This month NFCA is having a gluten free college bloggers month with guest posts from 8 bloggers, 2 going live each week. I was honored to be a part of the 8, and my post went live last week. I shared the reasons for why I am an online student, and the story leading up to that decision. Mainly, it had to do with the cafeteria being unable to really handle food allergies, and the Student Development Office’s unwillingness to even let me try to prepare all my meals myself. But you can read the whole post here.
I noticed some people commented on the NFCA facebook page about how even though it was great that I was able to take classes online and even get a full degree online, that I was missing out on a very important aspect of being in college: the “college experience”. This consists of making friends, going to classes, and having a social life there and pretty much everything that goes along with being on-campus. I know that this isn’t usually what I talk about on this blog here, but I’m going to share some of the things that have happened in the last year and half for which I have been especially appreciative that God put me in an online program at just that moment.
A lot of people thing that the college experience is one of the most important things to being in college. I beg to differ. For some people it might, but not for everyone. And, I did get my full first year of college as an on-campus student and got to experience campus life. It was great, for the most part. And I’m thankful for my time there as I met 2 of my best friends I currently know there. However, that first semester I did online, was a semester I didn’t know was going to be my last semester that I got to see and hang out with my very best friend whom I had known for over 16 years in my neighborhood at home. Just after finals week, she had a major brain bleed, and was unconscious in the neuro ICU for a month, and after another bleed leaving her brain dead, her family chose to take her off of life support.
If I had been on campus that semester, I wouldn’t have gotten the chances to hang out with her several times that semester and even drop by her house just for a much needed hug. IMs would have been much less frequent and I wouldn’t have gotten to go to the hospital to see her that very first day after she had emergency surgery in the middle of the night because the campus’ semester ended a week later.
Also, if I was an on-campus student, I wouldn’t have even 1/2 as much time for baking. Campus life is very different, and free time…. is even harder to find than it is as an online student. And for me, baking is a stress reliever.
But, for those of you still worried that I’m missing out on something super important to college, I do go to a different school in the summer where I’m on-campus for 9 weeks. However, with that said, I’m extremely thankful that it’s only for 9 weeks. Because in addition to not being able to eat gluten, I’m also deathly allergic to milk and peanuts, being on-campus is a much harder thing for me now… and 9 weeks is about all I can handle. After I get home, I’m more than happy that I don’t have to spend 9 MONTHS of the year dealing with a college cafeteria. Though UND does a fabulous job of feeding me safely in the summer, it is always a relief for me that I’m not there for 9 months every year. I could probably do it, but it would result in a lot more stress and possibly several reactions each semester. Mistakes do happen (and did happen this summer), and we’re talking about my life here. Just one wrong bite, and I could lose my life. If it was just gluten, I might handle it a whole lot better. But that’s not how things are, so I deal with them as they are…
One day at a time.
Oh, and while you’re reading my guest post, go and check out the other posts from the other bloggers as well!