Fitting Online Learning Into Your Life | Arts and Science ONLINE

Fitting Online Learning Into Your Life

Hello everyone!

My name is Lindsay Stoness and I am new to the Arts and Science Online department. I was hired as the Student Engagement Lead. I am also an online student with Queen’s School of Education, and am completing my Master of Education degree online. I feel as though I can relate to a lot of the students in the Arts and Science Online programs. I am going to share some of my tips and tricks on how to balance your life while completing your online education.

I started my online education journey in August 2019, and am now 6 months away from completing my online Master degree. Through my online journey there has certainly been struggles and successes. One of the biggest things I struggle with is procrastination. I have several commitments in my life, including my full-time job with Arts and Science Online, teaching part time, owning my own business, completing my education, making time for my family and self care activities. With all of these commitments and also struggling with procrastination I have faced my fair share of problems.  

What I have learned about online learning is that it gives you a certain amount of flexibility, but requires a significant amount of planning. After navigating how to learn online and getting my first course done I was able to better understand how I could be successful in my courses.

  1. Creating a realistic time line to take and complete your courses
  2. Think of your life in a full 168 hour week instead of daily
  3. Out source things that will make your life easier

Do not create expectations for yourself that are not realistic. Start with one course and then see how it fits into your life. After you finish that course assess how it went, and what could have been improved. If you are feeling pressure to get things done, perhaps you should try sticking with one course again in the second semester. If you feel like you have room to fit another course in your schedule, then add another course. The great thing about online learning is that you can often take several years to finish your education. Take your time learning what your time commitments are and how your education fits into your life. Your education should bring joy, spark creativity, challenge your limits and progress your life forward.

Once you have started your online learning, you will realize there are not many if any days that you are required to be present at a specific time, but there are always deadlines for projects, assignments and tests. This really puts the onus on you to ensure you are utilizing your time effectively. I read a book for one of my executive book reports called 168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam. I felt as though this was a very enlightening book for an online student. Being able to write down the schedule of your life in a one-week period in 15-minute increments, will really bring to light the amount of time you are spending on things. You will see how much time you are dedicating to self care, work, school, TV, sleep and anything else you’re doing. This process will be eye opening and allow you to see what you are happy with and how you are spending your weeks.

My third point is part of the 168 Hour concept. Once you have figured out what you are doing with your weeks, you will have a vision as to what you can keep, what you can drop and what you can change. Are there ways for you to outsource things you are doing? Do you have help with child care? Do you have the means to send your laundry out or hire a cleaning person? Can you wake up a little earlier to work out or go for a walk? Should you try to go to bed a little earlier? How much time are you watching TV? Is it too much? What do you want to add to your 168 Hours that you currently are not taking advantage of? Could you fit more courses into your week?

It is good to take a step back and look at your life from a bird’s eye perspective. Wishing you all the luck in your online learning journey and I look forward to working with you all.