Through piles of paperwork and binders filled with course notes, you would never know Julie Daniels is an online student.
“I’m really weird, and I don’t like reading off the computer,” says Daniels. “I still have to print everything out because I like it in front of me.”
Last semester, when Daniels took nine credit hours, this resulted in three binders full of PowerPoint presentations and class notes. If she has a paper due, Daniels writes it out first in hand, edits it, and then transcribes it into the computer.
“I don’t know how many other people this would work for, but I’m just used to paper and pencil,” says Daniels. “There’s still some old-fashioned in me.”
At 61, Julie Daniels is the ideal online student. She’s driven, works hard in her classes, completes assignments ahead of time, and gets As and Bs. However, that wasn’t always the case.
“I went to college when I first got out of high school, but I wasn’t serious. I was only going because my parents wanted me to, so I blew it off,” explains Daniels. “You know, boyfriends, frat parties, all that kind of stuff got in the way of school.”
A mother of five adult children and grandmother to 12 grand- and great-grandchildren, ages 3-25, all of that changed about four and half years ago.
“I wanted it for me, for a sense of accomplishment, but I wanted to show my parents that I could do it, “ says Daniels.
As an online graduate student in SHSU Online’s Sociology program, age is not an issue for Daniels nor her classmates; they come from as varied a background as she does, are diverse in age, and hail from far-flung places.
A resident of San Antonio, Texas, Daniels stayed local, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy at St. Mary’s in 2014. While there, Daniels received a Presidential Scholarship, and graduated with a 3.9 grade point average. Still, her journey was met with some adversity. Her parents passed away within a year of each other and she was often the oldest student in her face-to-face courses.
“I got teased a lot,” admits Daniels. “The kids would look at me, and they would say, why are you here? I told them, because when I was their age, I messed around and didn’t think school was important. But they would answer, No, why are you here, you’re too old.”
As an online graduate student in SHSU Online’s Sociology program, age is not an issue for Daniels nor her classmates; they come from as varied a background as she does, are diverse in age, and hail from far-flung places (at least from San Antonio’s perspective) like Japan, France, Puerto Rico, and closer to home, Houston.
“It’s very interesting, the amount of distance that was between some of us and then some of us were as close as Houston,” says Daniels.
While Daniels hasn’t completely embraced all the digital tools available to her, she still thrives in an online environment, utilizing group discussions in Blackboard and email to communicate with her classmates and to sort out questions and problems. It is this communication, Daniels believes, that is one of the keys to success in online classes.
“If you have good communication with your fellow classmates, you’ll do a lot better,” says Daniels. “A lot of us could figure things out without involving the professor. What’s even nicer is when you have the same classmates a couple of times you get to know them. Hopefully, one day we all will get to see each other.”
If all goes according to plan, that could be Spring 2016 at graduation. She will also be 62 years old.
If you’re interested in returning to school, no matter what your age, visit Online Programs and Degrees Programs to find the right online educational opportunity for you.