By Mia Rodio
Whether you are working or learning from home right now, I think everyone feels that it can be challenging to maintain personal connections with peers, coworkers, or professors. But, as our society becomes increasingly digital, it is more important than ever to build personal relationships. It may seem difficult, but there are ways to create professional connections through digital communications.
If you’re a student, I’m sure you’ve had the experience of meeting people in your classes and benefitting from the support of your peers. Just because classes are virtual, that does not mean that you have to lose that support. Students still need a community to learn alongside. One way to make connections with your classmates is to reach out to people in your virtual classes. If you recognize someone from a club or previous class, don’t be afraid to reach out to them. You can study together, or even just serve as a resource for one another if you feel like you’re struggling in class. I know I always find comfort in the fact that I have another student to share ideas with or ask clarifying questions.
Another important aspect of college classes is getting to know your professors. While you can’t stop them after class to introduce yourself in person, it is important to make the effort to out connect with them. I recommend going to virtual office hours with a professor, even if it is just to introduce yourself and say hello. I find that I am more comfortable emailing professors that I have talked to before. If you can’t make office hours, try sticking around on the Zoom call after class for a moment to talk with your professor. Don’t pass up the resources professors offer just because you may not be able to meet in person.
Beyond the classroom, technology is becoming a bigger part of everyone’s lives. Digital communication and technology are great ways to grow professional connections as well. If you’re interested in a certain career or job, try reaching out to someone on a platform like LinkedIn. Networking sites such as this have given us the opportunity to make connections with people that we might not encounter in person. If you start making these connections now, you may have future resources when you are searching for jobs or internships.
Although making and maintaining professional relationships may look different in a time when most meetings are virtual, technology has provided the opportunity to reach out to and connect with people regardless of geographic location. We have access to a wide range of possibilities and resources, and it is crucial to make sure we use them.