A few of us have complained about discussion boards, but those can be a phenomenal way to build relationships with other students. For example, they can help you notice certain names that may be in your future courses. I’ve noticed in my Organizational Leadership (OGL) courses, when we recognize a name, a lot of us will mention it in an introduction post response. Use this opportunity to actually get to know your classmates and build a support system and community with them.
I used to strongly dislike team assignments after some previous experiences. I panicked after seeing the syllabus for two of my courses last semester because the Organizational Leadership courses that I selected leaned towards that collaboration. This included things like peer reviews, discussions, and team projects. I had somehow managed to pick a course in session A and session B that required a lot of teamwork. As nervous as I was, they turned out to be AMAZING courses, especially after my OGL professors Dr. Davis and Dr. B (Scholar) explained the importance of getting to know your team! Several of us still reach out because we built such a strong support system and a history of tackling assignments together!
For courses where you are more likely to have quizzes/exams, I suggest setting up virtual study groups to help build that support network. Do not be afraid to be honest and let classmates know what you are going through. Many times, another classmate will have a helpful idea that you may not have thought of, and that might even make you more willing to reciprocate that level of support down the road.
Finding support in professors can seem daunting when you do not get to see them face-to-face. Reach out via email! Join the professor’s office hours, especially if you’re having a difficult time understanding a concept. Join in if they have an open Zoom night - which is similar to a get-to-know-you session, but you get to go over assignment information. Don’t be afraid to let your professors know if you are going through something at home so they can help support you. I had an instructor who added mental health information into announcements early in the pandemic and instructed us to reach out if we were struggling, and that made all the difference.