Living Off Campus? How the Web Can Help You Feel Connected to Student Life

Living off-campus is a great option for many students. As well as allowing for a little more independence – and a lot more personal space – compared to dorm life, it can even be a cheaper option. 

However, while life off-campus certainly has its perks, some students may feel isolated and cut off from their on-campus peers. It’s natural: the campus is the hub of student activities and socials, and outside this center can create a disconnect. It needn’t be this way, though. The internet offers plenty of opportunities to stay connected with your fellow students and not miss out on any event – of either the scholarly or social variety!

Make the Most of Student Virtual Forums

Stay in the loop of college life by joining one or more of your college’s virtual forums. These boards, typically moderated by other students (or sometimes faculty members) can be a great way to connect with your peers and stay in the know about on-campus events and socials.

There are likely to be a range of forums, with some catering to the college population as a whole and others geared to specific departments or interests, so choose the ones that suit you best, and try to be a regular participant. Chat forums are likely to cover everything from how to cook on a budget to the best hang-out spots in town to whether it’s a good idea to have renters insurance as a student. And the answer to the latter is a definite yes!

Stay Up to Date with the College Calendar

Today, not only does every college and university have its own comprehensive website but also its own online calendars of events – often running up to a year or more in advance. Be sure to regularly check this calendar to keep up to date with new events, groups, and meetings of various college communities. You may spot something on the calendar that, living off-campus, you wouldn’t have learned about otherwise.

Find out whether this calendar features the details of virtual events being held, too. If not, why not make a polite request that these be added?

Create a Virtual Study Group

Getting involved in forums isn’t the only way to keep connected with student life via the web. Why not create a virtual study group and invite others in your class to join? Holding sessions, maybe once or twice a week, on regular days and times, is a great way to boost your studies and stay in touch with your fellow students.

It’s a good idea to create a structure for your group to help keep things productive and on track. This needn’t be too rigid but could be something like having a set topic for each session, perhaps a couple of questions or ideas to brainstorm, and a quiz to round things off..

Check Out the College’s Online Resources

And don’t forget to check out the online resources provided by your university. Some colleges, for example, offer online essay-writing centers and resources to help you plan your career pathway.

You may be surprised at the sheer breadth of online resources on offer, aiming to assist with everything from managing your money to preventing student burnout. They can be a great way to feel more connected to general campus life, too.

Other Ways to Beat Feelings of Off-Campus Isolation

While the web is a wonderful way to stay connected, nothing beats face-to-face interaction, so making an effort to meet up with fellow students or heading to the campus for a regular group or activity is vital. You may not feel up for it after a hard day of study, but connecting with people in person is essential for well-being.

Try to have regular social meetings with friends, whether this is a weekly coffee morning catch-up or gossip over lunch, rather than simply getting together for study or assignments. Staying connected with friends and family members back home is important, too: texting or messaging is a great way to stay in touch, but nothing beats a phone call.

Staying active is a great idea, too. As well as being extremely beneficial to mental (and physical) health, this can be a gateway to making connections and friendships. Perhaps your college already has a jogging or swimming club you could join?

Final Thoughts

If you live off-campus, staying connected with the goings-on of campus life is especially important. Happily, the web makes this easy to do: every college and university boasts a slew of virtual forums where you can get involved with community life and keep tabs on what’s going on. 

Making the most of the online opportunities available is the key: find out what’s on offer and try out a few options to see what suits you. And if there’s an online forum or study group you’d like to see that doesn’t exist? Why not set it up yourself?