Earning a degree online comes with the flexibility and convenience of showing your disciple by completing your coursework on your schedule. But learning isn't only an intellectual activity; it is also a social one, and for some students, this lack of social interaction can lead to feelings of isolation.
Building and maintaining relationships with people virtually can be a challenge, and it might take a bit more work than if you were on campus with them. As long as you focus on your studies, you can also make time to connect with your classmates even if you aren't physically at school with them every day. Here are some ways you can do that.
Study With Your Classmates
When meeting your new classmates, make sure to introduce yourself so they can put a face with a name and respond to their introduction to make them feel welcome. This is a great way to calm everyone's nerves about the online model and make them feel comfortable. You never know; you may connect with someone you never thought you would have. Then you can begin to work together! Here at Georgia State, you can enter information about yourself into the learning management system for your classmates and teachers. We also offer all of our students access to Microsoft Suite. With this, you can video chat with them on Teams, do a paper together in real-time with Word, or complete a project using Powerpoint. These software options make doing group projects easier for virtual learners.
Gaming online can be a great way to build connections and new, stronger relationships with classmates beyond the online classroom when they are not burdened with classwork. You can now find games that you can play together whether you have a game system, PC or Mac, or even a cell phone. Find a game that everyone likes and create a game night where you can all play simultaneously. Minecraft, Fortnite, Mario Kart, and Counter-Strike are a few online multiplayer video games that you could try. Catan, Monopoly, and Scrabble are all board games with online apps you can use. UNO, Solitaire, and Texas Hold'Em are all card games available online.
Or, if you're looking for a fun time, you can play Dungeons & Dragons or whatever tabletop Role Playing Games (RPG) your group prefers. Use virtual chat rooms such as Discord and Microsoft Teams to meet up with folks and play tabletop RPGs online as a group. Although these video and voice chat apps lack the interactive maps and unique tabletop gubbins found in dedicated virtual tabletop tools, they're relatively simple to get going with and are often the easiest way of taking your roleplaying group online.
Watching a horror movie, documentary, or comedy together can solidify your friend group, provide conversation and make you feel like you're "together." With several primary streaming services rolling out group watch features and a handful of third-party tools with screen-sharing, video-syncing, and chat capabilities, watching your favorite shows remotely is easier than ever before. Disney+, Amazon Prime, and Hulu have integrated their apps to watch with multiple users with accounts no matter the distance, while Apple has placed this feature directly in their operating system. If you've subscribed to Netflix, Shudder, Paramount Plus, or most other streaming services, you can use 3rd-party apps like Metastream, TeleParty, Kast, or Scener.
Sitting down with a great book allows you to escape into a space in the author's mind and lets you contemplate ideas that might have never crossed your mind if you hadn't read the book in the first place. But while reading a new book on your own is a great way to unwind, bringing those ideologies off the pages and discussing them live is a great way to stay social.
There are many book clubs online that span from biographies to fantasy, or you may want to set one up just for your peers at school. Whether you invite your entire class or just five people, make sure the size is manageable but big enough to get various opinions and perspectives. Next, define your themes or subjects based on the genres of books you like to read. Since this is a virtual book club, we assume you'd like to skip your local library. Thankfully, there are numerous options online. You can download many free ebooks or read them directly on your phone or tablet. If you prefer to listen to audiobooks, there are great websites to get free audiobooks.
Even if you aren't looking to make new friends in college, staying social with your peers is an excellent way to keep the camaraderie and learn how they use their critical thinking skills. Make sure you also look up the Panther Involvement Network for more groups that you can join.