As a student doing their degree online, it can be challenging to make connections with people virtually. Socialising and networking are a couple of the most important aspects of your university life. Meeting new people is an incredible way to expand your circle and come across opportunities for your career.
I consider myself to be a social person, I like to place myself in settings where I am around people to start meaningful conversations. Having distance as a barrier was a challenge I was willing to accept. I was not going to allow it to keep me from bonding with as many people as I wished.
However, the main question must be asked, how do I network when I am in an online university program? I typically aim to network in two different environments, one where I am surrounded by peers from the University of London and the other outside of the university domain.
I am always on the lookout for university clubs and communities I am interested in joining. Our university offers its students different opportunities to become involved with school-related matters. I recently became a member of the Student Voice Group, which is the governance committee of UoL. Being a part of the SVG community allowed me to meet current students from other programs, alumni and administrative heads to discuss matters such as improving student engagement. Aside from partaking in SVG meetings, I am a member of the Google Developers Student Club UoL and a candidate to become one of the core organising team members for the 2022-2023 school year. I chose to join this club not only to connect with like-minded people but to work together to build projects regarding computer science.
In addition, I discovered that students of UoL were provided the chance to become student bloggers. I strongly feel that this opportunity to share my stories and read the journeys of other people is an exciting way to connect with fellow students. Being able to do so appealed to me, which is why I am writing to anyone interested in having a read.
There is a diverse selection of social matters any person can join. Apart from joining school-related organisations, a simple approach I like to use is to just directly message peers. Although it is basic, I hold it to be an efficient and fruitful way to make friends.
Not long ago, I participated in a three-day virtual UK Internship Experience by Bright Network, which I discovered through the university. I was able to meet a vast range of people affiliated with organisations from all around the world. From university students to working professionals, we were all able to come together to learn from other professionals and companies in the field and initiate discussions on technology. Outside of the university scene, I find certain social media platforms to be highly valuable towards networking. I use LinkedIn to find virtual networking events.
An observation I found to be uplifting was the sense of community that can be found if you are willing to look for it. I noticed that once you have joined any one club or society, most of the time that is all you need to become a part of various other groups. If you have your foot in the door, people from one community usually share many other opportunities to partake in all types of social gatherings.
From past experiences, I was able to learn that it is also very important not to juggle too many different things. As much as the social aspect of university significantly weighs in, it shouldn’t get in the way of studying. I tend to remind myself to stay grounded, so it doesn’t become too hectic when trying to balance studies and my social life.
I look forward to sharing my growing experience on this topic. For the person reading this, even if it is taken with a grain of salt, I hope it helps you in your future university endeavours!
Nyamkhuu studies BSc Computer Science via distance learning in Mongolia.