Brady Patterson

I didn’t fit the mold of a traditional student and an online education presented the best option for my to be a successful student.

I was four on the first day of kindergarten and turned five the next day. Some friends in my class were six-and-a-half years old. My mom says I did well in those early years; I was smart and all the teachers wanted me in their classroom.

By fourth grade, there was more for students to be responsible for on his/her own. I started having migraines. I don’t know if the two were related, but I know now the two created issues for me.

Looking back, I believe my learning gap was a lack of organizational skills. If I was taught any, perhaps I missed it because I was not developmentally ready. This gap grew, causing issues as I failed to complete work in a timely manner, lost my work (either before or after completing it), or knew it was in my locker, but was not allowed to get it. My number of migraines increased and medicine didn’t always help. I missed school, had more work to keep track of upon returning to school, and had anxiety over all of it, which triggered a migraine. I fell into this vicious cycle for years, my grades plummeted, and I did not want to go to school.

I learned I was in control of my education and I gained confidence in my abilities. Had I stayed in traditional school, my grades would have likely remained poor to fair. But since I switched to online school, my grades greatly improved allowing me to take college classes while still in high school and giving me a jumpstart on my college education.

I believe switching to an online school allowed me to relax and focus. I could keep all my work in one place. I no longer lost my work, left it in my locker, or got triggered negatively by the thought of going to school. I also believe the learning gap was bridged because of the teachers. The teachers cared and wanted to help. They wanted you to ask for help. I never got that feeling in my brick and mortar school.

I felt empowered in my online courses. I chose college courses while in high school where I could get general requirements done. I had some control over the courses I chose, and whether they were on campus or online. I found a combination worked well for me. I preferred courses starting later in the morning. I preferred this combination over brick and mortar schoolwork worksheets, days filled with meaning less activities, and a sense of being overwhelmed.


Council Bluffs, IA

Iowa Connections Academy

Iowa Western Community College


2018Lisa Mullis