Grammar. Punctuation. Spelling.
Squat. Bench. Deadlift.
Danielle Humphreys hopes to someday teach the finer points of all of the above as a high school English teacher and powerlifting coach. The Pineville, Louisiana, native will move one step closer toward that objective when she graduates from LSUA's Bachelor of Arts in English online program in Summer 2018.
"It's something I could see myself doing and loving," Humphreys said. "I powerlifted in high school and started powerlifting in college, but was injured. I would love to teach and coach. I've always been sharpest in English since I started school."
Humphreys went straight to LSU in Baton Rouge from high school. After three years, she came back to the Alexandria area, got married and returned to higher education within the same university system, which allowed her to transfer all of her credits.
"I liked LSU itself, but I hated living in the city," she said. "I wanted to come home. Once I did, I definitely wanted to finish my degree. It has been nice to have the luxury to live in the town where I grew up and still have an LSU degree at the end of it."
When she left for "Red Stick," her career path was still up in the air.
"When I got to college, I thought I would do what would be fun," Humphreys said. "I ventured into a lot of different majors that did me no favors."
However, Humphreys took a course one summer that emphasized the idea of playing to her biggest strength, which was clearly English.
"I thought, 'That makes a lot of sense. Maybe I should go back to the basics of what I'm good at,'" she said. "I struggled so badly at college, and I didn't understand why. I said, 'What is wrong with me? Am I not smart?' Once I went back to the things that came naturally to me, I had good grades and have done well ever since."
Another benefit of the online format at LSUA is the individual attention from the instructors.
"It's something I have enjoyed," she said. "It's a smaller college that is less populated, and I feel like I have a much better one-on-one relationship with my professors. At a bigger college, you don't really get the opportunity to have that because there are so many other people. I have had classes where I walked into an auditorium that seated 1,000. The teacher had no idea who I was. Every professor I've had at LSUA knows me personally."
Humphreys said the course she enjoyed most so far is ENGL 2027: Poetry, taught by Dr. Ginger Jones.
"I love poetry," Humphreys said. "Dr. Jones is my adviser, as well, but she is a professor I've had many times who is very good at what she does. You can tell it means a lot to her to have a connection with the students and to make sure everybody gets it. It really does make a big difference."
Since the majority of the courses Humphreys took at LSU were in general education, she has focused primarily on English courses at LSUA. So, she has had the same professors in several courses.
"It's a benefit to take them once because you know how they work and what they expect if you take them again," she said. "It's been nice to have almost exclusively English classes. I was glad to have three years of getting the basics out of the way."
Home, Sweet Home
Although Humphreys is a full-time student who lives near the LSUA campus, she likes the convenience the online format provides.
"My husband [Charles] works out of town on a boat," she said. "Luckily for me, he said, 'Just go to school for now.' It's really convenient, because I like to be there when he is home since those times are few and far between."
That flexibility was especially important when she was stuck in a snowstorm on the way home from a Florida trip in early 2018.
"It was scary and delayed our trip," Humphreys said. "I was freaking out. But, I said, 'All I have to do is find somewhere with Wi-Fi, and I can do what I need to do.' That was a huge thing. As soon as I was able to do that, I finished my assignments for the first week. It's a big benefit to not have to drive to a campus every day."
Humphreys, who is also a makeup artist and photographer who works weddings and other events in her free time, looks forward to graduation day.
"I'm kind of sad because I was so close to being able to finish at the end of the semester in May and walking then," she said. "Instead, I'll finish in the summer and walk in December. My friends and family were very supportive. They are very happy for me."
Speaking of family, she has three sisters, one of whom will graduate from LSU with a master's degree in social work around the same time Humphreys completes the BA in English online program.
"We all figured something out for a career," Humphreys said. "My dad always wanted a boy. He got a dog instead."
Even though her path to a bachelor's degree was a little bit different, Humphreys knows she made the right decision to finish the degree with a home-field advantage.
"Some people worry and say, 'I don't want to go to a local college -- I want to go away,'" she said. "Sometimes, you only feel that way because you have never experienced anything else. If you need to travel for a summer or a month or two before you settle down and go to college, just do it.
"Don't waste two or three years of your life somewhere you don't want to be in. You can get the same type of education at home without having to travel and leave everything you know and love behind. That's the benefit of online. You can do all of your traveling and experiencing things while you're taking classes and not being anchored down in a place you don't want to be. That's why I love it."Learn more about the LSUA online BA in English program.
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