One of the most exciting things about beginning your postgraduate studies is that you’ll gain instant access to a network of talented, motivated peers in your field. Join forces with a network not only to help you do better academically and stand out in your current position but also to help you gain an edge in your future career. The unit will go quickly, so use our tips below to connect with a career-boosting peer network today.
Improve your grades with a study buddy
Since you’ve chosen to study online, you may be worried that you won’t have time for collaborative study sessions or that studying with others will put you behind. But a 2014 study looking at studying with peers, showed that 72% of at-risk students who studied with a study buddy passed their courses, while only 49% of those who did not participate passed.
A simple way to network is by starting an in-person or online study group. Being part of a study group that meets regularly will increase your accountability and motivate you to meet deadlines. Hearing others’ perspectives can also give you a deeper understanding of course concepts, help you with difficult assignments, and give you ideas for more effective study methods.
Be a standout networker
If you’re like a lot of students, networking might make you a bit uncomfortable, but it’s essential to your career. In fact, a study looking at professional networking showed that lawyers who networked had more successful careers than their colleagues, including more billable hours.
If you feel nervous about networking, remember that the best networks are about sharing knowledge and advice to help all members reach their goals. By approaching networking with a spirit of generosity and offering help and expertise where it’s needed, others will be more likely to offer you assistance and support throughout your studies, and your career. If someone is experiencing a challenge at their workplace or in a course and you have advice, pipe up and tell them how you handled it.
Gain valuable knowledge and ideas
The wider your network, the more access you’ll have to information that could be useful to your career. Since peer networks typically consist of people with a wide range of experience, they provide many opportunities to exchange knowledge of best industry practices.
For example, if you’re just starting out in the healthcare field, someone in your course with years of experience could have invaluable wisdom you could use. Even people in other fields may have techniques you could successfully implement on your own.
Make key connections
As your network grows, you’re more likely to be introduced to key leaders in your field, learn about new jobs, particularly within the hidden job market (something that we also discussed in a previous article), and receive referrals for positions that may be a great fit. Peer networks formed at university among passionate, driven students can also lead to exciting professional collaborations.
Don’t be shy
While networking in an online course is a bit different from doing it in person, you can still experience the same benefits, but you have to make the effort to connect.
A great place to start is with Moodle, where you can explore a variety of student forums or start a new one to introduce yourself to students studying in your unit. Once you’ve connected here, you can easily start an online or on-campus study or networking group.
So jump into Moodle and start networking your way to success today.