Some years ago, I very seriously considered taking a break from working to pursue and complete my Masters degree in literature. Unfortunately, there were two barriers: the fact that I was already earning and the independent life I had, living abroad. Not to mention that fact that I just really love what I do! Did I really want to give that up, albeit temporarily?
Haunted by memories of excessive penny-pinching as a college student (Christabel, Dominic and Denise, you know what I mean) I decided to keep my job and signed up to a distance learning MA. Despite the limitations, the course which is delivered through online resources and a massive supply of very sketchy guides, offers me the best of both worlds. Better still, I get to study anywhere I want and in time slots that best suit me.
I love being able to initiate student mode occasionally during the week or early on a weekend morning. Reading the texts or online resources gives me the thrill of learning new things and increases my love of literature and it goes without saying that this joy comes from being able to ceaselessly study what I love.
Of course, there are limits to learning this way. One major downside to distance learning is that it’s almost impossible to build friendships with classmates when you’re living in different parts of the world. Although we keep in touch through an online portal and get to see one another at our occasional module meetings, nothing creates a sense of camaraderie quite like post-lecture coffee at Lavazza or a jaunt to a local mall as you laugh raucously and discuss that moment your professor spotted you laughing at him and directed a nasty comment your way! (Yes, that happened…long story!)
So, as my first year of hybrid learning draws to an end, what are my thoughts on this distance method? For those with financial concerns about university, or with work and family commitments, it’s a great way to satisfy your thirst for knowledge and broaden your opportunities.
One of the main things I have realized along the way is that education is a lifelong journey and distance learning makes that journey so much more accessible and extremely rewarding. It’s amazing to me when I think of the magic one can do with a will to learn and an easy access to a steady WiFi connection!
On the other hand, I’ve also learned that I procrastinate way too much…like right now while I should be completing the assignments I began a few hours ago. So, enough mental meandering for today, it’s time I got back to analyzing the 21st century relevance of Dr. Faustus and his complex egocentric ways.
Bah! …English teachers…always overanalyzing! ;)