“Keep learning. Keep exploring.” An online student shares his story.

We recently chatted with Donnie O., a student in CSU’s online economics undergraduate program

Donnie works full time in Japan as a structural engineer for the US government. Studying online gives him the flexibility to continue working overseas while pursuing an accredited, four-year degree.

Here’s what he had to say:

What attracted you to this program?

“Initially, my decision was guided by the fact that it was a cost-effective online economics program that offered a development economics course. I work full time in Japan as an engineer, which is why I searched for an online program.”

What are your career goals and plans after you graduate?

“I intend to apply to an international economics graduate program here in Japan at either Tokyo University or Kyoto University. My hope is to eventually pursue a Ph.D. in economics and someday become a professor. I’m extremely interested in development economics, and I hope to one day contribute to the advancement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”

What has been your favorite part of studying online with CSU?

“Studying online compared to in person creates various challenges. But these challenges helped me improve important skills. I developed disciplined study habits, reached out to connect with others more, and cultivated self-initiative to engage beyond the base assignments. Those are just some of the ways I’ve personally grown from studying online. After cultivating these disciplines, I’ve been able to enjoy the freedom that comes with setting my own study pace and schedule.”

What do you like to do in your free time?

“I enjoy playing sports like soccer, table tennis, and badminton. My ideal weekends include outdoor activities like hiking in Japan’s beautiful mountains and going to the beach. When I’m not outdoors, I always enjoy a good movie and spending time with friends and family. Other than that, I spend most of my free time learning! There is a world of knowledge out there and learning is my passion.”

What’s been your favorite class?

“Senior seminar, by far. The emphasis of the course was on development economics and developing a thorough intervention plan for action. This course opened my eyes to the side of economics that initially got me into pursuing this degree. It showed me the potential tools available to an economist to impact tangible change in areas of the world that still face significant challenges.”

“I was able to engage in discussions that went beyond the mechanical tools of an economist and explored the ethical and sociological realities. This course confirmed my desire to pursue graduate studies in development economics.”

If you could give a piece of advice to a prospective student, what would it be?

“Not many people have the luxury of studying what they purely enjoy. I took out loans and got my first degree in engineering in hopes of securing my financial future. Pursuing college education can be a very pragmatic choice that can define one of the most important choices we make in life – our career path. But there are many opportunities to continue learning. I’m more than ten years into my career. I enjoy and appreciate it very much, but I’m always seeking to learn and expand my personal worldview.”

“CSU Online has given me the opportunity to continue learning while working full time, and this has granted me the possibility of pursuing something new. It opened a new door for me through development economics to engage and impact the world. Your career path doesn’t have to be locked. Just because you study one thing first doesn’t mean your choices end. It’s great if you find your passion today, but do not give up if you don’t. Keep learning. Keep exploring. The sacrifice is always worth it.”

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