Article: Kellie Mounger: ‘There is just something different about real interaction with others while learning…’
Note: This article originally appeared in the Summer 2020 edition of 1894: The Alumni Magazine.
Wrapping up final projects and taking online exams from her kitchen table or bedroom office is not how Kellie Mounger envisioned her last quarter as an undergraduate. The senior marketing major from Lakeland admits she was anxious when she first heard the news that Louisiana Tech would be transitioning courses to an online format in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“But then I realized I was prepared to do this and felt confident in my ability to conquer these classes,” said Mounger, who is also taking MBA courses through the concurrent enrollment program.
“I was upset because this is my last quarter in my undergraduate degree and there are so many fun and beneficial events in the spring quarter that could no longer happen,” she said. “It made me upset that these things were being taken away from us, but I understood the necessity of doing so.”
Mounger decided to use this time away from campus to job search, bolster her resume, and enjoy the free time typically absent from a college student’s schedule. She also continued her work as an intern in the College of Business’ Office of Student Services, a role that has allowed her to impact fellow students in new and innovative ways.
“Throughout this time of quarantine, I have made myself available for virtual office hours where students can Zoom with me and ask any questions they may have,” Mounger said. “We have worked to ensure that advising, online events, and other services the Office of Student Services provides are efficient, beneficial, and add value to each student. I have also been active on the College’s social media and provided weekly tips for student success to keep my fellow students motivated and engaged.”
Through these online videos, Mounger routinely shares solutions to challenges she has faced during this time of transition. She was able to use many of the tools and skills learned in the classroom or from workshops the College regularly put on before the State’s stay-at-home order.
“The biggest challenge for me is staying motivated to keep a routine,” she said. “A routine is the best thing to be in during these times in order to stay on top of your tasks, but it is so easy to get out of one. I attended a time management workshop earlier in the year, and this event really instilled many techniques that I use to help stay on track today.”
She also felt prepared to adapt quickly to all of these changes, thanks to her four years in the College of Business.
“The COB prepared me in more ways than I ever would have thought,” Mounger said. “We have always been encouraged to use technology, mainly to prepare ourselves for the business world. Little did we know we were going to be able to truly practice these skills before going out into the real world. This has made the transition to online learning much easier.”
Mounger also recognizes that technology allowed her classes — many of which require collaboration with other students — to run smoothly, despite the physical distance.
“My MBA leadership course is a roundtable discussion where we talk about leadership theories and experiences,” she said. “This is obviously more difficult to do when we cannot meet in person, but we have weekly Zoom meetings where we are able to discuss and share ideas. Although it is not the ideal situation, this class has been able to run extremely smoothly.”
While technology has bridged the distance gap for students and faculty, there will be nothing like being back on campus when the time comes. After graduating this spring, Mounger will continue her MBA studies at Tech and looks forward to her return to Ruston. “I am most excited about having COB events again,” she said. “These events provide so much extra value for students. I cannot wait to see my friends, classmates, and professors — there is just something different about real interaction with others while learning.”