As I prepared to graduate last spring, I began to get nervous about what my future as a Niagara University graduate student would entail. I had met with my advisors and decided I wanted to start classes during the summer. The courses I would be taking were online, and I had never taken an online class. I was anxious to see if I would be able to balance the course load while working full time.
As I began my summer courses, I realized I was unfamiliar with some of the unique requirements and structures of the online courses. I was able to refer to the online portal specifically designed for students enrolled in online programs and I also contacted my professors individually for information about when the courses would begin, where to post our work, and how to use the virtual classrooms. They were more than helpful. The professors at Niagara make it a priority to be available and accessible for their students. I had regularly experienced this during my undergraduate studies, and I was relieved to see the personal attention continue into my graduate studies.
As I worked through my summer courses, I realized that online courses weren't necessarily more difficult or more demanding in terms of the amount of work; they are just different in the type of assignments I was engaging in. My graduate courses had much more reading and personal reflection pieces assigned than I had experienced previously. The work was structured around engagement, understanding and interpreting, instead of simply memorizing and regurgitating facts.
I have since started my fall semester courses, and the same holds true. I have become more accustomed to the workload, and I feel as though I have a perfect schedule worked out. One of the most important things about completing a graduate degree, in my opinion, would definitely be time management. Working full-time while attending classes is not nearly as impossible as I thought it would be I do believe I owe much of this to the flexibility and understanding of the professors at Niagara, as well as the personal attention I continue to receive.