There are many reasons why students decide to attend classes online rather than in person. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen the importance of having the ability to participate in activities from home for safety and health reasons. While I did not choose to attend Penn State World Campus in the midst of the pandemic, there have been many times I greatly appreciated the opportunity to attend graduate school online. This spring, in the middle of the semester, my oldest daughter had a medical concern. After a routine checkup, we ended up in the ER and then the PICU. She was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. We would spend two weeks in the hospital, on the PICU floor and the oncology floor. Following her hospital stay, she began chemotherapy treatment. She has chemotherapy twice a month until she completes all of her cycles and receives a clean bill of health.
While this was a shock to my family, and it did disrupt our lives, I was relieved to be able to continue my graduate education with only slight accommodations. My professor was very supportive, encouraging me to take any extra time I needed and extending a quiz deadline during the time we were in the hospital. Despite the time spent in the hospital, I was able to keep up with readings and other assignments. If I were not attending graduate school online, I would have had to drop out of the course and most likely the program in general. Although the extra doctor visits and chemotherapy appointments cut back on the time that I had to do school work, I was able to complete all of my course work and even kept up with my classmates. There was no delay in my program or my studies.
I am so grateful for the ability to complete my studies online and asynchronously; it gave me the ability to continue my education despite a considerable disruption in my life. While there are many times when I appreciate the convenience of learning online, this was a big one!