For those who are considering going back to school and attending WGU, I would highly recommend it.  After finishing my first term, I thought I would share what I learned about the process and a review of the classes I took, maybe it will help others.

First, if its been awhile since you were in school, it’s not exactly like riding a bicycle.  Though I was very excited to get started, I was nervous and awkward at times.  I had certain study habits and quirks even when I was in school 20 years ago, those things aren’t possible with 6 kids, a husband and a job.  Finding that time did not follow my original plan when I started.  I hope that what I learned my first term will help me accelerate through the rest of the degree more efficiently.

I first tackled Heath Fitness and Wellness (BCC1).  Don’t try to make sense of their course numbers…they just don’t make sense!  This is an easy beginner…let’s ease you into online learning class.  If you are active at all, have been a dieter or pay attention to calories and nutrition, you’ll breeze through this.  First things first…take the pre assesetment.  This will tell you what you actually dont’ know and need to study.  Then JUST STUDY THOSE SECTIONS!  Ironically the only section I struggled on was drugs.  Sorry no experience there…at all…so I had to read that section before taking the test.

Since I was nervous about the actual test, and the camera watching me, I moved on to the second course before taking the test.  STOP DO NOT DO THIS!!!  Once you get that first test done you will feel so much better!  Once I was taking the test I barely noticed the camera was on.  The proctors are friendly and I’m sure they know you are nervous about the camera and the test.  And be forewarned, you have to show the entire room 360 with the camera.  So pretty much showing total strangers my bedroom, pile of laundry and all.

US Government and Constitution (CNC1) – I’m not going to lie to you, until they make changes to this course you will probably want to jump off a bridge!  DO NOT PRINT THE STUDY GUIDE!!! Take the pre assestment and see where you are.  Again unless you’ve lived under a rock all your life, you probably will know most of these things anyway.  I was much closer to passing the assessment then I expected.  I spent 8 weeks agonizing over this course.  Reading and reading and reading, and hating every minute of it.  When it came down to it, after one of Nicole’s famous talk me off the ledge speeches, I took the test and realized I’d wasted 8 weeks studying.  I probably would have passed it 6 weeks earlier.

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Next  I moved onto  Fundamentals of Foundational Perspectives of Education (MYC1).  This one is total common sense.  I expected it to be much harder for me, since it was my first “education” class, but it was mostly just common sense on ethics and such.  4 weeks later I took the test for this and passed it easily.  Oh and remember BCC1…I took that one the same day, because I had just left it hanging there all this time.

My 4th and final class of the term was English Comp 2 (TCP1).  This is another potential bridge jumper.  It’s a 10-15 page paper on the topic of your choice.  You must have 10 sources and do an annotated bibliography.   I changed my topic at least 4 times while trying to do this class.  This one took me longer, because now I was coaching on top of everything else.  This one I spent 3 months “working” on.  Reality my final paper took me about 4 or 5 days to write.  Ok that’s a lie…I spent about 12 hours doing research over a couple of days and then wrote it in about 8 hours if that.  There are actually two tasks to this course.  The bib and the paper.  I did both and turned them both in together.  I also didn’t send my thesis in to be approved (shhh…don’t tell Nicole).  Oh and I researched another topic just before this final one for a day and then tossed it when I decided I couldn’t’ develop it the way I really wanted to.  Soooooooooo….lesssons I learned here.  Pick a darn topic!  (And save yourself 3 months of waste research on various topics you are just going to toss anyway) You can even google a list of topics based on your major if you are struggling with it.   Choose something you have at least some idea about, it will make things go faster, and just do it!  The quicker you get it done the better.  I turned mine in on the last day I could submit.  ALSO…READ THE RUBIC!!!!  The only reason I had a revision was because I forgot to go back and read a rubic.  I needed to actually use 7 sources in the paper.  I had only used 5 (they thought I had 6 but I used one twice), so my revision was pretty easy to just insert a couple of quotes I hadn’t used originally.  I would have saved myself the headache and time waiting on the 2nd evaluation if I’d read the rubic!

Another thought on this class.  It’s suppose to be 10-15 pages but mine  was 9 pages, 1 title page, 2 reference pages and the rest was actual paper.  Don’t stress over it too much.  The annotated bibliography was 7 pages.  In my opinion it was harder then the paper itself.  Why?  I had never done one before so I stressed about whether I did it correctly or not.  If you go through the course material there is a sample in it that you can model yours off of.  Once I did that It was a snap.  I did this as I worked on my resources.  It made things go much faster as well.

What I learned overall from this last term is that I am capable of doing this.  I need to have faith in myself.  That final paper probably proved more to me then anything I had done so far. It was truly the first time all term that I felt like I was in college.  It prepared me for the classes to come and now I’m more confident about tackling them.  I found that if a class is 3 credits, the study guide will say 6 weeks…it will probably take me 2 if I just get down and push through.  I’m sure that won’t be the case for every class or for everyone, but so far that seems to be the pattern for me.  And as I get into classes that I don’t have experience in, those will take me longer.  I beat myself up a little after looking back at how much time a class really took me and having only finished 4 this term, I know that if I had applied myself a little more I would have finished 2 or 3 times that many.  So on to term 2.  Let’s see where the next 6 months takes me!!!