Choosing to go back to school is a big decision, and choosing which school to attend can be an even bigger one. For military spouses, these choices can be compounded by the uncertainty of your location. Distance education is a great solution to these logistical problems, but you might be nervous over the “distance” part!
That’s why we’re giving you an inside look at what it’s like to be a military spouse, a Brighton student, AND a Brighton employee! Our wonderful Student Services Coordinator, Kaitlin Gerth, answered a few questions about her experiences. Spoiler alert: They might just convince you to give distance learning a try! (If you haven’t already, that is.)
Flexibility is Key
Kaitlin is currently enrolled in our Paralegal Studies program, on top of having a Bachelor’s in Sociology and a Master’s in Education. Her undergraduate degree was entirely brick-and-mortar, which she describes as being good… until she was working two jobs to pay for tuition. She says, “it made it really hard to get to class on time⎯to work on time. So when I went to grad school, I was able to do a lot of it online, and knew if I ever went back to school, I’d do it online.”
When asked about the best part of being a student at Brighton, she says it’s the flexibility: “By working here, I decided to pursue my Associate’s Degree in Paralegal Studies, and it’s been really helpful to do the work on my time frame instead of someone else’s set schedule.”
Flexibility is a common theme in what she enjoys most about working and studying at Brighton. The best part of working at Brighton is the flexibility and “customer service” aspect of working with the students, she says. Of course, she also enjoys the people she works with and appreciates how her bosses help maintain the flexibility.
Distance Learning as a Military Spouse
Continuing with the flexibility motif, she explains that, as a military spouse, the best part of distance learning is the freedom and flexibility. In her own words:
“…to know that, no matter where we may end up, I can ask for a week or two off for a transition period, then pick back up where I left off. I don’t have to transfer schools and worry about 10,000 pages of paperwork to transfer any credits and whatnot. While traditional programs are super great and really beneficial for students who know they’ll be in the same place for multiple years, military members/spouses get uprooted every 2 years or so, less if they draw short straws, so it’s important to have some level of continuity in their lives, which distance learning definitely provides. I actually have a student that is deploying and he’s able to work on his program in his spare time overseas. Talk about flexibility!”
Brighton’s course freedom has allowed her to pursue her Associate’s Degree in Paralegal Studies without the fear of having to pick up and start over somewhere else. Paralegal Studies is one of our most popular programs, and it has allowed Kaitlin to follow her legal dreams. She says that once she found out the overwhelmingly rigorous process to get into law school, she put a law career on the back burner⎯but the paralegal program has allowed her to chase her childhood dreams, albeit in a different way than she imagined!
Kaitlin’s Top Tips for Exceeding at Online Learning
If you’ve never taken online classes before, you might not know the best ways to stay on track. Thankfully, as a student services coordinator and a distance learning student herself, Kaitlin has some great tips for excelling at distance education. Her top tip? Calendars.
“CALENDARS! Oh my gosh, and planners!! I never really paid attention to planners when I was in high school, but I learned VERY quickly in college how beneficial they are. They even became a Christmas tradition in my family–my mom would always get me a really nice planner for the following year. By the end of the year, it was barely hanging on because I live by it, and still do. Mom won’t buy them for me anymore, but as an “adult” (I still don’t believe that), I have to buy my own. I also have multiple calendars around the house, and my husband thinks I’m insane. But, I’m never late on anything. Also, make lists–keep yourself accountable. I have a whiteboard that, daily, I write down everything I need to do that day, and things that, if I have time, I can get to. I prioritize by color and it helps motivate me to keep on task because I also have mild OCD, so going out of order also really bothers me. But, I’m really efficient because of this so it’s weird at first… but once you’re in the groove, it’s like riding a bike!”
If you’re interested in pursuing a degree or certification at Brighton, we hope Kaitlin’s experiences have shown you what a great option it is for those needing flexibility in their lives! For more information, feel free to contact us at www.brightoncollege.edu, or give us a call at 800-354-1254.