Student Perspective: Raven Rauth

Raven shares her fascinating career and her tips for getting focused while learning online. 

What is your hometown? 
Hagerstown, MD  

What/where is your current career and workplace? 
I currently work for The Arc of Washington County. We are a private, nonprofit local chapter of The Arc of Maryland and The Arc of the United States, the largest volunteer organization in the world devoted exclusively to improving the quality of life for all persons with developmental disabilities. I’m an outreach worker and spend a lot of time with people in the community, working with people with developmental disabilities. 

What does a typical workday look like for you? 
I usually stop in at the office to pick up any paperwork I might need and grab the company car. I head out shortly thereafter. I’m often on the road for about 8 hours per day. Any given day, I’ll drive around, head to the mall, go bowling, or check out a movie. It really depends on who I’m working with that on that particular day. I like to let the person I’m with decide what’s on the agenda for the day.  

How did you become interested in the field you currently work in? 
I was looking to do something a bit different when I started there. I originally started in residential care but then transferred over to the outreach program because it gives me more flexibility with my school schedule. 

How has Penn State World Campus impacted your career? 
It’s definitely forced me to have a more structured home schedule. I have to be very diligent with the time I do have at home. However, Penn State World Campus has been really nice because I’m able to get things done in my own time. I couldn’t do that in a traditional school setting. Fortunately, the type of work that I do allows me to be able to get a lot of my reading for school done, since I’m able to take homework on the go. 

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as a Penn State World Campus student? How have you overcome these challenges?  
One of my biggest challenges has been getting myself to sit down and focus. Given that I’m not in a traditional classroom setting, I often find it hard to get into school mode. I’ve been able to overcome this by setting up a designated work space at home so that I’m able to complete my homework. Otherwise, I find that I have a really hard time getting into a “student state of mind” mentality.

How do you stay connected with Penn State? 
I follow a lot of the emails. I will say that I find it hard to keep up as a Penn State World Campus student. Because I virtually attend classes, I’m often missing out on that live connection and not as aware of events that are available for me to attend, either virtually or in-person.

What is some advice that you would give to a current Penn State World Campus student? 
I would say that being able to attend Penn State World Campus is a really great opportunity. As an online learner, you’re able to attend school on your terms. Also, don’t get overwhelmed by it all. Be sure to take advantage of the flexibility the online campus has to offer.