For some students, moving to online classes and working from home is a difficult transition, but for others, working and learning in the virtual world has proven to be a better solution; this is the case of Brittany Cassidy.
Cassidy is graduating in marketing this spring and just accepted a job offer at Kohler/Kallista as an associate media analyst. When she started school at UW-Green Bay in 2019, she loved the connections she made with friends, classmates, and professors on campus.
But when the pandemic hit, forcing classes to move online, Cassidy used her self-discipline to make the transition work. In fact, it worked out so well that she decided to complete her undergraduate work with online classes and do her internship virtually.
“Obviously it was a big change (to go online) because before the pandemic I had only taken one online course,” Cassidy said. “The change was difficult, but also, I’m quite disciplined, so it wasn’t too difficult for me.”
The biggest challenge, she says, was figuring out her new routine.
Before the pandemic, she was taking in-person classes on campus. Immersing herself in clubs and activities, she based her schedule around her classes, she said.
When the pandemic forced the university to move to virtual classes, Cassidy returned to her parents’ home in Allenton, separating her from her friends, classmates and professors and disrupting her college experience.
“I had to rework my whole schedule to fit my life and my new ways of teaching,” she said. “When things went online, some teachers just posted lessons and you kind of had to do it at your own pace. Then some teachers still had times to meet, but you only meet for about a year. It was really difficult to structure my schedule.
Online school, she said, is more work-intensive than in-person classes. In a virtual class, you have to read the book and do the homework because you may not have the opportunity to ask the teacher questions during class. And if you don’t understand something, sometimes it’s not as simple as raising your hand to ask a question – it can be as complicated as scheduling an online meeting with your teacher via email.
“It was a big challenge, but I wanted to keep going to school; I wanted to succeed,” she said. “So I just did what I could and tried really hard and put in a lot of time throughout my school day. I would say the change has been quite drastic. This n It wasn’t easy for a lot of students, but I would say I adapted quite quickly.
When the opportunity to return to school presented itself in the fall of 2020, Cassidy took it. By spring, however, she was back to all online classes. The ability to move in with her boyfriend in Hartford helped her save money and control her own schedule helped her make the decision to complete her education online.
She even found an internship with Kohler online. Working with social media marketing for the company’s Kallista brand, Cassidy is able to be fully remote for school and work while utilizing her marketing background. Cassidy manages all of Kallista’s Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest accounts, creates posts, engages with followers, responds to messages and manages partnerships with social media influencers who use the company’s products, and then are promoting. A week before graduation, she accepted an offer from Kohler/Kallista as an associate media analyst.
“I really like him,” she said. “I was a little nervous at first because I don’t know anything about plumbing, but I learned a lot about the different products and what makes a functional bathroom work.”
Working virtually is also a challenge, she said, due to virtual meetings with different teams and daily meetings with her boss. But, like school, it is one more challenge that requires organization, planning and communication.
The reward of going virtual, she said, is the flexibility to work alone, complete assignments at optimal times for her schedule, and optimize her work/life balance. Living in a one-bedroom apartment with her boyfriend, who is also taking online classes, means making sure the two have the time and space they need to get things done.
“I work from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. every day,” she said. “I was working in the morning, but it wasn’t working out very well because it’s very difficult for both of us to be at home while I’m in meetings all day.”
Now she gets up early enough to do classwork, then relaxes until she has to work. After work, she says, she goes to the gym to work out before returning to the apartment to cook dinner. Later that evening, she says, she completes any other homework she might have for school.
Managing work and school online means staying on top of what’s expected of you day-to-day, she said. To manage it, she created a master spreadsheet of every assignment she had due throughout the semester. She plans each week what is due and what her commitments are for her internship, based on the spreadsheet.
“If you don’t structure your day well and don’t make time for school, you’re not going to be successful because there’s no teacher reminding you of homework,” she said. . “Nobody tells you. ‘Hey, there’s an exam next week. Be sure to study for it.
But honing those skills – organization, communication and planning – will ultimately benefit her after she graduates and takes on the next step in her career.
Story of Freelance Writer Liz Carey
Photo by Kelly Smith Images