Pursuing a college degree in a virtual environment can sometimes be challenging.
In my particular case, this circumstance has been even more marked due to the fact of living in another continent. During these past semesters at Penn State I have not only been able to enjoy a high quality education, but also the positive influence of diverse motivational mechanisms aimed to make more efficient and inspiring my overall experience as a World Campus international student. Constant interaction with my student peers, instructors, and my adviser helped me to have a better grasp and understand the full dimension of Penn State, which is in fact a large family consisting of hundreds of thousands of members who live in the five continents.
As noted above, the University has promoted and implemented a number of programs and extracurricular activities focused on enhancing the student experience from its very beginning and beyond graduation. Just to list a few, the following are some of the options and alternatives that the University offers to its virtual campus students to participate in the college life as a means to strengthen ties and the sense of belonging to the community:
- Alpha Sigma Lambda: As a Penn State World Campus student and based on your academic performance, you can become a member of Pi Delta Chi, Penn State’s University Park chapter of Alpha Sigma Lambda (ASL) honor society, which honors the scholarship and leadership of undergraduate adult learners.
- Blue & White Society: The society represents the student contingent of the Penn State Alumni Association, the largest dues-paying alumni association in the world, which promotes some of the University’s well-known traditions.
- THON: This is another tradition to feel proud of and is organized by Penn State students on all university campuses. THON is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world and is aimed to collect funds for the Four Diamonds Fund, which has as its main goal to foster medical investigations to combat childhood cancer.
- World Campus Alumni Ambassadors Program: Graduates of the Penn State World Campus can assist the University’s admission office for instance by offering a personal recount of their experiences as Penn Staters to prospective students.
The physical distance is not an insuperable obstacle when it comes to showing your Penn State pride. At least that has not been the case for me. I am a Penn State blogger, a Lion Ambassador, proud member of the Blue & White Society, have been inducted as a member of the Alpha Sigma Lambda honor society, and in general a grateful Penn Stater who is still wondering how to properly give back to my alma mater for all the academic satisfactions gained as a student, all shaped by the ethical principle of “success with honor.”
As our missed coach Joe Paterno stressed, “Success without honor is an unseasoned dish; it will satisfy your hunger, but it won’t taste good.” That was probably the most crucial lesson I have learned so far.