My Experience: Online Grad School

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Man Using Laptop on Table Against White Background

Before I decided that I wanted to go to grad school, I was a civil engineer. I take that back, I did consider grad school, but the thought of making money out of college was really appealing, so I went that direction. After a few months of work (yes only a few months), I decided that I wanted to do a master’s in engineering. I figured that getting a master’s would really allow me to stand out and possibly make more money. I did still want to work full time so the only option was to do an online master’s through UF’s EDGE program. Here’s my experience in online grad school.

EDGE Program

The EDGE program was a cool concept because the live lectures would be recorded and you could watch them on your own time. You would be fully remote, but you would still feel like you were part of the in person class. It also isn’t one of those “go at your own pace” type deals. No, you did the course on the same timeline as the in person class.

I took classes like this for about a year before I decided that I should just go back to school. There were other reasons why I decided to get a PhD and they mostly dealt with my overall satisfaction in life. I was not as fulfilled as I wanted to be and felt pretty stuck. Also, I needed something to get me out of my comfort zone. Going back to school was the only decision, honestly, and it turned out to be the absolute best decision.

Pros and Cons. My Favorite!

I wanted to give some pros and cons of doing an online grad degree. These are all from my experience and it may be completely different for you. I think online grad degrees are just as good as in person, but there are some differences that kind of threw me off. Without further ado, here is my pros and cons of doing an online graduate degree.

ProsCons
The degree shows up as a master’s degree on a diploma.You miss out on the in-person experience. Meaning, you don’t have hands on learning with the instructor. It can be frustrating.
It is convenient and you can do it after work or on the weekends.If you work full time, you will be giving up weekends and nights to catch up on work.
The exams are all take-home (obviously) so you don’t have too much stress from taking it in a room with others.Exams might still be timed so there is some pressure.
You can take one class or several classes at one time, depending on your schedule and time commitmentThis may delay the time it takes to get a master’s. Usually they are 30 credits, so like 10 classes.
It is cheaper to do an online course. Tuition is still the same, but you don’t have to pay additional amounts for housing and food and such. You will be working at the same time too, so you’ll have additional money. You miss out on the college life. It may seem like a good thing to not have to deal with that again, but something about being poor and only focusing on school is exciting and joyous. I don’t know, I’m weird like that lol
The work is the same difficulty and you are getting the same education as being in an actual class.The work is just as hard lol
You can email a professor whenever you like and they can help out.You have to schedule time to see them. This may mean scheduling a time at night to zoom meet with them. My advisor actually did this last night while I was in the lab. It was about 8:30 pm and he was talking to EDGE students since that was the only time they could meet.
You will get really good at using the computer, especially zoom.You will need to spend a great amount of time on a computer.
online grad school

Final Thoughts

I thought doing a master’s online was awesome. I was even able to come to in person classes and take exams and give presentations. It made me feel like I was back in school again and I had a wonderful time doing it. If you are considering applying for an online master’s, I highly suggest doing it. The acceptance rates are extremely high and you can even do your master’s at top schools in the nation. You get the same quality education as in person students get as well. Here is a list of the best online degrees of 2021 from US News. Check it out.

Grad School on a Budget: Coffee

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You must be here because you have an addiction to coffee. Grad school and coffee just totally go together, right? I, too, have an addiction and man is it bad. It’s not quite to the point of an intervention, but I would say it’s close. See coffee is what makes us “normal”. The caffeine is what allows me to write these posts each morning and still be in a good mood to tell everyone “Good morning” as they pass by my office. Unfortunately, coffee can be expensive if you buy it. We have maybe 10 Starbucks on campus and a handful of other coffee shops around campus. You can find it everywhere, but at $4 for an iced coffee, I need to look elsewhere.

Today’s blog will be a bit short but I just wanted to share a few of my favorite coffee with you guys. I do not drink hot coffee. Frankly, I hate warm or hot beverages (I know, I’m weird). I also just drink black coffee so I can reduce calories as well as I like bitter drinks. I even drink iced tea without sugar. Anyway, here are a few of my favorite coffees that I think you need to have in grad school, especially if you are on a budget.

Grad School Coffee List

So I have to start with the coffee maker I have. This coffee make brews single cups, up to 14 oz and takes both k-cups as well as ground coffee. I highly recommend getting one, but if not, a French press like this is absolutely perfect. This initial cost is a bit much but you get your money’s worth in no time, I promise. Ok let’s get to coffee.

French vanilla coffee is the superior coffee. OMG!! It’s amazing iced, hot (my girlfriend likes hot coffee so she told me it’s good), with creamer, with sugar, literally any way you want. I highly recommend this one.

My mother buys this brand and I think it is just so darn good. They are K-cups, but compostable one’s so they are better than the plastic ones. The flavor is really good as well and they are fairly cheap. Definitely a good choice if you have a Keurig or Sboly coffee maker.

So sometimes you have to really get up and going. This is the coffee for you. I promise that you will not need more than half a cup of this stuff to get yourself ready for the day (and even to the gym). This stuff is potent and the flavor is really good. It’s is a bit expensive for the package but well worth it.

I put this one as last because I wanted to end with a fun one. This is a variety pack of coffees that includes pretty much every flavor of coffee that you can imagine. It’s about 60 cents per pod, so a bit expensive, but you can try different flavors then buy the flavor you like the most directly. This variety pack can only be used with a Keurig type coffee maker so you need one of those. I believe some of the flavors included also come in ground form so you can get them for your coffee maker or French press too. I bought this for my mom for mother’s day and she loved it. She was able to determine her favorite flavors and I believe bought a few more of those flavors. It was definitely a good gift (lol).

I hope this has helped a little. As I said grad school and coffee just go together. It’s a fact! Hopefully you had some coffee prior to reading this so it didn’t put you to sleep. I am heading off to get some coffee right now and start my day in the lab. Thank you for reading and I will catch you in the next blog. Peace!