by Christina Hadley
These days we do everything online. We pay our bills, we watch our favorite television shows, we take courses, and the list could go on and on. Although we may have friends that we see in person, social networks like Twitter and Facebook make it so that a lot of our interaction is done online as well. This can leave a lot of people feeling disconnected from the “real world.”
Time and time again, I have heard students in online courses talk about how they miss the relational part of being in classes that may be found in a residential setting. They talk of how they feel disconnected from Liberty University amidst the large student body population.
If you are reading this, chances are that you consider yourself to be not the average college student. Chances are you are not right out of high school. Chances are you have a job, family, friends and a million other things that require your attention. Guess what? You are not alone!
Take it from someone who has done both the residential student thing and the online student thing. You, as the student, are able to determine what you glean from each of these experiences. In a residential setting it can be just as easy to get lost in the sea of faces as it is to get lost in the wave of discussion boards and replies online.
However, if you make the effort in a residential setting to talk to even one person, you may end up with a friend for life. How many times have you heard someone talk about their best friend they met in college? It is easy to think that they had it made because they were able to see that person every day in class and share notes on days when the other missed, and so on and so forth.
What if I told you that you could have similar experience online? Let me share a recent experience I had to prove my point.
Every class has the discussion board in week one where you introduce yourself, say where you are from, what you do, and what you hope to learn from the course.
This semester was no different.
As always, I read the information each of my classmates posted. I found it difficult to relate to them because many are in their forties with families, established careers, and ministries. I am single and still trying to figure out my career path—typical of a twenty-something.
However, one post stuck out to me.
The student was from an area my family and I prayed for consistently. We were then able to further discuss his area and I watched as the world got even smaller as he was familiar with the exact area in which some of my family had done ministry work. I now have a friend that I am able to share ideas and concerns with and vice versa.
I encourage each of you to do the same. Look closely at your classmates; you may see that you fit in more than you thought you did. You may even find someone with a similar passion or interest. You may find a “study buddy”, who you can continue in courses with. Just because you are online doesn’t mean that this time can’t be the time you meet people who will be a part of your life for years to come!
Image taken from education-portal.com