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The real online university experience: ASU Online brand ambassador

By Ashley Wineland, ASU Online film and media student and brand ambassador

I have been enrolled in ASU’s online program for two years now. Wow, let me say, typing that out has made me realize how far I’ve come since joining the ever-growing online student community. It’s actually really inspiring to see how I’ve grown as a person and how I view my education during this time.

Upon graduating high school, I knew that online schooling was going to be my path. I am a touring country music singer, and attending school on campus was not going to work if I wanted to grow my career (trust me, I tried doing smaller tours while going to school on campus full time in high school, and had never been more chronically exhausted in my life). I wanted to take a path that allowed me to enhance my skills while expressing my creativity. ASU was the only one who had that path for me with the Film and Media Studies program.

I enrolled online not knowing what it was going to be like or if it was going to be a good fit for me. Naturally, I had a lot of questions, and to add to my concerns, my health was in limbo at the time. As I mentioned earlier, I was chronically exhausted, so I was prone to frequently getting sick. After experiencing a lot of stress from trying to grow my music career while in the public high school system as an AP student, I was praying that the decision to pursue an online college degree would work to my benefit.

Once enrolled, it took some finessing, but I soon found a good rhythm with my school/work load. I found my boundaries of what I could handle while remaining successful in all of my ventures. In this second year of enrollment, I really found my stride, and things have been better since.

In these past two years. I’ve found such a deeper appreciation for my education. I know everyone says it’s different when you have to pay for it, but that’s not what has made the difference for me.

My appreciation lies in being able to take classes that spark my interest, and present things in a way that I don’t dread (unlike my high school experience). I see how I can take everything I’m learning and apply it to multiple facets of my life. It’s been an eye-opening experience.

Being able to take my education online has not only made my work flow better, but my health too. I’m able to construct my days in a way where I’m not overtaxed. I can get my full eight hours of sleep and can schedule time in to work out and practice self care -- all things I need to do to keep myself running at optimal efficiency. I’m healthier now than I’ve been in a long while.

My organization and time management skills have also gotten a nice boost thanks to my time at ASU. Online learning really does require you to manage your time effectively. I’ve learned the hard way what happens when I procrastinate and don’t do my work. Luckily, I’ve also learned how to get myself back on track. I’ve even learned how to regain focus when my mind is in outer space and how to conduct my best work even when I’m not my best self.
I could go on and on about the transformations I’ve made as a person in the past two years, but I won’t write you my memoir today. The point is that we all go through our seasons; we see our moments of warm sunshine and dark cold nights. We grow so much in all of these moments but until you take the time to really sit down and reflect, you never realize how far you’ve actually come, even in such a short period of time. Enjoy all the seasons, and even as the leaves fall and darkness lingers a little longer, know that it all grows back again in the spring.

We're so excited to share Ashley’s story! Ashley is a part of our #LearnASULive team, an ASU Online brand ambassador program highlighting students who are earning their degrees while living their lives to the fullest. If you enjoyed this, be sure to check back for new articles from Ashley so that you can follow along with her journey. To check out all her posts to date, visit Ashley’s Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Website.

Want to hear from our other ambassadors, too? Use the #LearnASULive hashtag across your favorite social channels to browse through them!

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