By Pamela Johnson, August 2015
1. Balancing my time between work, family life, and school.
Many think that online classes do not require much work. This is far from the truth. Online classes require much more focus. I had to do research and find the answers myself—they were not given to me. Of course, the professors were just an email or phone call away if I needed extra help or extra time, but for the most part, I put in the time. Being an online student taught me how to prioritize to meet my commitments.
Many think that sitting home at their computer will be the only experience with technology they will have during their academic career here at Utica. This is also far from the truth. Throughout my educational experience, technology was integrated into several classrooms. Some discussions took place via teleconference or skype. Voicethread was incorporated into the HAN 534 Influencing and Negotiation Strategies curriculum. This technology was intimidating at first, but then again, most technology is intimidating when it is first introduced. With the help of technology support, which was open 24/7, I had it up and running in no time. Assignments were uploaded via telephone, computer, video, and PowerPoint using Voicethread.
I figured I should take this opportunity to mention the Master's in Health Care Administration Capstone. Graduating from Utica College means you have to take the first step, which is accepting the challenge of becoming a Utica student. Becoming a Pioneer is about not being afraid of challenges. It is about facing your fears face forward, and in the midst of adversity, going full steam ahead. After all is said and done, the Graduate Capstone was the hardest challenge. For all of those wondering, the Capstone is a collaboration of everything learned throughout the Utica College MSHA experience summed up into one big written assignment. This was a little intimidating at first, but by the time Capstone rolled around I had become an expert on the topic I selected. In fact, I was overwhelmed because I had so much to say about the topic I did not know how to narrow it down to one particular area. This, my friend, was evidence of an increase in knowledge and growth. That is what a challenge is all about—dedication to see it through, increasing knowledge and growth. At the end of my last eight weeks, I told one of my classmates, "It has been really nice learning with you."
Now looking back, my classmates and me just chugalugging along to that finish line together, it was all worth it and was the most rewarding aspect of the program. One day, you too can look back and say to those graduating with you, "It has been really nice learning with you."
About the Author
Pamela Johnson has a Bachelor's in Journalism and Mass Communications. She sat on the Board of Directors at Friends of Residents in Long-Term Care, was secretary and member of the Adult Care Advisory Committee, and ESL Volunteer at Interfaith Refugee Ministries.