Let Your Talents Sing
Whether Viola Yasuda is touring the globe or performing at home with the San Francisco Girls Chorus, her life is reliably busy — and her schedule is anything but predictable. After deciding that homeschooling was the best way to earn her high school diploma, Viola sought out college-level courses through edX and discovered GFA. Now a junior, Viola’s impressive self-discipline combined with the interesting coursework and supportive environment offered through GFA have helped her complete her high school career on a high note.
What do you like best about GFA?
I liked that GFA offers for-credit classes through the edX platform. It’s nice to take a course over a matter of weeks as opposed to colleges that offer online courses that run across several months. It gives me more flexibility and a chance to zoom in on one or two classes at a time.
I also really liked the range of ages of my classmates. There were kids as young as 10 or 13 in my astronomy class, and I was able to meet a few my age as well as some older adults. In school, we are typically grouped together by age rather than by skill level or interest, but where else in our lives do we ever sit in a room with 25 other people our same age? It was cool that everyone in the course was at different stages in their lives — I think this is more realistic since when you’re out in the real world you will work with many types of people across age ranges. It brings diversity to the classroom and makes things more interesting in the discussion boards.
Have you taken college courses outside of GFA?
I attended a performing arts magnet school until my freshman year of high school, when I made the switch to taking high school and college classes online from home. For the past two years, I’ve enrolled in courses through edX and at a community college.
What was your favorite class and why?
I’ve taken two English courses, Astronomy, and Western Civilization: Ancient and Medieval Europe. My favorite so far has been English Composition: Research and Writing because I got to write about topics that interested me. I wrote about the Himalayan blackberry, an invasive species impacting people in the western U.S. that I had first learned about in public school. It was rewarding to be able to shed light to others on the problem.
Did you feel supported through your GFA courses?
Yes! The professors and other students would reply to me if I had questions or concerns, and I was always happy with the feedback I received from my peers.
What advice do you have for someone considering taking GFA courses?
When I first started, I didn’t know what to expect. The online format allowed me to manage my time and work on the course when it best fit my schedule. The content is really interesting - just be open to learning in an online environment if you haven’t done so before. I enjoyed interacting with my peers online, and for me, it’s easier to complete my schoolwork when I can be more independent and flexible with my school schedule.
What are your plans for the future?
I would like to earn a bachelor’s degree in biological science. I took a class at a community college on evolution and biological anthropology and became really interested in that area of science. I’m not sure where I’ll attend college yet, but it will be somewhere that accepts the credits I’ve earned from my GFA courses.
What do you enjoy doing outside of the classroom?
I sing with the San Francisco Girls Chorus (alto), which takes up a lot of my time. We travel a lot - soon I’ll be visiting Washington, D.C. and doing a two-week European tour that will take us to England, Scotland, Iceland, and that area of the world.
Inspired by Viola’s story? Learn more about Global Freshman Academy and how to jumpstart your college career.
“It’s nice to take a course over a matter of weeks as opposed to colleges that offer online courses that run across several months. It gives me more flexibility and a chance to zoom in on one or two classes at a time.”