My name is Natasha, and I am 36 years old, a wife, and a mother to two teenagers. After working several dead-end jobs for low wages and no benefits, I found myself wanting to make a change – not only for me but for my family. I decided that going back to school would be my best option.
I liked the idea of online classes and being able to plan my courses around my family’s schedule. Today, as an online student in Herzing University’s medical billing and coding program, I love that I can sit in my pajamas and get my homework done in between loads of laundry.
While being an online student is convenient for my schedule, sometimes I’ve felt like I am missing out on the whole “college experience.” Over time, I’ve found a few ways to feel more involved with my college community.
1. Participate in online class discussions
Be active in conversations on your class discussion boards. I know that participation in these forums is often assigned as homework, but it is also a great way to meet people in your class. It’s fun to have a virtual platform that allows for class discussion; you can share your opinions and views on a topic and also learn from those of your classmates. It’s similar to the feeling of being in an actual classroom.
2. Connect with classmates on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a great tool for expanding your professional network. It allows you to make connections with people in your field of interest and connect with Herzing students and alumni. You can also use LinkedIn to display some of your work or class projects. For more tips on building your LinkedIn portfolio, check out this blog.
3. Join the conversation on social media
Follow your university page on Facebook and participate in class groups or discussions. In my experience, this is an easy way to see the different things that are going on at each Herzing campus. It also makes it easy to chat with fellow students, whether they are on campus or online.
4. Start a virtual study group
Create a Facebook group with a few of your online classmates so that you have a place to share tips and ask questions as you study for exams or complete course assignments. It’s like gathering with a few of your friends in the library, except it’s virtual!
Engaging in online conversations, whether on social media pages or on Canvas, can help you feel like a part of your college community. Meeting new friends and connecting with my peers this way has enhanced my online college experience
* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2021. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.