Natasha Jones studies online with Memorial University and is the winner of DELTS’ recent online learning contest. Upon submitting her response to why online learning works for her, Ms. Jones’ entry garnered nearly 2,500 votes and received top marks from a judging panel.
Currently residing in Bishop’s Falls, Ms. Jones works as a correctional officer while working toward her bachelor of arts part time, majoring in police studies with a minor in psychology. Since the program requires some courses to be completed face-to-face, she spent her first year on campus in St. John’s before returning home to work.
Prior to pursuing her degree, she also completed a certificate of criminology online.
“I was always interested in a career related to the criminal justice system and I wanted to get an educational background to support that,” explained Ms. Jones.
“I lead an active lifestyle, work full-time and study part-time all while owning a home and having a family that receive my love and support,” she added. “If it wasn’t for online learning I would not have been able to indulge in the idea of a degree, let alone start one and find myself over halfway through it!”
Despite her busy lifestyle, Ms. Jones is able to carve out time to study whenever she can – usually on her days off. She also plans her academic year around her desire to be active, taking more courses in the winter to free up time in summer.
“I love to spend time outdoors in any way I can, and I also spend a lot of time with family,” she said. “It can be extremely difficult to balance a home life, family, career and education, but with time and dedication it pays off.”
Ms. Jones’ dedication is largely driven by inspiration of people in her life who have worked hard to overcome barriers. Her parents returned to school when she and her siblings were young, setting an example for Ms. Jones on the value of an education.
“It was inspiring and it taught us that if you were determined and dedicated anything was possible,” she said. “Education means a lot to me. Once I complete my degree I will become the first person in my family to have one.”
For others who may be considering online learning as an option, Ms. Jones advises not to let barriers get in the way.
“Reach for help where you can find it and don’t be afraid of failures or those bumps in the road. I also think that making time for yourself during your studies is really important.
My ‘degree in progress’ – as I call it – has already been beneficial to my profession. I’m so proud to say that online learning has given me a pathway to fulfilling my educational dreams.”