How to Stay Connected From Afar

Babson World Globe

On Saturday night, a group of Babson grad students settled in to watch a movie.

Except, instead of gathering together at a theater or one person’s house, they used Netflix Party to stream Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and group chat about it. Call it socializing in the social distancing era.

“We need social connection now more than ever—the sense of continuity of community is so important,” Lawrence P. Ward, vice president for student affairs and dean of students said during last week’s virtual community forum, which focused on the importance of the Babson community and our path forward.

“Staying connected via email, a text, FaceTime, snapchat, anything, especially to those outside of your circle, will help us get through these times.”

We crowd sourced a few ideas for how students can keep their Babson community connected without being together on campus.

Bring Your Personality Online

As classes shift online, discussion boards, forums, and group chats play a bigger role in the learning experience. Consequently, it becomes that much more important to communicate effectively without losing that human touch. Noah Shifman, MBA ’19, took blended learning classes for the vast majority of his degree. “Be thoughtful and genuine in your digital responses,” he says.

Blend School and Fun

Liz Gallinaro, MBA ’19, recommends recreating the in-person socializing you’re used to online. Her go-to techniques? Informal study sessions via Google hangouts, and both school and fun slack channels with your peers. Online or not, nobody can empathize better than the people sharing your experience.

Get Social

There’s no time like the present to broaden your social network. “I stay in touch with many of the friends I made at Babson on social media more than I do on the phone or over email,” says Shifman. “Being able to see what your peers are doing is a good way to build community.” Your professors and many of the familiar faces you are used to seeing on campus are craving this connection too, and following their channels is another way to stay connected.

Take Care of Yourself

Everyone who has flown is familiar with the oxygen mask demo – putting your own mask on first before helping others. This concept of self-care has never been more important. One technique that President Stephen Spinelli Jr. MBA’92, PhD is using is reflection.

“Document this process and this experience,” he encouraged the Babson community during last week’s forum. “Ask yourself ‘How am I staying connected to my network? How will these experiences help me be a leader in our alumni community? How am I reacting to the variables, and solving problems?’”

Precisely because these are unsettling times, it’s important to stay together. “Focus on your networks and on your friendships,” urged Ward. “Ask yourself ‘How do I feed those?’ Remember that your energy is finite, and invest it in being optimistic about the future.”

Posted in Adapting, Together

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