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Online learning changes the game
Sidney Henderson, an FIU volleyball player, maintains an incredibly rigorous schedule with practices, competitions, gym time and a full-time internship as she completes her bachelor’s degree in information technology with online classes.

Online learning changes the game

A student-athlete's perspective.

October 30, 2019 at 12:00am

Life is like a game. You have to know the rules, and then play better than anyone else. Sidney Henderson understands this well. Days are demanding for student-athletes at FIU. Between workouts, volleyball competitions, and her full-time internship with NextEra Energy, she has to find time to study and do her homework. It can all be overwhelming, she admitted, but she’s managed to achieve top grades in her program.

Volleyball gave Henderson the discipline she needs to accomplish a goal. During games, she works with her team to perfect every play from a solid “dig” and “set” to a flawless spike. Theoretically, online learning requires the same components: you dig into the material, you set up your projects, and you knock it out for maximum points—many times, you also work with a team. With a rigorous schedule, she manages it all because she’s used to it, but online learning with FIU Online is the game changer, she said.

Scheduling time

“Class schedules can be hard to keep as a student-athlete, so I take online classes to help ease my schedule,” she said.

Online learning allows her the flexibility and portability she needs to stay on track with her degree as she works toward her May 2020 graduation. As long as there’s wi-fi, Henderson can access her classes when traveling for games or late at night when things are quiet and less on-the-go.  

It’s about discipline

Currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in information technology, the Chicago native fell in love with Miami when she came to visit. The warm weather, palm trees and vibe made her feel alive. But while the sun, sand and scene in Miami are what she looks forward to, Henderson uses her weekend time to finish up her online class assignments and prepare for the upcoming week.

“My online classes give me the luxury of completing courses and doing what I love. I can stay in school, pursue my degree and not be left behind,” Henderson asserted.

Relevant experience

The group work, time management and added accountability associated with online learning offer Henderson real-life experience, she explained. She also stressed that learners have to be very self-directed. The tools are there, but students must work hard using the resources provided to find solutions. Online learning offered Henderson a new look at education outside of the classroom. She added that she’s developed many new skills. Namely, her courses force her to be responsible and make sure no assignments are missed.

“You have to take it for what it is and make it valuable to you. Online courses really teach you how to learn,” she said. “FIU Online offers a great opportunity to those who can’t take advantage of the traditional student environment.”

For Henderson, college was always part of her plan as was volleyball, a sport that she’s been playing since she was 14. Both of her parents are college graduates, so they offered endless encouragement for her to pursue a degree. Henderson is already planning her future. As soon as she graduates with her bachelor’s, she wants to come back to FIU for her MBA, and she’ll probably do it online, she confirmed. 

“You’re never done being a student,” Henderson declared. “Whether you are a student of life or a student of your career, you always have to keep up with how fast things grow and change.”