First semester: done!

In January, I was ecstatic to be back in school again. The excitement was brief, though, because distance learning is a lot harder. For those who scoff at this mode of education, let us see you get through one semester unscathed. T_T

Just a brochure? Not.

When you go to UP, you expect culture shock. A lot of new things can bombard your senses once inside the campus. Imagine doing this in cyberspace. It was a whole new frontier for most of us, the uninitiated. Having attended traditional classroom set-up in graduate school, I can confidently say that distance learning was not for the faint-hearted.

The illusion of being on top of things is just like that — an illusion. It could give you a false sense of security, but I give myself a free pass because this is my first semester. A lot of teething and growing pains.

Unlike the traditional classroom setting where you can just basically sit there and exist, quip something funny, and you are done, it will not fly in distance education. I have seen several classmates from my master’s years ago who did just that. And they still pass. But for distance learning, everything is on black-and-white. There is a premium given to the rigors of how you present your stuff. Of course, this is also applicable in traditional setting, but here, it felt tenfold.

I have to be extra aware of my schedule. There were times that I miscounted the days, or even got lost with the interface and notification system. I thought I was tech-savvy then, boom, the deadline had already lapsed.

There were also instances where some of my classmates would could out another , that even brought out issues of every student’s nightmare — plagiarism. I watch as how things unfold, and sometimes think if announcements posted were directly posted for me. A healthy dose of paranoia definitely saw me through. “Better safe than sorry” should be my mantra as a student.

The semester felt very long, to be honest. Maybe I have been out of school for a long time, that I forgot how it felt to be running after requirements. I just wanted to make sure I learn things, while preparing for another chapter in my life. Do I regret anything? Frankly, as any other student pressed for time, I always ask myself “why am I even subjecting myself to this?“, considering that I already have a graduate degree. But soon enough when your mind becomes clear, this sentiment quickly dissipates because you are through.

In a nutshell, I am happy to have this kind of mental stimulation. I just hoped to get a decent grade, so as not to taint my grad school transcript from five years ago. But at the end of the day, I had to ask myself if I learned something. I did. Not just something, but a lot of things. Investing in one’s education is ALWAYS the best decision.

I had been feverishly waiting for my grades to appear. As the pessimist that I am, I always expect for the worst. I knew that I had given it my all despite the faux pas I had been constantly committing. After seeing both of my grades appear on screen, I breathed a sigh of relief. They were better than what I had expected.

While I gather my strength for the coming semester, I am thinking that it might be wise to take things slowly next time. I hope I can focus on just ONE subject for the next three semesters. I do not mind prolonging the time to finish the degree, as my priority is to learn well and not quickly. As of this writing, I already made up my mind. Let us do this correctly, shall we? And not lose sight of the original rationale for undertaking this in the first place.


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