Pros and Cons to Taking Online Classes | College Tips with Kenzie


Some of you already know that I am currently on a break from school. I decided to get a job whilst being in the process of transferring. But before that, I was taking online classes at a community college. I've taken quite a few online courses, and since my younger siblings are currently taking college courses online as well, I will admit... I have some insight I'd like to share with you.

Pros and Cons to Taking Online Colleges Classes  

There's always a pro and con to something, regardless of what it is. Online schooling is definitely convenient and it really helps, depending on your living situation. For me, taking online courses was convenient because I don't have my own car, making it hard to commute to classes. Plus, most of the classes I wanted to take was only offered at the main campus (which is kind of far commuting wise). Another reason is I'M INTROVERTED. I prefer to stay in the comforts of my home instead of worrying about everyone's gaze lingering on me when I raise my hand to ask a question*.

* I'm THAT type of student who asks the professor a lot of questions. Mainly regarding assignments. 

But I'll admit, there have been moments when I felt insane from sitting down and staring at my laptop screen for too long. So, let's start with the bad and end with the good, shall we?



CONS


- There is more work!

You're not in a classroom. The professor won't know you're doing your work unless you're actually working on assignments. That is why there are a lot more assignments in the online classroom. I would never recommend taking a full course load online because that already sounds insane. And if you have, congratulations! You can conquer anything. 

- There is A LOT of writing

With more assignments there comes more writing! Personally, I enjoy writing. I love written assignments (especially over exams!) but some people can find this very tiring. And since you aren't in a classroom, verbally communicating with your fellow classmates, you will have to participate in discussion boards. Those can be fun at times and other times they can be draining. It all depends on the course!

I took a course one semester and my professor was so strict about the word count! We had a lot of discussion boards and whenever it came to replying to another student's discussion, our responses had to be a certain word count. Whereas, in most of my other courses, the word count didn't matter as much as providing insight.

- You feel like a zombie (and you may never see the light of day!)

With all that extra workload and practically being on your computer 25/8, you end up feeling a bit... MEH. There were times when I'd wake up and get right to my school work before getting dressed or brushing my teeth! 

There have also been times when I hadn't left the house in DAYS. (It could have been weeks but sometimes I was forced to leave because I had to run to the store.)

And once I'm finished with my school work, obviously I don't want to touch my laptop until the next day. This sucks because I love blogging and writing for my creative outlet... And if I'm already on my laptop doing schoolwork all day, I don't feel like being on it any more than I have to.

- The professors...

The majority of my online professors have been great! Some tried to connect with the students more than others. It's really good if you do get a professor who tries to connect with you (i.e. posting videos of their lectures and participating in discussion boards) because it makes everything a lot easier. Whereas, in an actual classroom, it might be easier to get a letter of recommendation from a professor because they were able to have more of a connection with you. 

Also, you never know who you are getting for a professor. The worst course I had ever taken was online and it was all because of the professor. They were never online and they never responded to my emails until days later. They never used the (expensive) textbook and when it came to grading small assignments, they gave us good grades. But when it came to the real and final assignments, it was always bad! It was the very first college class that made me cry.

The only good thing that came out of that course was that I had made friends by bonding over how awful our professor was!

- You are the teacher

When it comes down to it, you're basically teaching yourself. That can be hard if you are finding a certain subject really tricky. If you're having a hard time, don't be afraid to ask for help. 




PROS

- You get to make your own schedule!

Since I am so bad at time management, I find this tricky because it was easy for me to fall into a bad schedule. However, I feel like many of you could find this really helpful- especially if you have other things going on in your life.

Eventually, I was able to get into a pretty good schedule for certain semesters. There was this one semester when I would only do my coursework in the morning, take a break, then finish sometime in the afternoon.

Taking breaks is so important when you're your own boss. I found myself mentally better when I made time for breaks. 

- You can do your work WHEREVER 

As long as there is wifi!

Isn't that great, though? You don't have to stay at home to be in class! You can be in class at Starbucks, the library, even on vacation! Wherever you want to go, you can take your school work with you.

I found myself being more productive at the library over home, where I was constantly interrupted. Also, at home, you can lose track of time and before you know it, you've been working on this small assignment for five hours. Whereas, if you go to the library and you can only stay for three hours... Now you have a time limit and you're able to get it done faster. 

- You can write and blog more!

If you like multitasking, this is a huge plus for you. I found myself able to blog more while doing online schooling. I'd usually set a timer for 30 minutes and do my school work then take a 10-minute break by writing a scene or working on a blog post. I did NaNoWriMo during a couple semesters and this method really helped me get my word count up. 

Another thing that is great about taking online courses is that if someone sees you typing away like a maniac on your laptop, they are totally going to assume you are deep into an essay and not writing that climactic scene in your NaNo novel and leave you alone! Isn't that great? A lot of people think that doing other things aside from school work on your laptop is a waste of time (I beg to differ). So, if they know you're currently enrolled online, they won't bother you... 

person: hey, I need your help--
me: I'm in the middle of a quiz right now, maybe later?
person: okay
me: *proceeds to next buzzfeed quiz to find out what tv show character is my soulmate*

It's all about knowing how to work the system. ;)


- It's okay to go to class in your pjs (you're safe, introverts!)

I know I said that there were some days when I wouldn't even get changed out of my pajamas and that made me feel meh? Well, sometimes that isn't such a bad thing. 

You don't have to doll yourself up anymore. And you don't have to mentally prepare yourself to socialize with strangers or do those awful icebreakers! You can do it all online, behind the screen of your computer where no one will see you. I don't know about you but that eases my anxiety.



What do you think?

Like I said, it definitely has its pros and cons. Before I took my first online class, I was told that online courses were HARD. But I actually found out that it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. It's no different than being homeschooled. It's all about time management and motivating yourself. If you can do that, you got this!

Quick tips


If you're still scared about reverting to the cyber classroom then I highly suggest that you:

- Read the syllabus and know what your professor expects
- Log on every day, even when assignments are not due (it will save you in the long run)
- Don't be afraid to ask questions! (I have a feeling I'm the first student to email the professor every semester)

TALK TO ME!

Maybe you're thinking about taking online classes or are an online student who can #RELATE, I hope you found this post helpful or informative! LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU IF YOU CAN ADD ANYTHING TO THIS! Have you ever had a bad professor (in class or online)? Have you ever had a great professor and were sad to let them go? HAVE YOU EVER FORGOTTEN WHICH YEAR IT WAS OR TAKEN A BUZZFEED QUIZ TO FIND OUT WHICH STARBUCKS DRINK YOU ARE? Because same.  

xx Kenzie

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12 happy thoughts

  1. Personally, I never took an online class... This is still helpful for me, for future if I ever take an online class. Thank you for sharing! <3
    Khadija | October's Lallu

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    1. I'm so happy to hear that it was helpful! Thank you so much for reading. <3

      xx Kenzie

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  2. Oohhhh yes I relate to this post!! Because I've been doing highschool online for the past two years and it's really hard + really fun at the same time. It's tough cos I suck at time management but fun cos it's so flexible plus they offer such fun courses! Like screenwriting. That's what I will be doing this semester 😊

    Personally though I hope to be able to get the 'real' college experience because I've been homeschooled all my life and would really like to go to school for once 😛

    All the best to you in your studies!!

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    1. Ahhh, I'm so happy you could relate to this post! And I agree; it can be both fun and hard! I SUCK AT TIME MANAGEMENT TOOOOOOOO. O-O That sounds super exciting, Lisa! I wish you all the best. <3

      I've was homeschooled my whole life as well and I definitely agree that I want to have that real college experience too. ^-^

      Thank you so much for reading!

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  3. This was such an interesting post!

    While I've never personally taken an online course, today my guidance counselor talked to my class about taking some college courses our senior year. I'll have to keep this information in mind for when I decide!

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    1. I'm glad you found this post informative! ^-^ Good luck with everything! <3

      xx Kenzie

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  4. OH MY GOODNESS YES. I took some college online classes over summer and am taking one that is 25% on campus and 75% online and I couldn't agree more with what you have to say about taking online courses! Multitasking while I was doing class was a hit or miss for me! The amount of time I spent looking at a screen is for sure damaging my eye sight and I too love an excuse not to leave the house XD One of the things I thought was the best was test taking. In one of my classes they were open note and lecture... talk about amazing. I loved reading this post! <3

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    Replies
    1. GAHHHH SO HAPPY YOU CAN AGREE WITH ME!!! And multitasking is totally a hit or miss- it all depends on how demanding the classes are. I agree that the test taking online is better than in class-- IN CLASS IS SO STRESSFUL. I should have included that in this post!

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting. <3

      xx Kenzie

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  5. This post was really interesting Kenzie!! I'm no where near college (well I like to think that) and I've never taken online courses but it sounds cool!

    Nabila | Hot Town Cool Girl

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    1. Thank you so much for reading, Nabila! <3 And I agree, you have all the time in the world to think about college. ;) Enjoy your young years first!

      xx Kenzie

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  6. Great post! I've taken online courses and ughhhhhhhhhhhhhh why so much writing = i am going to die. That's why I'm not taking them this year. xP I'm glad you enjoy it though!

    Lilian | greenteawithbooks.wordpress.com
    co-founder of Stellae Books | stellaebooks.wordpress.com

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    1. BWHAHAHAHAHA YES. SO. MUCH. WRITING. But I really love writing so I don't mind it much. I prefer written assignments over exams!

      Thank you so much for reading!

      xx Kenzie

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Thank you for taking the time to leave a message, it truly means a lot to me. I try my best to respond to each and every one of them, so come back and let's have a conversation.

xx Kenzie