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For Dan Rodriguez learning online isn’t an alternative forced by scheduling conflicts or geographic constraints it’s his preferred way to learn, and since he’s been doing it at WGU Texas he says it has boosted his academic success as well as his personal self confidence.
“When I attended college before WGU Texas in traditional classroom settings I struggled,” he says. “I wasn’t able to get my associate’s, despite attending three colleges, because of math. I couldn’t complete a math course.” He recalls the discomfort at stopping the class to raise his hand with questions a common problem for introverts in large classes. “I signed up for tutoring; however, it turned out to be a replica of the class situation a lot of students sitting in a room listening to one person lecture.” The system failed him.
He found WGU Texas and the mentor model offered a different scenario. “I learn so much more from the one-on-one personalized learning of WGU. I don’t think there’s a better way to learn if I miss something I just go back to it. If it doesn’t make sense, my course mentor joins me in a webinar and explains it. I can call them or chat about a specific problem that didn’t make sense, and then move on,” he says. He thanks his course mentor in Calculus for his current success one six month term from graduating with a bachelor’s degree. “My course mentor in Calculus was so patient. I didn’t understand, and was ready to throw in the towel as I had in the past, but he kept explaining patiently and saying, ‘just wait, it’s going to come to you.” Sure enough, it did. “One day I just got it it made sense. It gave me a tremendous sense of personal resolve to be able to say to myself that I understand Calculus, and I don’t have to drop out of another degree program because of problems with math courses.”
Dan says it’s already helping him in his job. “Before this I would look at spreadsheets of budgets and I could see the numbers, but their meaning wasn’t clear I didn’t have the context to understand. My coursework in this degree plan has enabled me to really understand what I see coming across my desk that extends beyond the scope of my current job, and it’s going to open a lot of doors for me. I’m more confident professionally.”
His profession isn’t the only beneficial aspect of this new found confidence. “I am more outgoing now. I used to be more introverted. It’s exciting in my family too. I have ten brothers and sisters and I will be the first to earn a college degree. That makes me proud,” he beamed.
Asked what advice he has for other adults contemplating a return to college and considering WGU Texas he responds, “This is not the same as a conventional classroom where you’re there as an older student surrounded by 19-year-olds. I’m a huge advocate of this for working adults. You can work at your own pace, and when things come up in life you can take care of them. If you need to stop and take care of your kids you can. I’d tell adults to give it a try what have they got to lose? It enriches your life.”
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