out. Treat yourself well.
4) Put forth your best effort in each class.
That means not neglecting one class for another. It is hardly worth it to score an A in your Physics class if it means you fail your English class. Go for the double B. But, also, don’t SETTLE for the double B. TRY hard for the double A.
5) Don’t stress yourself out about grades.
Ultimately that C WILL earn you a degree. So long as you put in the fullest effort, your passing grade is a grade to be proud of. Again, don’t SETTLE for passing; try to get the A but don’t kick yourself if you miss it. Be reasonable.
6) The school has great resources; use them.
If you are near a campus take advantage of what they have. In Westminster you have a wonderful library, math and writing centers, and advising. Use these services. They exist to ensure you get the best grade you can. Don’t let pride be a downfall, admit if you need the help. I know I do…
7) MAKE FRIENDS.
Develop a life outside of school. Go to a party (don’t care if you’re not a party person, DO IT!). You’ll actually find that if you let yourself have this life, you stress less and by extension do better in class. Note that this point is basically a reiteration of point 3 ON PURPOSE- it is just THAT important.
8) Know your transfer requirements.
If you want/need a 4 year degree, start reviewing which school you want to transfer to NOW. I don’t mean later this term. I don’t mean the term before you’re ready to transfer. I mean NOW. Stop reading this and go check out the grad requirements from that school NOW. Take classes to facilitate this transfer or else you may end up taking 4 years of classes there in addition to the 2 at FRCC.
9) HAVE FUN with your studies.
Don’t pick or pursue a major because it is the “flavor of the week” career path or offers you the max earning potential. If you don’t enjoy the studies you won’t enjoy the career and you’ll trap yourself into a hellish life. Conversely, try to be reasonable about your major as you don’t want to go this massively in to debt for something that isn’t viable; philosophy may be enjoyable but it is generally not employable. Moderate fun and practicality, but make sure fun exists in a healthy dose.
Good luck my friends and classmates.