It was the second week of November when I started in the Dispensing Optician program. The program started during the last week of October, and I was two weeks late when I entered the program.
As a late enrollee, I was a little bit nervous when found out from my program advisor that the program had already started, as I realized I might have to wait until May for the next program start date. My program advisor said that she could try and place me in the current class, but that I would have to work extra-hard to catch up. When I learned that she had spoken to the Dispensing Optician program instructors, who had granted me permission to start right away, it was a bittersweet feeling; I was excited to be able to start the program, but I was also anxious and knew right away how busy I would be with school and full-time work hours.
Now that I have started in the program, what do I do? I know I’m about two weeks behind and I know starting is the hardest part because I haven’t been to school for so long that I have to pace myself. The first thing that I did was to check the weekly schedule, as well as the yearly schedule for the Dispensing Optician program. I found out that it is available online, which was very handy because I can see ahead all the classes that I have to do online and on campus.
The program is a combined-delivery format; online for theory classes, laboratory classes to practice the skills, and practicums to apply everything that you learn. One of my favourite things about the program is that most of it is online learning and I can work, then study once I get home or study and work after when I have a late shift.
The first class in the program is called Orientation and Student Success Skills and it was on campus. Me and a classmate met with our instructor Trisha on campus and there we learned the basics of online education.
Learning how to navigate Moodle (Stenberg’s online learning platform) was one of the key elements for me to keep up with all the assignments and projects that will be given to me, and to ensure I get the most out of my time at Stenberg.
I really liked everything that we learned in the orientation class, especially when we were taught how to properly cite books, journals, or websites to avoid plagiarism in our research and assignments. We even had tests to give us scores on test anxiety and study habits and it goes into a graph, where there I saw some areas that I need to be better at when it comes to studying and taking tests.
Time management is another thing that I learned in the orientation and for me to be good at it, I bought a clipboard and printed the calendar for the whole year, and filled it with tasks that I have to do for each day of the week for school and studies, while adding my work schedule in it. This system has allowed me to be really organized and I know what my goals for each day are, which enables me to focus on my studies while working full time.