Attending school online can be hugely beneficial for a number of reasons, and a lot of students choose to complete their middle school or high school education online to utilize the advantages that online learning has to offer.
One of the more challenging areas for online learners, however, is the ability and opportunity to engage with fellow students. Making friends can be hard, and growing in those friendships can be even more difficult when you don’t see your peers face to face and when you only interact in a digital environment. Here at SDVS, we are passionate about creating a community atmosphere where students can get connected with their teachers and peers, and where they can thrive in their personal, social, and educational lives. Here are a few of the best ways that we’ve found for students to engage with their peers.
Participate in Class Discussions
Simply participating in class discussions is huge. Respond positively to someone else’s comment, share a new idea about a concept, or ask a thought-provoking question during class. By opening up in class, you’ll find that your confidence grows in both your social and academic skills, and you’ll likely be more willing to talk to new people and open yourself up to new friendships. Additionally, participating in class discussions may help you discover that someone else in the class has similar ideas as yours, and you may find that you have a lot more in common with some of your classmates than you realize.
Begin a Conversation with Someone New
Whether you’re in class or attending an extracurricular activity for the first time, don’t be afraid to start a conversation with someone you haven’t met. Maybe you feel shy or uncomfortable being the person to initiate conversation, but it’s likely that other students feel awkward in a new and unfamiliar situation as well. You can start by asking how long they’ve been doing online schooling, where they live, or why they wanted to take that particular class or do that particular activity. Chances are, they’ll be thankful that someone else began a conversation and it will continue naturally and bring about a new friendship.
Find Common Ground
It can be difficult to find things you have in common with other students, but a great place to start is your decisions to do online school. You and all your peers chose this education type for a reason, and that can be a good place to begin when you’re trying to find common ground. Maybe you’re an athlete with a crazy schedule, maybe your parents have unique job situations where traditional school doesn’t work, or maybe you simply find online school more appealing due to the individualized approach of online classes and the more positive learning environment. Ask questions about your peers’ lives and seek to discover some similar interests or related mindsets.
No matter how you choose to engage with your fellow students, remember that everyone is in a similar situation that you are and it will never hurt to say hello to someone and begin a friendly conversation.