From Classroom to Living Room Overnight, How One Student is Making the Grade

Juggling school and personal life in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic was a tough hit for many. Unprecedented. It flipped the lives of many students upside down with no notice, including Tiasia Howard, a Criminal Justice major at the College.

She had just begun her studies when, in March 2020, the College’s transition to online learning meant Tiasia needed to manage her personal and academic responsibilities while taking classes at home.

"I guess it's my love for learning and furthering my education to provide the best future I can for my kids that keeps me going and earning A’s," Tiasia said. “It was more difficult for my son, because he’s so active.”

When classes first transitioned online, Tiasia knew she needed to make some changes for herself in order to get her work done and still have time for her family. At times, she found herself getting up at 4 a.m. to complete school work before her children woke up for the day. However, she began reaching out to faculty to get ahead of her work, and made a plan early on. Since her classes and assignments were all online and accessible at any time, scheduling time at the beginning of the week allowed her to complete assignments. By midweek, she was able to focus on the required class discussions.

Eventually, Tiasia and her family adjusted to being home together full time. To help her son, who was five years old and starting kindergarten virtually in fall 2020, Tiasia would sit next to him so they could both do their work on their computers together.

Tiasia said there’s no doubt that a difference exists between in-person and online learning. While her course load hasn’t changed much, participation, she said, feels different, and more independent.

"Online learning isn't hard. You just have to motivate yourself and want to do [well] in order to obtain success,” she said.

Tiasia said ultimately, she likes online learning because she can get her work done on her own time and move on to the other things she has going on. She added that not having to travel to school and instead being able to wake up and just get on the computer has made the transition even easier and that much better.

Though it hasn’t all been smooth sailing, Tiasia said she’s proud of how much she’s accomplished over the past year. “I don’t even know how I am doing it.”

Tiasia maintains a 3.5 GPA and is on the path to graduate in May 2021. She plans to return to the College for additional courses before pursuing her career as a detective.