Adapting to Online Learning

by | Jan 11, 2021

Taking classes online can seem daunting - it’s easy to worry that you may not receive the same support as you do in in-person classes.  As a first-year grad student earning my Master’s in Agricultural Education, I had this same concern.  After earning my Bachelor’s in Agricultural Communications strictly through in-person courses, I was worried I would struggle to transition to online only instruction.  Thankfully, I learned that an Illinois Online education is just as impactful and enriching as my in-person undergrad experience at the University of Illinois.

Graduating in the Class of 2020 presented many challenges.  Because of the pandemic, looking for jobs after graduation was becoming a struggle.  After talking to my academic advisor, I decided the best path for me to take would be to go back to school to expand my opportunities.  I chose the Agricultural Education Master’s program to be a perfect fit for me as someone whose goal is to eventually work as an Extension Coordinator.  While I am passionate about marketing and communications, I would also love to work in an educational setting.

What I enjoyed most about my first semester as an Illinois Online student was how collaborative the course I took was.  Although the course is 100% online, I still got to know many of my classmates and had the opportunity to network with them and my professor.  Since the class consisted of recent graduates and many seasoned professionals/teachers, the group brought different perspectives and experiences to the table.  I got to know my classmates just as well, if not better, than those in my in-person courses.  My professor also had our best interests at heart and wanted every student to leave her class knowing they had someone to reach out to for career advice or guidance.

Illinois Online also offers me the flexibility to keep my career on track while advancing my degree. The classes are designed for people who work full time and have busy lives.  At first I was worried about handling school and the job I started in the last few months, but it has been easier to juggle than I anticipated. I’m glad I can focus on both advancing my career and education!