This article was developed in partnership with the Union of Students in Ireland (USI).
Some college courses hold all or some of their lectures online instead of in person. This is called blended learning.
If you are starting a blended college course, you may be wondering how you can enjoy the college experience and make new friends if you rarely get to interact with your classmates in person. Spending most of your time in college virtually can bring new challenges, but there are still ways in which you can connect and make new friends when only seeing them from time to time. Here are some suggestions of ways to make friends while taking part in blended learning.
How to make friends in college when doing classes online
It takes time to adjust to online learning. Here are some ways you can get to know people in college:
Talk to your class rep
Normally, at the start of the academic year your class will vote in a class representative who will then organise events for the class throughout the year and bring any issues the group may have to the Students’ Union. When attending college through blended learning, the role of your class rep might be slightly changed but they will still be there throughout the year to support you. From the beginning of the semester, they will organise events and help guide you through the new experience of blended learning. If you have any concerns or are feeling isolated or finding it difficult to make friends, speak to them and they can help you to become more involved in your class.
You will also have the opportunity to run for class rep if you would like to take on that role for the class. Being class rep can be a great way to be fully involved with your class and year, but it can also be a lot of responsibility so be prepared to put the work in.
Join a class WhatsApp group
Your class rep can set up a class WhatsApp or Facebook group to help you all meet each other and stay in touch. Actively taking part in that can help to make connections with others in the group. You will also be able to keep up with plans and activities that might be organised for your class, and be able to discuss your lecturers and assignments that are ongoing.
Join a club or society
Joining clubs and societies is a great way to meet other students. You will have an orientation week at the beginning of the semester. During orientation week, you will receive emails from your Students’ Union and probably from a variety of clubs and societies in your college. They will let you know about upcoming events and how to get involved with them. If you want to try and make new friends, getting involved in a club or society can be a really good way to do so. As blended learning is quite a new experience for everyone, the clubs and societies are making an extra effort to come up with new ways to help people socialise. As a member of a society, you may also be able to get more involved and sit on their board. Becoming a committee or board member can be a lot of work, but it is also a great way to meet people and feel part of something bigger.
Join a team
Joining a sports team is a great way to make friends as you can meet in person and spend time together training. During orientation week, you will be able to find information about the different teams that run on campus. Even if you may not have played much sport previously, there will be some sort of team to suit everyone and they accept people of all standards. Get in touch with the team you are interested in and they will be able to let you know when training is and what you need to do to take part.
Take part in online events
There are plenty of ways to socialise online such as holding table quizzes via Zoom and playing games together online. If you want to make friends, it might be a good idea to attend these sort of events. If no one is running them, you could consider organising them yourself. Your classmates are in the same position as you so they are likely actively looking for ways to make connections with the people on their course.
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