Guild Voices: Tips for Finding Online Study Buddies
by Kelly Pfeifer, Student Success Advisor
Pursuing your educational goals can seem daunting at any age. It can seem especially so if you are also juggling work, family, and a myriad of other responsibilities. It’s normal to start out enthusiastic, then find yourself clawing through your coursework just to be done with it, while not fully grasping the content.
A great way to avoid feeling overwhelmed is to find a study buddy who can share in this experience with you. While your family and friends are likely supportive of your goals, they might not be able to fully understand what you are going through. Having someone to help break down new concepts and talk through course content with you can solidify your understanding in a way that will boost your confidence. You’ll also be the one providing the clarification, which will, in turn, reinforce your comprehension of the material.
The trick is finding the study buddy. Online courses do not lend themselves well to creating these relationships with your classmates, so it might take a bit of extra work. Below are a few suggestions to get you started:
1. Find a Coworker Who Is Also in School
Since you are accessing your program through your company’s education benefit, someone else in your workplace is likely in school – maybe even your exact same program. Leave a flier in your breakroom, ask your human resources department if you can send an email to your coworkers, or ask your manager if any of their other employees are in school as well. Even if you find someone who is not in your program, it can still be beneficial to have an accountability buddy who can hold you to a study schedule by meeting up to study together.
2. Ask Your SSA to Connect You With Another Student in Your Program
Your SSA is a great resource for all things related to your program of study, including helping you find a study buddy. Let them know if this is something you are interested in, and they can try and get you in touch with another one of their students. The tricky part is that you likely will find a buddy who is not in your area. Communicating via phone, email, or facetime can still provide many of the same benefits as meeting face-to-face. Use these communication points as a chance to check-in with a peer about how classes are going, share any challenges you may be experiencing, and celebrate successes.
3. Utilize Discussion Boards Through Your Online Courses
Many of the university programs through Guild’s partner schools have discussion board features in their classes that allow students to post about topics related to course content. These can be a valuable resource in helping you deepen your understanding of the material, and also provide you with a way to connect with other students. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your peers through the discussion board to ask about communicating outside of class. Communicating more with a classmate will allow you to remind each other about due dates, edit each other’s papers, or simply offer words of encouragement.
An important thing to remember throughout the process of going to school is to ask for help. While your professor, student success advisor, friends and family are all likely willing to provide that help, the connection you make with a peer going through the same experience has the potential to be the most beneficial. A study buddy knows exactly what you are going through, and they will know what to say to help you through challenges and celebrate successes.