By Rebecca Evans, Boise State University
My first college experience was 25 years ago while stationed abroad and serving my country in the United States Air Force. I recall walking to my dorm with an arm-load of books and retracing an archaic system called the Dewey Decimal to find material to cite. I was nervous about returning to school in my 40’s a couple of years ago and I honestly felt a bit ancient myself.
The internet didn’t just offer me a method for research. but actually gave me the means to take classes when I began life as a student again. As a single mother to three young boys, I did not want to incur child care costs and so my dream of going back to school was made a reality with the help of the internet and on-line courses. I watched my instructor, responded to classmates, participated in an interactive CSI-type lab on-line and uploaded Blogs and Prezi’s in the time it would have taken me to read an entire text two decades ago. The internet makes academic endeavor an opportunity for all as the barrier between time, space and financial limitation is now narrowed.
As a side gem is the notion that there were many high school juniors and seniors in my same virtual courses, pursuing their college education while completing their high school requirements. These young minds offered a freshness to the academic environment, but they also inspired me.
I believe that the internet has taken social media to another level when it is used in such a positive manner. Of course I love staying connected and reconnecting with friends from years gone by through social media. When I find myself in piles of academic requirements and feeling quite isolated from the outside world, I can simply tap in and connect. In bringing academics closer to fruition, social media has also brought my friendships closer too.