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The Nugget’s declassified guide to surviving online school

a group of people studying togethere. there are scattered paper and pens on the table they are sitting around.

By Alleah Boisvert

Making friends during post-secondary is hard enough, but making friends while classes are online can introduce a whole new set of challenges and barriers into the mix. While some students may rejoice with the decrease in social interaction, online classes can be difficult for students who usually enjoy talking to their classmates in person. Here are some ways for NAIT students to socialize and make new friends while taking online classes.

Making friends during post-secondary is hard enough, but making friends while classes are online can introduce a whole new set of challenges and barriers into the mix. While some students may rejoice with the decrease in social interaction, online classes can be difficult for students who usually enjoy talking to their classmates in person. Here are some ways for NAIT students to socialize and make new friends while taking online classes.

Attend an event

From formal to fun, Ookslife has tons of events each month that can help bring students with similar interests together. Events like NAIT’s International Centre’s Peer Connect Drop-In Series, which aims to provide students with a mentor to help them build a social network, and The Mawji Centre’s various networking events and info sessions, are opportunities for students to build both their professional and social network. NAITSA also hosts fun events like Trivia Nights, How-To’s, and Game Nights that can make for easy ice-breakers and casual conversation. Events are mostly online right now, but this could make reaching out a little less intimidating for students who are more introverted.

Join a club

For students searching for friends outside their program, NAIT is home to many different clubs that cater to the academic and recreational interests of students. There are subject-specific clubs like the Accounting Club of NAIT, which is a space for business students to participate in accounting events and activities, or more laid-back clubs like the Hacky Sack Club, where students gather to practice the sport and chat with other hacky sack fans. Clubs like the Super NAITSA Anime Club or the ESPORTS Club at NAIT are always looking for new community members. Don’t see a club that suits your interest? Start your own! 

Be vocal during class

With classes being online, it can be easy to sit back and let other students do the talking instead of actively engaging in the class. Being active in the class chat is a good way to interact with your instructors and classmates, and it encourages other students to do the same. If there are some positive interactions that you think could lead to a friendship, messaging the classmate privately through Teams or Webex can open the door to exchange information and start forming a friendship.

Volunteer through NAITSA

Volunteering is a great way to make new friends and add some experience to your resume. For students who are tired of online socialization, volunteering can be an opportunity to safely meet other people in person and connect with students who share similar values. NAITSA makes this easy by providing a list of volunteer opportunities that are on and off-campus.

Create a LinkedIn account

Not only can LinkedIn help grow your professional network, but it can also be an opportunity to keep in touch with classmates and share interesting school or work-related content. Connecting with classmates is normal for platforms like LinkedIn, even if you don’t know them well. It can also give you an idea of how receptive they are to new friendships. Just be wary of the type of relationships that your LinkedIn connections are looking for, as this is a more professional platform than Facebook or Instagram.

Join NAIT-specific social media groups

There are lots of social media accounts and groups for NAIT students that are looking to meet new people. Following and interacting with Instagram accounts like @naitstudents, @naitsaclubs, and @ookslife can keep you in the loop when it comes to campus events and activities with other students. There are also NAIT-specific groups on Facebook that help connect new students with each other. Even the “NAIT Used Books For Sale” Facebook group can help NAIT students interact with each other outside of school. 

Host a study night

Having to study is one thing that all NAIT students have in common, no matter which program they’re in. Inviting classmates to a Zoom study night (or in-person if restrictions allow) and asking them to relay the message to their other friends who are NAIT students can be a fun way to keep each other accountable and create new connections.

 
Feeling isolated can be detrimental to someone’s mental health, but difficulty socializing and feeling lonely is nothing to be ashamed of. For students who are struggling with their mental health due to online classes, NAIT’s Counselling Services provides appointments for NAIT students to talk to a professional about their struggles. Students looking for resources on NAIT events, clubs, and volunteer opportunities can visit https://naitsa.ca/ and https://www.ookslife.ca/ for more information.

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