What Is Community and Why Does It Matter?
When you hear the word “community,” what comes to mind? Maybe it’s a social group you were part of in the past — like the kids who lived in your neighborhood when you were growing up or your best friends from high school. These days, maybe you find community in your coworkers, an organization you volunteer for, or even your family’s group text. Whatever communities you’ve been part of throughout your life, you’ll probably agree that community is more than just a gathering of people — it’s a feeling; specifically, the feeling of belonging, of being cared for, and of feeling known. A community is a space you can go where you feel safe and are always able to ask for help.
Once you decided to go back to school online, you may have thought, “Well, I guess I’ll be doing this on my own.” We get it — doing school online looks a lot different than taking in-person classes. What we want you to know, though, is that you don’t have to do it alone. In fact, we’ve got a few reasons why you shouldn’t do school by yourself — and a few resources to help you find your student community.
1. You’ll have questions. Your community will have answers.
Does this situation sound familiar? You’re up late working on a homework assignment, confident that you know exactly what you’re doing. “This will be a breeze,” you think to yourself, until suddenly… it’s not. You get confused by a detail in the instructions and start second-guessing all the work you’ve already done. Unexpected situations like this one are a great reason to join a student community — so that you’ll have a place to go and people to turn to when you’ve got questions.
2. Inspiration doesn’t always strike until you look for it.
Sometimes, getting motivated to hit the books is just as difficult as actually doing your homework. When you’re backed by fellow students who are in the same boat, though, it’s easier to feel inspired by a sense of unity and collective purpose. Plus, they might even give you some tips and tricks to help you keep going even when you don’t feel like it.
3. Community makes school more enjoyable.
Remember when you were growing up, and you didn’t exactly like school, but you still loved going to school because it meant you got to see your friends? Having a community as an adult learner is sort of like that. Not only is school more fun when you get to share your achievements with others — but you might even make some new friends while you’re at it.
4. Meeting other students = networking.
Meeting other students isn’t just fun and games; doing so can be practical, too. You might get connected with other students in your program who have similar interests and career goals, or you may even come across someone who works for your company and can give you pointers on moving up at work. Be sure to look out for students who have things in common with you, and take the opportunity to network with them.
5. Craving community? You’re not the only one.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re an extrovert or introvert — everyone benefits from human connection, and chances are, you’re not the only one looking for a way to connect with fellow students. Get involved in your community today!
A few ways to find your student community: