The Online Alternative Is The Only Option For Some Students


“There’s no way I could have put my life on hold and move to New York to work on this degree. Without Mercy offering a degree completely online, it would not have happened for me,” says Adriana Free, a 29 year-old mother of two and wife of a South Carolina Army National Guard.

Adriana Free lives in South Carolina with her two children and husband. She is a stay at home mother. She wakes up everyday to cook breakfast for her family and make sure her house is in order. She is the example of stability for her family.

Adriana’s husband is in the South Carolina Army National Guard. He also works for them as a civilian. Adriana explains that her husband’s schedule is chaotic and he is on call 24 hours a day. He constantly travels because he is an M-Day soldier, which is a reservist that drills one weekend a month and two weeks during the summer. His training and schooling take him away from home often.

While he travels, Adriana is home with the children. She takes them to all their extracurricular activities. She picks them up from school and makes sure there is dinner on the table. She makes sure they do their homework and get to bed on time.

She is also a full-time college student, and one with a not-so-secret secret as to how she accomplished her education while working as a stay at home mom.

Online classes.

Adriana is a full-time online student at Mercy College with an Associate’s Degree and took advantage of the online learning experience.

“Online learning enables me to raise my children uninterrupted by my own personal goals and ambitions. I didn’t get a chance to do the ‘whole college thing’ the traditional way straight out of high school, and I refuse to make my children suffer in because of it.”

Mercy College offers an Associate’s Degree in accounting, business and liberal arts online. Bachelor’s Degrees in business, behavioral science, computer information, corporate communications, criminal justice, English, health science, history, nursing (RN to BS), mathematics, organizational management (EDGE), psychology and Spanish are also available.

Mercy offers graduate classes online as well.

Master’s Degrees in business administration (MBA), direct marketing, English literature, health services management (MPA), health services management (MS), human resources management, Internet business systems, nursing administration, nursing education and organizational leadership are available.

Mercy also offers online classes for those who wish to take both online and in class courses.

Online classes make going to school easier for those who have a busy schedule. Adriana says she always has her hands full during the day. Being a full-time mother, wife and student can be very tricky, she says.

Adriana recalls last semester how both of her children caught pneumonia. Her children had to stay home from school for three weeks. She was able to give her children her complete attention because of the ability to take online classes.

“I do the majority of my school work after my kids go to bed, and this gives me the opportunity to keep my life balanced—family, home, school—all the while still receiving the education that I need to one day better my family’s financial situation.”

Adriana received her Associate Degree from a small technical college in South Carolina. She started taking prerequisite classes for their nursing program. At the time, Adriana had to physically show up to class because it was more hands on experience. She took some classes online but the major required labs and 12 nursing credits. The only way she made it through that was because of her mother-in-law, who babysat three times a week. Her son was not even a year at the time.

At the same time, she was also taking literature classes and found a new calling: the English major.

“I’ve always written poetry and enjoyed reading but had taken a break from it all after my kids and busyness of life. I knew that this was something I was passionate about and wanted to teach at the collegiate levels. So I switched majors and here I am!”

Her decision to attend Mercy did not come easily. Adriana needed to find a schedule that would be benefit her and her family. Her initial choice of the University of South Carolina proved to be too difficult – the university was 150 miles away from her home. It only offered two classes online. It clearly was not the choice for her.

“Mercy College fit all of my needs and has been extremely accommodating to me and what I need to get out of this experience. I’ve been accepted into the Four Plus-One Masters in Literature program, so in fall of 2012 I will finish my Bachelor’s in English and two of those classes will also count towards my graduate studies.”

With all this education, Adriana plans to become a professor in online learning. In her area, she explains that the market for online professors in open.

“It’s not for everyone, I admit, but there are countless individuals who benefit from online learning and without it, they might not be able to pursue their dreams.”

Adriana is a true believer in online classes. She is also proof that online classes are useful and worth the investment.

Her advice to other students interested in online classes is that it is all about time management.  “Keep yourself extremely organized. My husband teases me, but honestly, if you don’t keep it all straight, it can get out of hand. I print everything out and still keep it in separate folders for each class so that I can reference it.”

She added that backing up all of her work is a necessity.  “Keep all of your work on a thumb drive because if your computer goes, it’s all over.”

And of course, the one constant between all college students is procrastination.

“Don’t wait until the last hour to get assignments, essays, or tests done! It’s so easy to say, ‘I’ll just do it tomorrow.’ And tomorrow becomes three days, and three days turns into a week.”