A day in the life of an OL student and Instructor

My name is Mike Wilkin. I am a senior in the Tabor School of Business, majoring in Organizational Leadership.

I interviewed a fellow Organizational Leadership student as well as an instructor in the Organizational Leadership program, asking about a typical day in the life of each of them. The fellow student and I have a very similar set up. The instructor is very careful with her day, allowing herself to be more available to the students.

The first person I interviewed is a fellow Flex Learning Program student, names Ashley Galloway. Ashley and I are friends outside of school and play co-ed softball together. Ashley begins her weekdays around 0600, works anywhere from 10-12 hours each day and is on call 24 hours per day and 7 days per week as a Safety Specialist for a facility with 600+ colleagues. She can guarantee a minimum of 5 hours each weekend, but has some weekends that have added an additional 24 hours to the week.

When Ashley gets home, she sits down for about 2-4 hours each night to work on homework. This semester, she is registered for 18 credit hours, so each minute counts. She has 1 class that meets on Zoom on Thursday nights from 1800-2000, but usually gets out a little early.

Ashley has a 15 year old son at home who lives with Autism. He reads at approximately a 3rd grade level, so the challenges and frustration of the remote learning has been at times almost too much. She helps him with his 10th grade homework, which can be difficult while doing her own homework. The weekends have some time built in to get him caught up on his homework.

Along with her own son, her girlfriend has 3 kids as well. One of them goes to St. Theresa, so she has been face to face all year, thankfully. Ashley helps carpool these kids to and from their extra-curricular activities and assisting with 2 of them obtaining their driving permits, which will require additional time.

The remaining time on Sundays are spent finishing her homework for the week and meal prepping for the upcoming work week.

The advice Ashley gives for anyone coming in to the Organizational Leadership program is to “stay structured”. Being a part of the adult Flex Learning Program, she has had to remain disciplined as to not get overwhelmed. She treats the program as part of her daily schedule, meaning she sets aside time each day for her schooling.

She also recommends keeping close track of your graduation requirements. She has had some added stress due to requirement changes over the last year.

She has one final word of advice, “if you start to feel overwhelmed, tell yourself that it is temporary”. Instead of thinking in terms of a semester, “I looked at it in 8 week segments”. She looks at the short term deadlines to help stay focused for a little longer. “It will be over before you know it”.

I then interviewed Melinda Rueter, Adjunct Faculty in the Communications Department. She was my instructor for Organization Communication and Conflict, or OL 343.

Melinda states that every instructor breaks down the time commitments required for in class and out of class work. “This is where structure is important”, she says. Creating that balance between in and out of class can be challenging. She thinks there is an added stress and lack of balance due to the pandemic. In this major, many of the assignments are papers. Those take a “significant amount of time to grade”. Since all of the papers are electronic, there is an added stress on the eyes of the instructor while reading and grading them.

The best advice that Melinda offers is “to find a structure that works, a way to focus”. Have a good support system with both family and classmates. Melinda sys that this major lends itself to collaboration and supporting each other. She says that it is important to find that balance with the family and that everyone should be on the same page in order for things to properly balance.

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