Pagoulatos was incredibly proud to have earned her second master’s degree from ASU Online, because she was able to balance work and family while furthering her education and career. She believes that time management and self-direction were essential to her success. For her, sometimes that involved studying as soon as she got home from work, and other times it involved doing classwork in the morning before starting her work day.
“I think online education is an important and viable option. I believe that learners need choices based on what suits their living, their profession and their learning style,” Pagoulatos explained. “Online learning is a great choice for self-directed people. It allows you to be as independent or connected as you want. So looking at the professions in the world, in the landscape today, it's providing you with those skills that you can also apply in your job on a day-to-day basis.”
Pagoulatos also credits self-care as playing a role in her success. She said that stepping away and giving her brain a break by getting outside and hiking helped her succeed in completing her degree.
“Putting in those breaks, those brain breaks or times where you step away, are incredibly important to maximizing your learning experience and your life in general,” Pagoulatos said.
For anyone interested in earning their degree online, she suggests reviewing the curriculum and investing time in learning to navigate the website. Pagoulatos believes students can be as independent as they choose to be as long as they understand the landscape of studying online.
“What are you looking for? Where is it located? How do you communicate with the professor? When are they available? Make sure you have all those structures in place for yourself, and then be sure to engage when there's opportunities to have a dialogue with your professor. Reach out and ask questions,” Pagoulatos said. “There's a person on the other side who is ready, willing and able to help you. Take advantage of the collaborative experiences within your course to dialogue with your classmates on discussion boards and work on collaborative projects. The people in your program are likely pursuing the same path that you are, so they're going to bring a unique perspective, especially since not every student is from the state of Arizona. You are combining multiple perspectives to enhance your experience.”
While completing her first master’s degree from ASU provided Pagoulatos unique insight on what to expect while completing her second degree online, she said that, with both degrees, she learned things about her field that she could immediately apply.
“You're getting the same quality curriculum and the same access to quality professors,” Pagoulatos said. “It's extremely proficient and personalized. That connection between you and your professor, it's not just you working through a course alone in isolation, you have that support. You have that ability to interact with other people in your field.”