Business Management Student Shares Tips For a Successful Online Learning Experience
Bay Area native Ysa Gardner received an Associate of Arts degree from FIDM San Francisco in Merchandising & Marketing before moving to Orange County where she is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from FIDM Los Angeles. As a student who takes the majority of her courses online, we caught up with Ysa to hear about her experience and what tips she’d share with FIDM Students who are new to virtual learning.
What was your path to FIDM? I knew that finding a career and college path that best fit my values and goals would take time. After high school, I took a gap year and got my first job as a salesperson for a pet food company. That job taught me that sales and marketing were my callings. I loved working with the public, learning people's stories, and meeting representatives from Weruva, Open Farm, and Stella & Chewy’s. It finally clicked for me that marketing, brand building, and sales are powerful forces for good when they promote amazing companies. FIDM has been a part of my family for years as my mother has worked as an Admissions Advisor here for almost my entire life. Once I understood that my life goal was to build and promote ethical brands I knew FIDM was where I had to go.
What are some of your favorite memories of your FIDM experience so far? All the amazing friendships I’ve made in San Francisco. My teachers and members of the Career Center like Gail Jackson, Nancy Bombard, Ruth Richie, and Christine Kastanos are all so kind and I miss them a lot now that I am in LA. I am very excited to build more connections at the LA campus once in-person classes are resumed.
Tell us about your online learning experience at FIDM: I used online classes as a way of taking on extra courses or as a way to give me more freedom in my work schedule during my time at FIDM SF while pursuing my Associates. The teachers were rockstars at keeping the lessons personal and promoting interaction between classmates. Now that FIDM has switched from eLearning to Canvas, the entire format of online classes is far more comprehensive. I have taken 75% of my Bachelor's classes online so far!
So far my favorite thing about the transition to Canvas is how intuitive the class navigation is. Every class has a weekly roadmap of assignments and activities that are to be completed. There is no question as to what is expected of me and what I need to do. My goal for the upcoming quarter is to connect more with my classmates for group projects. We are all going to be missing our social time, so online classes are going to be a great chance to connect.
With classes shifting online, what tips would you share for students not used to learning this way? My biggest piece of advice is to learn time management. I always keep a Bullet Journal on me so I can map out what I need to do and when I need to do it. I use the “Big Rocks Little Rocks” method. It is extremely liberating to look at my weekly agenda and be able to guiltlessly say, “Yes, I can do a fun activity today” because I know I have made time for everything else I need to do for school and work. Motivation is the second key factor. Everyone is cooped up indoors lately so it can be super tempting to just play video games, watch Netflix, or do social media instead of homework. I've found that making a homework playlist and dedicating a part of my house as a “homework zone” helps me stay focused. My brain clicks into homework mode so it is easier to get stuff done faster.
What are you doing to stay inspired during these challenging times? Reddit, Reddit, Reddit! It is far more personal than Pinterest and creates community better than Instagram. There is a movement called “Sewcial Isolation” circulating in the r/sewing, r/quilting, and vintage fashion pages at the moment. Quilting is my favorite hobby and so seeing all the amazing things folks are doing with their free time makes me feel like a kid in an inspirational candy shop.
What are you most looking forward to once the pandemic is over? All the local craft stores and breweries! It is easy for JOANN and Michaels to stay open and ship out their products at a time like this, but the local craft stores don't have the same resources. I'm just working through some old craft supplies and saving my art budget to show some local favorites some love once the world opens up again. The same goes for local thrift and vintage stores.
FIDM has been offering eLearning courses and entire majors online for over 15 years. We’ve been able to build on that foundation to deliver a true FIDM experience for our students currently experiencing an online-only quarter. FIDM's holistic approach focuses on academics, research, student activities, and career planning. Please contact FIDM Admissions to apply.