Design Student Lauren Henderson Shares Her Online Learning Advice

As a military spouse and working student, Lauren Henderson has a lot to manage. Read below to get her advice on how best to manage course work, connect with fellow students, and create relationships with faculty. Lauren is currently in her junior year, pursuing a Bachelor of Design in Digital Multimedia Design (DMD) through Penn State World Campus.

What is your hometown?

Pasadena, California

What/where is your current career and workplace?

I am a small business associate and a yoga instructor in Ogden, Utah.

What does a typical workday look like for you?

I work at a small business called The Lotus Wellness Spot. It functions as a trifecta; it is a fair-trade shop, a café, and a yoga studio. There, I curate healthy recipes, offer customer service, handle small business procedures such as opening and closing protocols, and (my favorite) teach yoga.

How did you become interested in the field you currently work in?

I have been practicing yoga for over 10 years. I got my 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training certification this past year and am loving being a teacher. I am currently majoring in digital multimedia design. Art has always played a large role in my sense of self. I am innately drawn toward design, teamwork, and troubleshooting. I place high value on sustainability and health and wellness. My goal is to apply my work ethic and natural inclination to lead toward design.

How has Penn State World Campus impacted your career?

Currently, Penn State World Campus is offering me a path to a professional career. It offers me the opportunity to earn a credible degree while I balance everyday life of being a working student and military spouse.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as a Penn State World Campus student? How have you overcome these challenges?

Being a true Montessori child, I learn best with a “hands-on” approach. I undoubtedly face the real challenge of staying focused and engaged with the Penn State community and maintaining the discipline of time-management. I overcome these challenges by keeping my eye on the prize! I stay focused on my end-goal of graduating. Staying motivated is key. I do this by joining clubs, keeping in touch with professors and students alike, and using tools like bullet journaling to organize my agenda and monitor my progress.

How do you stay connected with Penn State?

I stay connected with Penn State though clubs and by becoming a core person within them. I currently act as the key social media manager of a Facebook group for the DMD major. I also actively track when I have last communicated with my professors and academic adviser. It is easy to become “faceless” within an online education format; I feel it is important to be present by actively keeping in touch. Also, the simple act of uploading a current profile picture opens the door to being known and connecting. Even though our classroom may reside inside our individual personal spaces, our experience does not have to be asynchronous. I like to take full advantage of the resources that lie within our online community.

What is some advice that you would give to a current Penn State World Campus student?

  • It can’t be stressed enough that you should take classes and classmates seriously. Online learning is a great way to achieve your educational goals alongside the demands of everyday life, therefore many of the people that opt in for the challenge of earning a degree online are professionals. You never know what connections can be made through each class, so be sure to put your best foot forward.
  • Take full advantage of the perks! Utilize Lynda tutorials, personal webspace, or library resources; they are there for the taking.
  • Initiate healthy systems of time management. This will be the key to online educational success; leaving time for meal-planning and rejuvenating rest.
  • Last but not least, make the most out of being a student at Penn State World Campus! Have fun, collaborate, self-express, and be creative when you have the opportunity to do so.