With school moving from the classroom to Zoom, students are struggling to connect with their peers. Classrooms are a place where students get the chance to meet each other, chat, and share ideas. Many of these interactions have been lost in the transition to zoom. This has left many students feeling alone, not knowing how to reach out to their peers.
A 2020 survey during the onset of the pandemic by the Center for Community College Student Engagement found 75% of students listed isolation as a primary concern. Mohawk Electrical Technician student, Marco Monardo has felt some of this isolation.
“It’s nearly impossible to make friends,” said Monardo. “Everybody has their cameras off, nobody talks but the teacher.”
“Honestly, half the time I just watch the recorded lectures,” Monardo added.
These feelings are echoed by Sheridan Nursing student, Alba Monsalve Segura, who despite describing herself as extroverted and talkative, still finds it hard to make connections.
“It’s way too different and impersonal,” said Segura. “When you don’t see faces it’s harder for me.”
The effect is compounded for students that suffer from social anxiety. A 2020 survey by the Jed Foundation found that 82% of students reported suffering from anxiety with 63% saying their emotional health suffered during the pandemic.
Another survey by Best Colleges found that 35% of students found the shift from in-person to online learning contributed to their increased anxiety.
Sheridan Bachelor of Illustration graduate, Erin Satterley, suffers from social anxiety and found it difficult to speak with classmates online.
“You don’t know how you are being received,” said Satterley. “There’s no real feedback from the people listening. It’s a lot of pressure.”
As we continue to deal with COVID-19, Zoom classes do not seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. Even after graduation, Zoom may be a regular feature of life in the workforce. A study from McKinsey found that up to 20% of jobs can be worked remotely, 3 to 5 days a week.
For this reason, students must adapt to connecting with classmates and colleagues over Zoom. It’s not only more emotionally fulfilling, it could also be essential.
For some helpful tips on how to better connect with people over Zoom, read the graphic below.