In many ways, our worldviews are shaped by those we socialize with in varying degrees. Of course, academia is essentially a world unto itself, and how we socialize, network, and utilize who we know will ultimately work toward shaping our academic experience. It is so important to build a network, find friendships, and look to those who can mentor you, especially when online education is the chosen method. It is so easy to be drawn into seclusion when your educational endeavors begin and end with a screen, especially when your goal is simply academic. However, once your formal education ends, networking and friendships can make the next steps of life a breeze.
Now, if you’re anything like me, you never really gave the idea of building networks and friendships much thought during (perhaps currently) your undergraduate years. However, since deciding to continue my education and being accepted into graduate school, I have changed that thought. Networking, finding my academic peers, and looking for those who have been where I am now all became a focus. It wasn’t easy changing my ways of thinking about my education as solely earning a degree (versus as an opportunity to develop relationships, too), but I made the shift! I learned a few things that helped me build these friendships, and they may help you!