Building a support network for an online degree

posted by Chris Valentine

As students all over the world are now discovering, studying for an online degree can be extremely emotionally and psychologically draining. It can be difficult to gauge your progression when studying outside of the classroom, online degrees can feel isolating, and studying at home for hours on end can be incredibly taxing. 

If you are able to develop a support network before, during, and after your online degree, you will find that it is much easier to get through coursework, connect and network with your fellow classmates, and take home your degree. Below are some of the best ways you can develop your own support network to carry you through your online degree course.

Take advantage of available student services 

Universities are aware of how challenging completing a degree can be and how studying can take its toll on students. Most universities will have student support services available and faculty such as mentorship programs, counselling, and orientations. 

Wilkes University offers an innovative mentorship program for new students to help them plan their degree path, manage their course load, and to network during orientation. The Wilkes University Direct Entry MSN takes student welfare seriously and understands how difficult a challenging degree program can be. That is why the program also encourages students to regularly meet with an admissions counsellor to discuss career paths, course loads, and even the application process. 

Maintain your significant relationships 

Your strongest relationships are always there for you to lean on when you need them most. Do not hold yourself back from calling home, telling your partner you need additional support, or asking your friends for weekly catch-ups. Sometimes when students are taking a digital course, it can become difficult to distinguish between home, work, and school, and socializing takes a backseat. 

Students are busy and it can be hard to find time, but even scheduled twenty-minute phone calls with family and friends each week can make a big difference. By maintaining your strongest, most important relationships, you will be able to generate more support for yourself and, when the going gets tough, you will be able to rely on their help, love, and encouragement. 

Start a study group 

Everyone needs help at one point or another, so study groups are a great way to meet classmates and fill in one another’s knowledge gaps. You can easily set up a study group via Zoom or Skype and then meet once or twice a week to discuss subjects that everyone is struggling with. At the end of your study session, there will always be time to talk, get to know one another, and discuss the coursework. 

Being able to talk with your fellow classmates is a great way to gauge how you are doing in the course. If you are fully isolated from your fellow students, you may start feeling anxious or develop imposter syndrome. However, by regularly staying in contact with your fellow students and discussing the material, you should be able to better determine how you are doing in the class and put any stubborn anxieties to rest. 

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