Online Education, Unlimited Options

Some of us Penn Staters are all set for the fall semester and have already started new routines to incorporate schoolwork. One new routine I started two weeks ago is getting up at 6:00 a.m., walking my new Australian Shepherd puppy for about an hour, and playing with her as the sun rises!

Sebhia Dibra and friend standing on ledge in front of a forest
My friend and I enjoying our time in Florida

They say great achievers start their day doing something they want to do for themselves — not necessarily checking emails or opening up random apps on their phone. It could involve exercise, preparing food, or doing something you love. This sets the mood for entire day. So, if you aren’t doing this already, I recommend starting your day doing something you love – it will help you stay positive, focused and on track.

As autumn approaches, I can’t help but think of my life before my recent move and how much has changed. Earlier this year I packed up my things in Brooklyn, New York, and flew down to Florida. It was at the end of February — when New York was still cold and still snowing. For some time, I had wanted to live somewhere warm, along the Pacific or Atlantic coast. And in November of 2013, I was able to finalize this decision.

While in New York, I had been teaching on the Upper West Side in Manhattan. In February, I started saying goodbye to all the kids who made my heart melt every day. One very special 4-year-old, named Adam, was one whom I spent quality time with in the morning. Adam is a brilliant child, far ahead of his class, and always looking to learn — even at 8:00 a.m., the wee hours of the morning!

At this hour, we usually went over maps, shapes, and math. Math — his favorite subject by far — was attended to constantly. He would remember dates from a year ago, and on what day they fell on — at random. He also knew how many days were in each calendar month, could add large numbers and count beyond 100. At only 4 years old, Adam adapted well to new challenges, puzzles, and stories. His family is from Israel, and I can only think of the uncomfortable feelings involved regarding everything currently happening overseas. I am happy he is in New York, safe, and I am happy his education and his abilities continue to thrive.

This brings me to the thought of how my education at Penn State has become not only an experience, but a huge part of my life and my identity. Buddhists say that to become truly one with life, that one should not be attached to objects, things, or ideas. I’ve found that oneness in a different way, though. A part of my education and learning is through a university which enables me to travel — and learn — at the same time.

Penn State comes with me, wherever I go.

Working diligently towards a psychology degree, I am able to meet people all over and experience different types of culture. This is the most rewarding experience for a student. Upon enrollment, I had a choice of attending Penn State in Pennsylvania, or attending World Campus. My choice was World Campus — as I am naturally very motivated and disciplined, which is very important for a student pursuing an online degree.

Upon moving to Florida — specifically — Sarasota — I find myself in bliss. The weather is just how I expected it to be and more than half of my New York wardrobe lives in my closet. (Good when the wardrobe consists of sweaters, heavy pants and thick socks!)

black dog sitting on a beach
My dog, Kai, taking in a beautiful day on the beach in Florida

I meditate on the beach every night, and listen to the waves in peace. I am also making connections along the way, meeting amazing people and learning that no matter where you are — you are connected to everyone, everywhere. I find myself missing my family at times (they are from New York) but I am lucky to be able to continue dreams of education and of personal pursuits — such as work, writing, adventure, and a new puppy.

I hope you take this time to understand you are not limited as a World Campus student — but completely unlimited. Visit any country and, if you like it, stay there for a while! World Campus enables us to be able to work and have a flexible schedule.

Taking risks, such as traveling, will enable you to live life. As a true Robin Williams fan, in his respects, I end with this quote from the movie Hook in 1991, “To live. To live would be an awfully big adventure.”

Now do something extraordinary.

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