College

College is a time of transition

A time to change

College can be stressful

Don’t let it overwhelm you

What makes you stronger

Are the challenges to overcome

The struggles you encounter

Will only make you a better person in the end

College

It can be a scary thing

On your own for the first time

Remember who your friends are

And your family, too

They will stay by your side

Through thick and through thin

They will always be there for you

You will shine in college

Brighter than the rest

You will thrive in college

Your life will never be the same again

Yes, college is a new journey

But the end result

Is working to fulfill your greatest dreams

And there is truly nothing better than that

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In Defense of Online Learning

Online learning has become a significant factor in education in recent years. Students of all ages can be enrolled in e-learning programs and learn on the same level as their peers or even at more advanced levels. It is truly an innovation that I feel will continue to be more popular as time goes on.
I have been enrolled in online classes since my freshman year of college and while it requires a good degree of self-discipline, it is an investment that you won’t regret. You can do the class on your own time at your own pace and if enrolled in an online class through your local college or university you can still ask your instructor for assistance if necessary. There are discussion forums where you can engage in conversation with your fellow students and discuss topics that have been brought up in the class you are enrolled in.
Some may feel that online learning may affect the idea of the traditional learning environment. I can agree with these detractors in some respects as there is a benefit to learning in a physical classroom that can be both academically and socially advantageous. Some students are only able to learn in a classroom where there is enough assistance for them to succeed in the class.
I can attest that online learning has become one of my favorite ways to learn. I love the challenge it brings to my life and the ability to take classes taught by professors at prestigious colleges and universities. There is a wealth of free online courses available from reputable institutions of higher education that cater to every interest. Some popular websites to find online courses are http://www.coursera.org, http://www.academicearth.org, and http://www.edx.org. These websites offer free online courses from colleges such as Duke University, University of Virginia, Harvard, Yale, MIT, and the University of Pennsylvania among others.
While the idea of taking an online class can be daunting to those who have never tried this type of academic experience before, there are ways to overcome your anxieties and fears about e-learning. Some helpful tips include:
• Finding a comfortable quiet environment free of distractions where you can take time to focus on what is being taught to you
• Setting a daily schedule for yourself so you can arrange your time to keep up with the class and its assignments
• Taking the time to connect with fellow students for assistance in discussion forums
• Discussing topics that have been presented to you with family and friends
While I would highly recommend online learning I do understand how it may not work for everyone. However, I feel that courses from the websites I previously referred to make higher education free and accessible for everyone regardless of their financial situation. That is something that makes this type of learning experience a beneficial one.
Tom Snyder, the president of Ivy Tech Community College, wrote an article for the Huffington Post about the benefits of online learning and stated:
“I believe that online learning has the potential to revolutionize higher education. Students will be able to learn at their own pace and problems as simple as finding a place to park on campus will be eliminated. Public colleges and universities simply cannot build new facilities to accommodate all those who need credits in higher education.”
There is a professional benefit of being enrolled in online classes as well. You can earn academic certificates that can make your resume more attractive to potential employers and make you an asset to their company. Snyder commented on this when he said, “Lifelong learning must now be a part of everyone’s career plans. In today’s job market, taking online courses help workers remain competitive and they don’t need to take time off from their jobs to do this.”
He added, “Online learning not only trains the workers of the future, it can also provide a career path for someone employed, who needs to learn new skills. Employers should recommend online courses that will help with career advancement and, if possible, offer tuition reimbursement.”
The Open Education Database enumerated advantages of taking online classes and I can agree with some of them. In a 2012 article they mentioned benefits such as a variety of programs and courses, lower total costs, more comfortable learning environment, and convenience and flexibility. With online classes you are able to learn whenever it is the best time for you and do not have to worry about commuting to a physical school. You can enroll in one of the hundreds of free massive online open online courses (MOOCs) that can help fulfill general education requirements in a more affordable way.
Is online education a good choice for everyone? I would have to say that it is not. Some students may not feel like they have the discipline to handle an online class on their own. They may need to be present with instructors and classmates so that they can stay motivated and focused on the coursework. Some segments of the population such as individuals with disabilities may need to have access to services that are simply not available in online programs such as extended time for tests and one-on-one help from teaching assistants or learning assistants.
However, I feel that online education is a phenomenon that will continue to grow and improve as time goes on. Colleges and universities have dedicated support teams to assist students enrolled in their online classes so that students can turn to these teams for technical assistance. New tools and applications are being added to these online classes to make them more interactive and accessible for different types of students and learners. I have learned so much from the online classes I have completed and it has enlightened me on topics that I can apply to the professional world. Online education is an innovative way to learn and allows even economically disadvantaged students to enroll in college classes from institutions they simply could not afford to physically attend.

Your life can change in the blink of an eye…

This was first published on Blogcritics:

http://blogcritics.org/books/article/book-review-still-lolo-by-lauren/

Lauren Scruggs’s Still LoLo is quite an inspirational and moving memoir. In the aftermath of a terrible life-altering accident, Lauren and her family managed to maintain their faith in God and know that he is still there looking after the family. Lauren’s story is sad at times but also radiates positivity when you see how supportive her family is of her and her actions.

The memoir emphasizes the fact that even when confronted with great disability, there is still a chance to have strong ability. Lauren was badly injured in an accident where she was walking off a plane and walked into the still spinning propeller. She fractured part of her skull, had major damage to her left eye, and had her left hand severed. It was a horrific accident that changed her life forever.

Before the accident she had been a vibrant, energetic, and passionate journalist who had created her own lifestyle magazine with a friend from college, LoLo Magazine. Her parents had divorced when she was only four which certainly impacted her and her identical twin sister, Brittany. They remarried when the sisters were eleven, which was the answer to their fervent prayers, and any hard feelings their parents held towards one another seemed to have been resolved. The sisters had attended the same college although Lauren had been indecisive about what she wanted to do with her life and had spent one spring interning in the fashion industry, which helped to grow her passion for style and beauty.

After the accident when she was lucid enough to realize what had happened to her, she went through a very dark period where she struggled to deal with the pain of losing her eye and hand and having the left side of her face scarred. Her parents, sister, and friends were tremendously helpful to her during her recovery, and with time she learned that she would still be able to do many of the activities she had been involved in before the accident.

This book proved to be a beautifully written story of faith, hope, and love–and shows that even in the darkest of times there is still a light at the end of the tunnel. Though the accident changed the Scruggs family, it also brought them closer together as they encouraged and supported Lauren through every step of her journey to recovery.