Schedule Woes for the Online College Student

As you may or may not know, I am a college student, but I am a non-traditional college student in two ways. One, I am not fresh out of high school; I’m 32 years old. Secondly, for the time being, I take online classes. I’m sure there are people out there who are reading this and thinking ‘wow, if that isn’t the easiest thing in the world? You can literally take your classes any time you want!’ About that.

Granted if I have a bad night and don’t sleep well I don’t have to drag my sleepy butt out of bed, down a gallon or two of coffee, get dressed, and head to classes. Bonus. However, online classes still require scheduling and discipline. More, in fact, in that it’s easy to let everything slide until the last moment, and then all of the sudden everything is due for that week, or worse, you’re behind and either points are deducted or your instructor won’t let you turn it in.

Trust me, I’ve fallen into that trap. It’s so easy to procrastinate. There’s no lecture to make, you can just watch it when you have a few minutes. Oh, I can read later. It’s just a chapter. Eh, that discussion board isn’t due until tomorrow, it can wait until then. Then something happens. It’s inevitable.

I have to admit it: I’m the absolute worst at time management, but I’m trying my hardest to overcome that fatal flaw.

The trouble is, finding student resources that aren’t geared towards traditional college students is difficult. I don’t need dorm room essentials. I have a bedroom, thanks. I’m aware of the pressing need for Microsoft Office, pens, paper, and highlighters.

Online student calendars only work right if your class is in blocks at certain times and days. Google Calendar is, quite frankly, a pain, as the monthly calendar’s daily blocks are too small to put everything into and the daily and weekly calendars are divided by hours and half hours. That would be awesome, but again, not really what I need.

WeekPlan.net is close to what a student like me needs, but it’s still not quite there.

What I want and need is a weekly calendar with large blocks for information, daily reminders, and can easily be divided up by class. I typically take two classes per semester (thank you ever so much anxiety and depression), and 90% of my assignments are due on a Monday. Liberty’s week schedule is funky. The week starts on a Tuesday and ends on a Monday, unless it’s week 1, in which the week starts on Monday, or week 8 or 16 (depending on the term) where the week ends on a Friday. However some assignments, typically discussion board assignments are due on Thursday or Friday. Even with just two classes it’s easy to get mixed up about what is due when.

Last term I wrote out memo cards with my daily assignments on it and pinned it to my wall. I used it throughout the term, but I hated it. My wall is already so full of stuff that it made me feel over-crowded and claustrophobic.

This term I want to do something different. I want to devote two days per week to my math class assignments. It’s remedial, because for whatever reasons numbers and I do not get along very well, and I’ve actually taken two math classes before, so I’m not expecting any real difficulty there. Then I want to devote three days (or more if needed) to my American Government class.

So, there is a point to this long-winded post. The point is, when you can’t find what you want, you then must make what you want. Which is what brings me to Excel 2013. I’m hoping that, with enough patience and creativity, I can make a weekly/daily calendar that fits my needs. I can’t make it remind me, but one can’t rely on technology for everything.

Why, you ask, don’t I just go out and buy a planner?

Well, that requires money. Why go out and spend money on something I can make for myself? Sure my planner might not be as pretty or fancy as say the Life Planners found here, but it’ll be just as functional, at least for my needs.

**Time warp approximately one hour**

Here it is filled out for week one and everything.

Daily/Weekly Schedule

Now I just need a way to keep it in my face so every time I go to procrastinate it’s there. Staring at me. Telling me that I have work to do, and that if I just do it, it won’t be that big of a deal and I’ll have free time to either work ahead, hang with the cousin, or whatever.

College Stuff – So titles aren’t really my thing

So I’ve been doing some research and I found a school nearby (ish) that offers a culinary management program that’s only two years if I go full time. Chipola College, which is in Marianna, FL is only 25 or so miles away, which is more reasonable than the school in Tallahassee which is about an hour and a half away, depending on traffic and that’s only one way.

It’s too late, I think, to start college at Chipola this semester, and I don’t think the program is offered in the summer semester, so I’ll probably start this fall. It’s an awfully long time to wait, but it is what it is, and it gives me time to really think about it.

I plan on going to visit Chipola on the 2nd of January to speak to admissions and financial aid. I think I can get by with only my grants, as Chipola is somewhere between ¼ and 1/3rd of the price of Liberty per semester hour.

In the meantime I need to figure out how to get my transcripts from both Liberty and Florida Institute of Technology…ugh, and my GED again. I really need to learn to save stuff like this.

Getting my transcripts from Liberty and from my GED should actually be relatively simple, but frankly I have no idea how to get them from FIT. Maybe Chipola knows?

I really am excited, but I’m also terribly nervous. I’m 32 years old, and it stands to reason that I’m going to be upwards of 14 years older than most of the other students. I haven’t been in a formal learning environment for a very long time. Not since the 9th grade. I also remember how sick I tended to be when I was in public school. (9th grade featured a cold that turned into bronchitis, to pleurisy, to pneumonia.) The classes I take now are only part time (two classes per semester) and the classes and Chipola are full time. (First semester had six or seven classes, although one was orientation and I can’t imagine that lasting the full sixteen weeks.)

There’s also a part of me that wishes I could get the full college experience and stay in Residence Hall, but roommates = social anxiety disorder. Nononono. Just no. I’m sure they’re all lovely people, but no. Let me put this into internet terms:

Wait. Let me think. No.

Wait. Let me think. No.

Nonononononononono!!!!

Nonononononononono!!!!

The cousin said I can stay at her house sometimes so I don’t spend too much on gas, but of course I don’t want to intrude on her too much. So I’ll be commuting.

Hopefully the gas prices will continue on their downward track.

For the meantime I’m going to be at Liberty, continuing there. Classes start on January 12th, and I’ll be taking MATH 100 (basically remedial math) and GOVT 220, which is American Government. The math will be a 16 week course and the American Government an 8 week course. I’ve already got the book for American Government and ought to be reading it, but… *cough* I’m a procrastinator. *hangs head in shame* I did buy an adorable binder thingy for my math class though! And mechanical pencils! I’m prepared! Mostly. Sort of. Maybe?

I’m not sure what I’ll take in the summer semester if I take anything at all (not sure how or if it would conflict with the fall semester at Chipola). A math class and, I don’t know, maybe History of Western Civilization I or Geography. Because why not?

So there’s what’s happening there.