What is it like to go to school full-time online?

Over the years I knew that I wanted to go back to school but, I didn’t know how I would find the time or what I wanted to do exactly. I took a few courses at Community College about 6 years ago both online and at the college. I found that the online classes were much easier for me because I was not constricted to be somewhere at a certain time and place. At that time online classes were just beginning to get popular so most of the communication was done through a website setup like a forum. The one class I had to actually go to the school to take the tests.

I considered taking more online classes but, as any student knows, it costs a lot. Even going to Community College and purchasing books was several hundred dollars for just one class. I couldn’t get aid because I was only going part-time. So, I stopped going and every once and awhile would check out online programs through different schools. After high school I attended a trade school, not a traditional college. I got my Associate’s Degree in 15 months. Even though trade schools are accredited many of the credits do not actually transfer. So, I was hesitant to start an online program because all of the ones I researched were “for-profit” schools. Which basically means the schools are owned usually by a corporation that makes a profit from the school but pays money on the taxes. Whereas non-profit schools are usually owned by the government free from taxes and the IRS allows many tax deductions. I had once heard that for-profit schools were a joke compared to regular colleges. Honestly, that is not the case.

I ended up taking the plunge a few months ago starting at Full Sail University enrolling in their graphic design program, I mentioned this several times already on the blog.I researched other schools and programs as well as read reviews online about each school. Both had the same amount of comments both negative and positive. Full Sail offered the first class, 30 days, without any obligation. If it was just not your thing, you weren’t required to stay enrolled.

The enrollment process was simple. I made a phone call to the school and spoke to an admissions representative for about an hour just discussing the program and requirements. After that several other people from the school such as the financial aid department contacted me and took care of everything.

So, what is it like?

It is A LOT of work! Some reviewers mentioned that they failed certain classes several times. As long as you do the work and put effort into it, I think it is impossible to fail! It requires a lot of discipline and time management. When I get my weekly assignments I begin to plan my week out around the due dates. Some assignments can take hours. Seriously. There have been times I worked on a single assignment for 10+. Breaking it down into a few hours a day really helps.

I have found that some of the classes are less engaging. At Full Sail they have live lectures that all students in that class can participate in. Usually the teacher goes through a PowerPoint type presentation and you can communicate with your classmates via a chat box.  If you cannot make the live session they do record it and make it available for others to watch. Honestly, it was hard for me to pay attention because the video is less engaging.

The teachers have been really great as far as availability. They are reachable on AIM, email, and by phone. A few times the assignment instructions were a little cloudy but the instructor responded to me within 24 hours.

Is it for you?

I think online learning requires a person who is incredibly self-motivated. If you are capable of guiding yourself through the materials that the school provides and sometimes teaching yourself, it may work for you. It can be really overwhelming, especially when you take on this responsibility in addition to your everyday responsibilities.

Do you recommend Full Sail University?

As I mentioned, I obtained a degree from another for-profit school which pales in comparison to Full Sail. While I can understand the hang ups that some people have said, I think it is a great school. The curriculum is unique and streamlined towards your specific major. I think it may be beneficial for new high school graduates to attend an actual college for the experience. Additionally, take some core classes that are transferable. Generally for-profit schools credits do not transfer. For someone like me who has been in the job market several years now and knows what they want to do, it is a great opportunity!

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A short break

I finished up my last class yesterday and the next one starts next Monday. The break will be nice but, I am sure by the end of the week I’ll be anxious to start the next class. My next class, Overview of the Media Design and Technology Industries, sound like it will be more relative to my major then the last two classes.

I spent most of this weekend binge watching Desperate Housewives on Netflix. During the summer I pretty much become a vampire. If it is extremely hot and humid I’ll spend the day inside in the air conditioning and go out at night. I hate summer because I hate being hot. The good thing about that is I have more time to work on drawing. This weekend I finished one project and got pretty far on another.

Someone I follow in Instagram posted this picture of Christina Applegate:

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I grew up watching Married With Children so, I thought it would be fun to do a drawing of her as Kelly Bundy.

This is my version:

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I sketch out the basic shapes, took a photo, emailed it to myself, drew the details and colored it using ArtStudio on my Ipad. Consider the fact that I hate drawing hands, I’m happy with the way they turned out.

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School Journey Month Two

I started online classes last month at Full Sail University. The plan is by November 2016 I will have my Bachelor’s Degree majoring in graphic design. So why graphic design? I don’t really have a deep seeded reasoning behind my major choice. I’m artistic and art is fun. Isn’t that good enough? I started messing around with design when LiveJournal and MySpace got popular. I found layout designs I liked, copied the HTML, changed the colors and graphics, and started creating layouts. Eventually I began to alter graphics and create my own. I learned Photoshop myself by trial and error.

Photoshop is such an intricate software program and I know that there is so much more to learn and simpler ways of doing the things I use it for. I am really looking forward to learning about the software as well as Illustrator and InDesign.

At Full Sail each class is only 4 weeks long which goes by super fast but requires at least 25 devoted hours each week to completing the assignments. Even with working full time I haven’t had difficulty keeping up because I work on the assignments everyday.

The first class, Digital Literacy, was a bit boring. A lot of the information was a recap of things I already know. I think it was designed for people who aren’t familiar with navigating around the internet. I learned about diigo, a great website to use as an alternative to your browser’s bookmark capability. Diigo allows you to access your bookmarks from anywhere in addition to being able to highlight any of the text within your bookmark for an easy reference.

Psychology of Play is the class I am currently taking. As we approach the end of week 3 I have to admit that I am somewhat disappointed in this class. I absolutely love reading and learning about psychology; so when I saw this class description on the curriculum, I was really looking forward to it. Again, I did learn useful information and I understand why it is relative to the curriculum.

So far I am enjoying the experience. Before I started classes I felt bored and stagnant and now I am so busy that I don’t have time to be bored. I have already posted a few of the creative assignments we have had in class. While I like being able to draw whatever I choose, I believe having requirements to follow when you create something is very beneficial. It has encouraged me to think beyond the realm of my typical mindset.

Lastly, I need to mention, THE WRITING! Generally, I really enjoy writing but, there comes a point where I am just sick of it and hit a wall. I have to put in so much fluff so it doesn’t sound repetitive. That takes a lot of work and a thesaurus! But, I get it. The more the concepts are ingrained into your mind, the more information you retain.