Spring commencement is an exciting time of the year. Thousands of NC State University students and their loved ones, as well as faculty and staff, will be celebrating the academic accomplishments of the graduating class of 2019, recognizing the personal drive and determination that led them to graduation.
But Raleigh is far from the only city celebrating NC State graduate success. NC State College of Science online and distance education student, Hyunjin “Jin” Cho, will be celebrating her graduation from the online Master of Statistics program from her hometown of Edmonton, in the Canadian province of Alberta – roughly 2,500 miles away from the NC State campus. That’s quite far, Eh?
Cho’s self-drive and discipline allowed her to graduate from the program in less than two years and teed her up for her next big endeavor – obtaining a Ph.D. in statistics from the University of Waterloo, Canada.
Below is a Q & A with the future grad.
What factored into your choice of enrolling in the NC State Statistics online program?
The NC State Department of Statistics has a very good reputation both nationally and internationally, so as a person who is interested in pursuing a master’s degree in statistics, NC State University was one of my top choices. The prospect that I can get the same rigorous training in statistics as the on-campus students without having to relocate to North Carolina appealed to me strongly.
Did you work while earning your degree? How did you manage to balance work and school and other responsibilities?
I worked as I studied during the first few semesters of my online master’s program. As with any other online program, I felt that a great level of self-discipline was necessary to be successful. Instead of waiting until the weekend to start my coursework, I set a daily evening routine and I always started to work on the lectures, assignments and projects on the day they became available. My trick was to work little by little every day, and it worked really well for me.
My passion for and interest in the field of statistics also helped me out a lot. Even when I was quite tired after work, I worked on my courses with the mindset that studying for these subjects was a hobby, not coursework. I am very result-driven and this motivated me to get high grades in all of my courses. This led to a nomination to become a member of the U.S. national statistics honor society – Mu Sigma Rho. That motivation also helped me overcome the temptation to procrastinate on my coursework.
How do you see your degree helping you in your career after graduation or how has it helped you?
I am going to pursue a Ph.D. program in statistics from the University of Waterloo starting May of 2019. In my home country of Canada, a master’s degree is required to enter into a Ph.D. program, so obtaining an M.S. in Statistics from a renowned institution like NC State University has definitely helped me with my Ph.D. admission process.
I am also very happy with the quality of the classes that I have taken as an online student. The online statistics program at NC State provided me with good theoretical and practical foundations that I need to be successful in my future Ph.D. program.
What is the one thing you would like people to know about how online graduate education worked for you?
I find that to become a successful online student, it is very important that the student is academically proactive. This includes exchanging emails with professors for questions, participating in the Moodle discussion forums and online office hours. Doing all of these things is part of being in an active learning environment and maintaining a good level of interactions between the student, professor and the class can help the online student to overcome the sense of alienation.
Do you have plans to celebrate your graduation from this program?
I was planning on flying to Raleigh to attend the campus graduation, but my Ph.D. supervisor and I agreed that I will start my Ph.D. career on May 6 of this year, so I will not be able to attend the graduation ceremony. However, I do plan on having a small celebration with my family and friends
How was your overall online learning experience at NC State?
I believe that online university programs are the way of the future. Some people may wonder whether being a distance graduate student would put one at a disadvantage in learning compared to the on-campus students, but I felt like this online master’s program at NC State has successfully integrated the various features of modern technology with classroom learning so that the online courses can be carried out smoothly for distance education students. I am still quite impressed with NC State in this aspect.
Learn more about our Online and Distance Education Programs.
This post was originally published in Online and Distance Education News.