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Simple ‘tricks’ on how to network online as an Ecampus student

How to network as an online student

Oregon State graduate offers tips on how to successfully build a support system from a distance

By Monique Lanier

When I started my studies as an Oregon State University Ecampus student, it never occurred to me that I would make some of the most meaningful connections of my life. I knew I was fully committed to completing my degree because I am passionate about learning, but I also knew it would be tempting to hide out behind my computer screen and not make an effort to connect with people.

I’m an introvert, the kind that can spend many days happy at home. So it should come as no surprise that I would do everything possible to avoid any activity resembling the terrifying social experiment known as “networking.”

I had no idea how people did it, why they did it, or even more baffling, if they enjoyed it. I thought perhaps they were being blackmailed or maybe their family members were being held hostage in a warehouse somewhere. Why else would a person “network”?

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OSU Ecampus graduate Monique Lanier knows what it takes to succeed in the online environment, and her insights on the basics of online learning can help you get started.

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Now, I understand networking, even online, as simply engaging in genuine relationships. I was authentically interested in my professors and fellow students, and it was this sincere interest and profound respect that led to wonderful experiences and possibilities I never imagined.

And let’s be honest. I’m not saying I magically turned into a self-confident scholar who initiated mind-blowing conversations with ease and elegance. I’m still me; I get nervous and flustered in new situations. I still have to rally myself up to speak in class or introduce myself to new people.

I’m simply saying that, even though it took a little courage, I did a couple of things as an Oregon State Ecampus student that made a world of difference as I learned how to network online.

I went to my professors’ online office hours, more than once, and asked questions.

Professors always encourage students to do this, but I was reluctant: most students are. I quickly realized the invitation is sincere and took them up on their offer. (I also emailed them with questions about class materials.)

Talking with my professors brought my Ecampus classes to life. It enriched my participation online, inspired the quality of my work, and promoted positive feelings. These positive feelings helped to sustain my efforts and kept me focused throughout my education. Oregon State professors are very welcoming!

I interacted with fellow online students.

I didn’t have to initiate this on my own because Ecampus classes are structured in a way that encourages students to interact. Online classroom discussions were often the highlight of my week and led to wonderful friendships. Those experiences continue to enrich my life today.

Taking these two simple actions changed my entire Ecampus experience, and even my life. It is because of the relationships I formed with my professors that I had the confidence to pursue a graduate degree. My professors supported and guided me as I applied to graduate schools, and I am now at Harvard on track to graduate with my master’s degree.

And so here I am, an introvert, promoting the rewards of networking online as an Oregon State Ecampus student, and happy to report no one is being held hostage.

Give yourself the chance to benefit from all the wonderful resources Ecampus has to offer. It can lead to amazing things.

Monique Lanier is a freelancer who also has a long history in writing, acting and music as a writer and performer. She earned her Oregon State University bachelor’s degree online and a master’s degree in theological studies from Harvard University.. Read more about her educational journey.

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