Education from a “Real” School

Daily Prompt: Why, Thank You?

What’s the best (or rather, worst) backhanded compliment you’ve ever received? If you can’t think of any — when’s the last time someone paid you a compliment you didn’t actually deserve?

I recently graduated with my bachelor’s of science in internet technology, specializing in web development. In fact, it’s only been two weeks since I finished up my final project and turned it in. I put in four full time years of hard work to graduate with the highest honors of summa cum laude, with a GPA of 3.98 and I did it all online. I admit to being very proud of my accomplishment as I start figuring out what I’m going to do with it. All that being said, I’m not saying it to brag (well maybe just a little) but actually it leads me to one of the most backhanded compliments I’ve ever received.

My sister recently visited to celebrate my 40th birthday with me. In talking over the week she was here, she mentioned that she was thinking of going back to school. I suggested she take online courses so she could work her school around her work schedule. At first she told me that she wouldn’t be able to go to school that way because she tends to procrastinate and wouldn’t stay motivated to get her work done without having to physically go to classes. I was okay with that and understood. Everyone has to do things in the way that works best for them.

In casual conversation a couple of days later, she mentioned going back to school again and how she was going to go to “real school.” I was floored! And pissed! I really thought the idea of online school not being as good as ground school had died out, especially in the younger generations and with all schools including Harvard and Yale offering courses online now. And I didn’t realize until that moment that my sister didn’t think my degree and years spent in school were even valid.

I worked my butt off for that degree in a “real” reputable university that offers both ground and online classes and got a “real” degree. I also know I worked harder than many of the ground students because online school requires more work for students to stay in school. I’m not saying anyone who went to ground school does not work hard because they do but when you go to ground school, showing up for class counts as participation. For online classes, you have to do participation several times a week in the form of answers to discussion board questions with word counts on top of the regular assignments and lectures.

I have respect for anyone who continues their education and even more for those who go back to school while working full-time jobs, raising families and trying to live a life while doing it. Any school, online or ground, requires dedication and determination to show up and finish. So while, I’m happy for my sister and her decision to go back to school (she still has to sign up, so we’ll see if it actually happens) and will offer support while she does it, I have to admit to being pissed and disappointed at her “compliment.”


6 thoughts on “Education from a “Real” School

  1. Yes, I concur. Congratulations! All accredited schools have virtual classes and components now. At ours, one can finally earn a degree completely online without having stepped into a classroom once! Also, tell your sister that online students read three times as much as “in-person” students do. Those who actually stick to an online program show an immense amount of discipline, much more so than a classroom student. There’s plenty of data out there to show her this.

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