“Specifically with like Stride K12, if you go on stridelearning.com, there are so many different resources... like internship portals, success coaches, and stuff like that... just things to prepare you in school, as well as for your time out of high school. And, you know, into college, into becoming an adult, so that was really cool to me.”~Daysha Ross
(Transcript available below)
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Heidi Higgins: Hi, there. I'm Heidi Higgins, and you are listening to K12 On Learning. Daysha Ross is an online high school graduate. She currently holds a coveted paid internship with the Stride social marketing team, and developing all sorts of skills before she heads off to college. Daysha gives a lot of credit to her family and access to a success coach who still works with her today, even after graduation. Lifelong learning and support is helping Daysha find success as a young adult. The good news is you don't have to be a Stride student to access a success coach.
Daysha Ross: I enrolled second semester of my freshman year in high school.
Heidi Higgins: And tell me which school that was?
Daysha Ross: It was Michigan Great Lakes Virtual Academy.
Heidi Higgins: What was it like to school online?
Daysha Ross: Well, number one, it was the best decision. It was so nice just having so much flexibility and not having to wake up at 5:15, which is what I did before I came to online school. So it was just super nice being able to school from home, or technically wherever I can with a wifi connection was super special to me, because I'd go out to the library, coffee shops, just go outside. Even that was pretty relaxing for me and just able to minimize the stress of school. Being in brick-and-mortar was super stressful the whole time. And so being an online student really minimized the stress for me and actually made class being very enjoyable.
Heidi Higgins: I'm glad you mentioned that. You said something about 5:30 in the morning. How come you had to get up so early?
Daysha Ross: Hall started actually at 7:15, but I would like to get there earlier just because of so much traffic and just to actually get more work done before the crowd of kids came. So it was just more peaceful for me to just get there and then just go straight into class where if you were to get there right before school started so much traffic and just different things could occur. So that's why I like to get there early.
Heidi Higgins: I like that. Did you have a bus? Did you drive, did your parent drive? How did you get to school?
Daysha Ross: Actually, I did take the bus in actually elementary and then my sister, mom, dad, and started driving me when I got older.
Heidi Higgins: I admire you for going in early and getting some of that work done. Can you describe then what a day looks like for you in an online school?
Daysha Ross: So I would wake up probably between 7:00, 7:30. Sometimes I had classes that start at 8:00, and sometimes I had classes that would actually start at 8:00. It could range from about 8:00 to 2:00 PM of classes. And between that actually I had an hour break for lunch, which was really nice because in brick-and-mortar, I only had 30 minutes for lunch, which I hated that because you'd get in there and it'd be like, "Oh, we're done." So I really enjoyed that with online school and just getting to actually cook my food at home for breakfast and lunch was very nice because I like to cook my own food.
And during that time we would have live classes and some classes would be shorter or a little bit longer than others, but mostly they ranged from just 40 minutes, which was a little bit shorter of what I was used to, but it allowed me to actually increase my study time for myself without the day being over with. So I'd do a lot of studying afterwards and during class. And it was just so much easier to get individual help from my teachers. Then after school was done, I would have other things like sports practice, church activities, and just things that I like to do personally without being so stressed out. So that was super nice.
Heidi Higgins: You mentioned you were involved in sports. What was your affiliation, was it through the school, was it a community team? How did you get involved in sports?
Daysha Ross: There's all different types of leagues that are outside of school. And actually, I was in AU, so which is a travel basketball team. So I did that. That was cool. And just anything leagues and stuff. There's a lot of different things that you can do without having to go through your school.
Heidi Higgins: Thank you. That sounds like a great thing. And that sounds like it was a good social opportunity for you also.
Daysha Ross: Yes. Correct.
Heidi Higgins: What were the benefits you discovered from your online education?
Daysha Ross: I could go on and on about this, but specifically with Stride K12, if you even just go on stridelearning.com, there's so many different resources on there, like internship portals you'll hear about success coaches and stuff like that. And just things to prepare you in school, as well as your time out of high school and into college and becoming an adult. So that was really cool to me. And also during my time and currently still while being an alumni I have a success coach and he's been super helpful to me. And also during school, I was enrolled in the healthcare pathway, which was really nice because I'm going in for exercise science for college to get a head start in that direction was really cool. Also, you can get certifications during your time and enter opportunities. A really big thing for me is not getting sick since I'm at home. And I get sick a lot actually during school in brick-and-mortar because you're just around so many people constantly. So I haven't gotten sick for four years, so that's pretty ...
Heidi Higgins: Wow. That really is impressive. I love that you mentioned that while you were in high school you had a success coach and you still have a success coach that's following you about one year out.
Daysha Ross: Yeah, one year out.
Heidi Higgins: One year out. This is so impressive, Daysha. My understanding is that students may have access to their success coaches into college and even into their careers.
Daysha Ross: Being able to have him around out of school is super helpful for me.
Heidi Higgins: I love that. So being at an online school, you've mentioned some great things that happen to you. Now I know that there's some challenges too. Let's talk the reality as well. What were the challenges that you faced?
Daysha Ross: I'll tell you about a specific challenge that I can attest for pretty much, I think everybody on online school is distractions. Because you're at home, you're around everything, your phone, just everything in reach. But I overcame that. I was already a good listener and focused on school, but it was good that I faced this challenge because it's helped me in my work. And I overcame that with the help of teachers and just being encouraged to just focus your time on school. You have time after that for whatever you want to do. And so I just learned how to prioritize my work and just keep focus on that.
Heidi Higgins: Very good. I like that answer. And you overcame those potential pitfalls that the distractions can be real because it's home uncomfortable. And just as we find that in work as well, there are distractions and one learns to become focused. Were you able to develop relationships with the people you worked with and the teachers you have and if so, what was that like?
Daysha Ross: Yes, for sure. And my teachers, all of them were super excited and just very upbeat. And I wasn't quite used to that, which was very nice because that's what I want, a teacher to teach me, them being happy to teach you. And so they were just all very kind, but this one specific story, I had this teacher twice and I looked in the mail one day and I actually got a card from her, and it was actually a happy birthday card and I've never had a teacher do that. And so she actually sends out birthday cards when people have their birthday, so that was super special to me.
Heidi Higgins: An online teacher taking the time to recognize her student on a special day. Very nice. I like that a lot. Where did your support system come from?
Daysha Ross: Definitely my family. So my sister and my mom and dad are super supportive of me and are here to just uplift me and just guide me and just help me through life. And without them, I wouldn't be here either, where I am today or the person that I am today. So I have to give a lot of credit to my family for being a very big support of what I'm doing in my future and just loving me. And my family is my rock.
Heidi Higgins: Everyone asks about socialization. We've touched on it just a little bit in our conversation here. What did you do to be with others while you were schooling online at home?
Daysha Ross: So I was in sports of course and youth groups during church. And just things like at your library, there's activities that take place at local libraries. So that's a good place to check out, to hang around people your age, and just have fun. And also on Facebook and Instagram people locally advertise different events, so it's a great opportunity to connect with kids your age. During school, we had monthly things like outings and it was also online too, if you couldn't make something. So every month I'd get to see classmates. I had the opportunity to do that and just connect with them without the involvement of schoolwork, so that was pretty special. And one time actually in my astronomy class, my teacher was like, "Hey, why don't we go set up a trip to the Michigan State University Planetarium?" And so they did that.
Heidi Higgins: I'm glad that the school provided opportunities for you to blend socially and get to know your fellow students. Now, you are a graduate. Tell me what graduation was like. And was it all the expectations that you had and what you were hoping for?
Daysha Ross: I was able to graduate at Michigan State University. So we went up there to have the ceremony, which was amazing. And so I met my teachers and classmates in person, again, which was cool and it was very, very organized. The venue was nice. Everybody was super nice and it was better than I expected. And it was just very encouraging and just happy to gather with everybody from my class. There about over 145 students that graduated, so it was just very great.
Heidi Higgins: Yeah. A lot of people ask about graduations and if they're real. They're big deals and the schools treat them that way. And I'm glad that you felt that way as well. But tell me what your internship experience has been like.
Daysha Ross: Yeah. So my first one I helped in the career prep team in marketing. And so during that time I did a lot of public speaking and different webinars that we did. I spoke to a lot of kids and just anybody about internships and just giving them tips on college and things like that in high school. So that's what I did. And I gave a lot of feedback, being a high schooler, I was able to tell them my experience, what I think would be best just by being in high schooler and having that knowledge and actually being there as a high schooler instead of an adult perspective.
And I did a lot of content creation, which is something that I'm very good with. And also with my internship now, I work in social media. So I continue to do a ot of content creation, something cool that I'm going to start working on is campaign. So putting that together with some help is something I've never done before, so I'm super excited for that. Learning analytics and things like that, all things social media is super cool to learn the social world and the digital world because that is ultimately the future.
Heidi Higgins: Now, how did you get these internships? Did you have to apply? How did you hear about them? What was that process?
Daysha Ross: Yeah, so it all started with my success coach. Working with him, he was like, "Hey, we have this opportunity. I think you would be pretty good for it. You should apply." So with the help with him, I successfully applied and was able to land that internship, so that's how that one came aboard. And then the one I'm currently in right now, I did some influencer work with Stride. And so I knew the manager that would, later on, interview me and she's like, "Hey, we have this job. I think you'd be good for it. You should apply." And so I did and I already knew people in the team and stuff and they already know my face, so I just wowed them in the interview. And I'm here today.
Heidi Higgins: Well, you not only wowed them in the interview, but your work spoke for itself. And the fact that you had an internship in high school was pretty neat. But now that you've got one out of high school, you've got to step up to your new career. And what do you plan on that career being, Daysha?
Daysha Ross: Yeah, so it may be surprising to everybody, but I'm going to be going into healthcare. And so the reason why I'm going to exercise science is because in the future I want to become a chiropractor. But what's really cool about these two internships, even though you may think, oh, they have nothing to do with that, is that social media is the world now. So it's going to help me with social media advertisements and stuff like that to just let people know, oh, she's a chiropractor in the digital world instead of just word of mouth and everything. So everything that I've been learning, I know I'm going to be able to put forward.
Heidi Higgins: You certainly will. And you have developed a lot of hard and soft skills in association with these internships. Can you tell us what hard and soft skills are and what we can use to take them forward, or how we can take them forward?
Daysha Ross: Yeah. So soft skills are personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people. And some soft skills, for example, for me, I'm able to adapt in situations, and also I have a very creative mind. So that helps me interact with the team and just make things more efficiently. And hard skills are learned abilities acquired and enhanced through practice repetition and education. So things that I'm continuing to learn is strategic thinking and writing and developing those abilities.
Heidi Higgins: And those kinds of skills, Daysha will take you in whatever profession. Let's talk about, what are some recommendations you have for other students applying for internships and working with that success coach?
Daysha Ross: Oh yes. Definitely. Definitely get a success coach. It's been a life changer for me. That's why I'm here, because of my success coach and just taking advantage of all the tools and resources that Stride actually offers their students and just anyone in general can benefit from the things that I've learned and just the things that they provide. And some words of encouragement for everybody and students is to work hard and work smart, put your best effort and leave no regrets and just ultimately just do your best and know that your future depends on what you do now.
Heidi Higgins: Thank you for listening to K12 On Learning, sponsored by Stride. To learn more about online public schools, powered by Stride K12, Stride career prep programs that foster lifelong learning, or any of the private school or individual course offerings, please go to stridelearning.com, or k12.com. Special thanks to TK Studios for providing the music for us. Remember to subscribe to this podcast. And feel free to leave us a good review. We hope you'll join us next time for K12 On Learning.
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