“Online courses allowed me to experience high school and enroll in rigorous coursework while still taking care of myself and allowing me to follow my dreams. To me this is a life lesson that was learned early and will carry me far into my future.”
– Hannah Quarnstrom
When I was a freshman in high school, my entire life changed. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. Having Crohn’s makes school and life difficult at times. I often have doctor appointments and needed more time to sleep than a regular teenager. I heard many stories of other students with Crohn’s just giving up on school, and I knew this journey through high school would be much more difficult for me than the average high school student.
But then I found my solution. I enrolled in online courses at a local charter school that focused on customized education, empowering me take courses at my own pace. At times, I would sit with my computer on my lap and an IV in my arm living two lives — one of education, the other of treatment. Online schooling allowed me to live the way Crohn’s forced me to while still pursuing my dreams.
In my junior year, I discovered that a local university offered free online college courses to academically prepared high school students in their last two years of high school. Being ambitious, I took most of my courses this way as an upperclassmen. I enrolled in amazing course offerings. Because of my prior blended learning experience, I was extremely successful and through this program I have earned numerous college credits without stepping foot on a college campus.
Through my online courses I have learned not only the content taught, but other valuable skills such as time management and self-advocacy skills. I have learned that I am the determining factor in my education and what I get out of it, not the instructor or other peers in my classes. Not only have I been able to learn more in my classes, but also I have been able to do my work when it fit with my schedule around my Crohn’s disease.