We just wrapped up our second inaugural scholarship and are excited to announce the winners!
We had over 200 applicants from colleges and universities across the country who answered the question, “How has the internet impacted your education?” Three winners were chosen to receive a $1,500 scholarship to be used towards their education expenses.
Our business relies on the internet, and we understand how impactful it can be. We wanted to provide a platform for students to share their experiences on how the internet has influenced their education.
The following winning essays were chosen by HostGator staff based on the quality, originality and creativity of their answers.
Katie Holmlund, Morningside College
The internet; one can’t escape it anymore. There are those who view it as a corruption and there are those who view it as a godsend. I, for one, am one of those who consider the internet a saving grace. Without it, I wouldn’t be able to go back to school. The internet has given me the ability to be who I really want to be and not be stigmatized by judgmental teachers who are only in the classroom to gain a paycheck; I have had this happen at my previous university.
In the traditional classroom, college level, I suffered tremendously. The constant lectures would lull me to sleep. I wasn’t able to absorb any of the material presented. Needless to say, I did not do very well in my courses. I passed, but barely. There was so much pressure to be on time to class, to sit still, and pay attention to the monotone professor speaking about complex equations that Einstein would only understand. And the note taking was insane! I received carpal tunnel from having to write down everything that the teacher put on the board. No note sheets were handed out. The notes were pointless anyway since it was all done in my sloppy handwriting that I couldn’t read to save my life.
With the internet, learning comes easier. The material is still in text form and most classes require textbooks. But, note taking isn’t required. The teachers present material in PDF format or attachments that can be read over and over again and are legible, unlike my repulsive handwriting. Another great thing about online education, the grades are reported much faster and feedback is constant.
The assignments, I found, are more challenging than any traditional classroom test. The assignments also allow me to demonstrate my knowledge using various platforms. I’m not doing strictly paper and pencil tests. The internet allows me to use PowerPoint, videos, Prezi, and other methods that can deliver my full potential. With these assignments, since they require a lot of work, we get extended work time. In my previous college experience, we would be assigned an eight page paper and it would be due in two days. With the internet, since information can move a lot faster, that eight page paper would be due in five to six days. There is less of a time constraint using internet education.
The internet has also the amazing bonus of flexibility. Being a single mom, flexibility is a must when it comes to education. Internet, or online education, allows me, and other students, to complete courses at our own pace and on our own time. This, in a traditional setting, would never happen.
The internet has revolutionized education. It has made it a lot easier for anyone to advance themselves and provides a lot of opportunities for those wanting to make that advance. Without the internet, I would not be able to go back to school to gain my Master’s degree and provide a better life for my son.
David Ledo, Clear Creek Baptist Bible College
The word “impact” does not give justice to the mark that the internet left on my education. The internet has dramatically changed my life. I was born in 1989 to Vietnamese immigrants who knew nothing about technology. Two years later the internet also came into the world. I was not able to see the internet at its infant stages because I myself was an infant. However, I was alive and fortunate enough to see the internet become commercialized and accessible to everyone. My parents were refugees from the Vietnam War so they could not afford the internet or even a computer when they were starting to get popular. However when I enrolled in public school, I was able to use a computer for the first time in the library. That is the first time in my life where I connected to the entire world. That moment would forever shape the course of my life. The internet changed my landscape, gave me access to infinitely valuable resources, and fueled my imagination for the rest of my life.
The first time the internet shaped my education was when I was in kindergarten. I was having a hard time adjusting to school because I did not know the language. My parents barely spoke any language when they first came to America. They had full citizenship but they struggled to learn a second language at their age due to the lack of resources. However, I was more fortunate since my school started their first “ESOL” program. The English teachers were able to teach me English for the first time simply by emailing people for hand typed resources. Things like Google Translate did not exist back then. Thanks to the internet, I went from a kid of an immigrant who spoke no English to being one of the brightest students in the school. As soon as I was able to grasp English, I was able to understand complex concepts and ideas that made school actually enjoyable for me. For the first time in my life, I could understand the other kids. This event may seem small and insignificant but it opened a very large door for me that I could not open on my own without the help of the internet.
The second time the internet surged my education was when I was a bit older. I was around seventeen when this happened. By this time, there was a large increase in the amount of typing, programming, and computer science. I took a typing class and after one year, I was typing at around ninety words per minute. During this period, I found out my dad had lung cancer. I was the oldest so it fell on me to be the man out of the family and go to these doctor appointments with my dad because my mom did not understand much English. Within three months my dad died. My mom could not make ends meet on her own so I quit school to take up two jobs to help pay for bills so that my two younger siblings could have an education and future. The irony is that I had one of the highest graduation test scores before I dropped out. I was convinced I could not do anything else in my life until someone recommended to me that I get my GED. I did not have any books or the means to buy them. My entire paycheck was going to my mom to help us survive. That is when an old school guidance counselor told me to check out the internet. She told me that there a vast number of test prep and academic self-study tools online. I went to my local library and checked out the website links that she sent me and within a month, I had my GED. I was overwhelmed after that honestly. I never thought that I would be able to go to college. I realized if this was on the internet, what else would there be. The next thing I know I was applying for college through the internet. This is extremely cliché and kind of embarrassing to say but I have to say it. The internet gave me hope. It gave me a future.
Older generations do not realize the impact of the internet. They feel like technology is making people distant and is the cause of social decay. The reality of that situation is not true. A creation is not responsible for its creator’s faults. If you read the classic English novel of Frankenstein, you would realize the dilemma and principle that it presents. The internet allowed me to learn English. The internet gave me a second chance at education. The internet connected everyone on the planet on one virtual common ground. You can reach anyone with the stroke of a keyboard through email. We are not only able to spread our ideas and opinions across the planet, but even students who have a failing immune system who could never be in a classroom is able to have perfect attendance through a webcam. The internet did not impact my education but instead saved it.
Richard Wu, University of Chicago
It’s hard to overstate the internet’s prevalence in education. The sharp tap-tap-tap of keys replace what was once the scratching of pens on paper in my university’s musty, old lecture halls. Notes are now passed around in the cloud on a Google Doc shared with ten other classmates. The professor stops mid-lecture to play a Youtube video. Come finals, I hit the books. At least, online textbooks, which are open alongside Quizlet, CourseHero, and Facebook, where my study group anxiously exchanges practice problem answers. The courses aren’t easy, but studying sure is. I can click from Youtube video to video before I find the perfect tutor (thanks, Khan Academy) and review lecture notes stored on Dropbox.
But for my grandparents in Inner Mongolia, education growing up was inconceivably inaccessible. My grandpa, or yeye, had to join the military to receive a free education. Every morning in military school, the chalkboard was erased. Without an iPhone to take photos of lecture notes, yeye covertly carried the clunky chalkboard from classroom to quarters for additional study time. That’s how he learned how to write.
In the States, to realize my passion for social businesses, I applied to HBX CORe, an online business certification. Students from nearly 40 different countries logged in at our convenience, easily looking back on coursework days after lecture.
My nainai, or grandma, picked flowers under an open window of the elementary school she couldn’t afford to attend. By ear, she memorized the poems being recited in an unsuspecting classroom. When class dismissed, nainai accosted strangers to briefly lend her their books to match the phonetics with written characters. That’s how she learned how to read.
In sharp contrast, I learned my first Spanish words with Duolingo, the gamified language app. With beginner spanish under my belt, I was able to pursue my interests in NGO consulting hands-on, booking a flight on Expedia and living in Peru through AirBnB. I had Google Translate to buoy my speaking abilities and digital Lonely Planet guides to direct me through historical sites. I still chat with friends made there on Whatsapp, where we exchange bits of both English and Espanol.
The tools and resources available in the cloud have bridged access and brought ease to the previously unimaginable. My interest in NGO consulting wasn’t bound by case studies. With powerful language-learning apps, I could actually go to Peru and work alongside an NGO. To realized my passion for social entrepreneurship, I didn’t wait to earn a MBA. Rather, I could access a wealth of business courses anytime, anywhere.
With internet access, there are no longer barriers to knowledge. Chalkboard notes can be revisited at the tap of a finger; poems overheard can be stored in an audio clip. The tenacious desire for education of my yeye and nainai compel me to never take my education and what I can make of it for granted. I will continue to grow and learn: to do right by them and to do right by me.