Student Story

Raegan Kihm

Bentonville, AR
B.A. in English

Raegan Kihm Holyfield

“With it being 2023, I think the future is going to be technology. Being online, it helps you to kind of investigate those skills a little bit better. I know a lot of people are looking at working from home and I think doing school online can kind of prep you to work online.”

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Thriving in the New Normal of Online Learning

The fall of 2020 saw the start of a new academic year unlike any other in recent history. The COVID-19 pandemic forced institutions to reimagine their traditional learning environments, and thousands of students began the first year of their college career learning through remote instruction.

For Rae Kihm, this shift to digital instruction and self-paced coursework was a perfect fit, allowing them to thrive in this unique educational environment.

Kihm is the very first recipient of the W.E. Manning Memorial Scholarship from the University of Arkansas to pursue a degree in English. The Manning Scholarship is awarded by the Global Campus to students who are studying in online degree programs.

With a major in rhetorical writing and a minor in journalism, they have their sights set on a career in the world of news editorials and publishing. Kihm dreams of eventually seeing their own work published and has several ideas in the works. Kihm had some advice to share, for those following in their footsteps.

“Be ready to write!” they said.  “You are going to have a lot more writing projects... I also recommend Monday if you can go through all of your classes, see everything that you have to do for the week and then just make a game plan about what’s going to be easy, what’s going to be hard, and knock the hard things out first. It also helps you to kind of mentally prepare, because it’s going to vary every week depending on your assignments.”

Kihm initially enrolled in the on-campus version of the English bachelor’s degree, which was interrupted by the pandemic and the need to switch to remote instruction. Remembering their remote learning experience, when Kihm found out their English degree was available online through the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, they at once approached their adviser to make the switch.

Online learning has proven to be the perfect solution for their needs. It has allowed them to balance a new marriage, remain a full-time student, and still work a full-time job to support themselves financially. In fact, they have found that many area employers are openly appreciative of their online student status, because they can easily adjust their weekly schedule as needed.

“It’s been a pleasant surprise when I tell them I’m in college, and then I hand them my availability and it’s just open full time,” Kihm said. “They’re like, ‘I thought you were in college,’ and I say yeah, but it’s online, and they just love it.”