Navigating Online Courses & Unprecedented Times

by Caroline Baselj

The summer before the last semester of my undergraduate career was spent studying for the GMAT and dreaming what graduate school would be like, so needless to say, I was ecstatic to finally commit to Duquesne’s MBA-SBP program right as graduation rolled around. I graduated from the University of Kentucky in December 2019, which means I just barely finished my undergraduate studies before COVID-19 hit. Having a semester off before the MBA-SBP program started, I had about six months to imagine how this health crisis would affect my graduate studies. I had never even taken an online course before, so to hear that our entire summer semester would be executed online left me feeling a little discouraged.

I was fearful that I would not be able to establish the same level of connection with my peers and receive all of the same aspects of an education that I would have been able to in person. However, I can say that now, about halfway through the program— not only has Duquesne completely subsided my fears of online learning, I have met what are now some of my closest friends and favorite work partners.

 “Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.” – Amy Poehler

In a funny way, being online has allowed our cohort to become closer than we ever could’ve been without a pandemic. We’ve shared countless hours together on Zoom together doing assignments and having good conversation. And most importantly, we have navigated these unprecedented times together—we have been able to make light of a bad situation and really look to each other for support.

We were given the opportunity to move to in-person classes for the fall semester, and as one of the students who chose that option, I can say that it presents its own set of challenges in this crazy new world we are all navigating. Being on Duquesne’s campus may be different than I pictured pre-coronavirus, they have truly made it feel like a community despite the circumstances. Stepping onto campus for the first time and meeting some of my classmates in person will always be one of my favorite memories.

Having my cohort’s support and camaraderie to navigate both this intensive program and life as we know it now has really made all of the difference for me. I am inspired by their outlooks on daily life, and pushed to be a better student and human because of the people I have met in the MBA-SBP program.

So, what have I learned from my experience thus far?

  1. Your attitude and outlook can change everything!
  2. Surround yourself with people you wish to become more like.
  3. It might not be what you expected, but it might just be what you need.