Making the decision to return to the classroom as a student, even a virtual one, came with a variety of concerns. Times had changed, and being a student was no longer my only responsibility. The majority of my days were already spent at school, as a district administrator. As with many educators, that meant that I was often required to attend early morning meetings and late night school activities such as board meetings. I wondered how I was going to find the time to complete my coursework. How was I possibly going to take on any new projects?
Ultimately, I worried that I would not be able to balance school life as a student and school life as an administrator. Luckily, Point Park University’s programs provided the convenience that allowed me to successfully complete not one, but two programs.
The ability to complete both of my programs virtually was a game changer. While I had the option to physically come to campus and even attend several classes in person, I chose to complete all of my work online. While other colleagues were traveling back and forth to campuses, I never lost time with a commute. In addition, I never had to worry about missing a class due to weather or wait for a professor to arrive. When I was ready to work, I simply logged on and I was instantly connected to my course.
Not having a set day or time for my class also gave me the flexibility that was necessary for me to be successful. While all of my classes had weekly deadlines, I could choose when during the week I would complete my assignments. That meant that some weeks, projects were completed in the evenings, and other times they were done on weekends.
Ultimately, I had the ability to work when it was convenient and take breaks as I needed them. Conversely, I watched several of my friends at other universities use up their personal or vacation days to attend graduate classes. Some even gave up weekends with their families to attend classes. The flexibility in Point Park’s programs allowed me to balance not only my school activities, but my family life as well.
Perhaps one of the reasons that Point Park’s programs are so convenient is that they make their assignments and projects applicable to your current teaching or administrative position. The effort that I was putting into my projects was benefitting not only me as a student, but also my entire district. I could look at areas in my building that needed improvement and focus my assignments on those concerns. The reverse was also true — many of the everyday actions that I was already completing, such as providing professional development, meeting with teachers, and attending trainings gave me credit during my coursework. This was particularly the case when I was completing my practicums.
There is no denying that being a full-time educator as well as a student can be difficult. Both positions require dedication and effort. However, Point Park’s programs provided the convenience necessary for me to be successful.