How to Complete You Online Degree: Hacking Your Inner Monsters

By Joe Gacheru

Everyone has seen movies like Frankenstein, Dracula, King Kong, Godzilla, or the Mummy. Monsters in these movies have become instantly recognizable and are part of our (pop) culture. But have you ever been thinking about the monsters inside yourself? Those creatures stopping you from achieving what otherwise would be possible?

Monsters inside ourselves

I believe that we all have the drive and ability to do better in our lives. Yes, I am sure, once in a while, we all feel that we want to move to higher realms of education, to get better jobs, to really become what we dreamt of becoming when we were young. But there are monsters inside ourselves that make us forget our dreams and goals in life. They try to convince us that it is impossible, that we cannot do it. They suck our very desire to excel. These are the same monsters that haunt us when we think about doing online education.

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How to overcome your monsters

Here are five ways we can tell our monsters “no more sucking my dreams”, freeing us to achieve new highs in our lives not only when it comes to distance education.

1. Become aware that there is more power in you

Did you ever face a giant struggle or a decision with a lot of drama around it? How did you react? Some of us feel pity for ourselves and whisper “I am not strong enough to achieve this.” “I will never be able to succeed in this course.” Self-Pity is a weak, quiet, and sneaky little monster. She comes in the night and hits when you’re down and least expecting it. 

When you allow this monster of self-pity in, it weakens and dis-empowers you. I know that when I get down, sad, and feel sorry for myself, ultimately what I do is to stop the flow of positive thinking, and good energy. As a result, you might fear that other students and instructors will laugh about you, or that your future employers will not respect your diploma or certificate.

So what can you do about it? Always remember: this kind of self-doubt is only a monster! Here in Canada, I have met with many professionals who have completed their nursing graduate programs through distance education. And: I have not seen nor heard any of them stating that they are treated differently or worse than those who have gone through the traditional system! So simply tell your monster of self-doubt: “Let me go, I know I can do it.” Build that power to overcome the struggle and leap up to your dream.

2. People of the same mind flock together

Negative Self-Talk is a monster that is pretty much like a constant nagging little ugly fly that sits on your shoulder. You have to keep swatting it away each time it comes up. He tells you that you “cannot do that”, “are not good at that” or “are not the kind of person to ever complete school”.

I come from a very poor village in Kenya. I have struggled a lot to make it in life. What has given me in my life power again and again is reading stories of other people. People with similar backgrounds like mine who still made it! And I want to encourage you to do the same and build a similar worldview: read about success stories of others – when it comes to distance education and beyond - and tell yourself that if they made it you too can make! Flock with them and fly. You can do it too. Lots of people have achieved the goals that you’re working towards. Many of those people will have started off in a worse position than you are in and they still succeeded … and so can you!

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3. Reclaim your dream

“Monsters” in us want us to forget we have dreams and goals in life. But we cannot allow them to take over our lives anymore! We need to believe in ourselves! Believe that we can complete an MBA, a MPH, or Nursing degrees - online or on campus. I was very much surprised while visiting Kenya in June 2012 to find out that almost 80% of financial transaction in Kenya happen via mobile phone: you can pay your taxi, vegetable merchant etc by mobile phone. If use of technology is such widespread in Kenya, what excuse would someone in Europe, North America or Asia have not to take advantage of technology to improve one's education and thus life? None! If Kenyan can use their technology to move the economy, so can you: Engage, learn and build yourself a better life.

4. Name your monster

Get a clear definition of the problem by making your monster specific. If the reasons why you do not want to get engaged in an online school is money, name it - and start to investigate how you can overcome it. One of the problems with a monster is that it oozes into an all-encompassing creature that lurks in all corners of our lives. That is why we need to define what the creature and understand how it can affect you. 

Simply do what St. Columba did with the Loch Ness Monster. Instead of hiding from the denizen, he rowed right out into its territory and dealt with it directly. Once Columba faced the monster, he took control of it. Use your fear to motivate you into a problem-solving mode rather than a fear-filled incarceration. You can overcome fear by dealing directly with your monsters, you gain strength from confronting them: and you suddenly get a feeling for what is possible for you – regarding distance education and beyond!

The choice is yours

Today you have a choice: will you allow your mind monsters to take residence, affecting who you are and how your (educational) future looks like – or will you confront and conquer them. It's up to you – the only thing I can tell you this decision will greatly impact the future of your life.

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I have faced similar monsters before and I know they are not always easy to confront. But once you face them, you will never feel so great! Walk up to your fears, look them right into the eyes and say: I am NOT AFRAID OF YOU and I will NOT ALLOW YOU to rule over me anymore!


Yes, I will complete my distance education!

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