Coming into the fall semester, many Wayne State students were concerned about taking online classes and staying connected. Students have found creative ways to meet new people despite COVID-19 restrictions.
Kayley Tolin, a freshman at WSU, created the WSU Class of 2024 Facebook group to help incoming freshmen make friends and find roommates, she said. The group, created in January, currently has about 650 participants. Students also use the group to connect through social media and market their own businesses.
Tolin said the WSU Class of 2024 group has helped her build a community and meet other students living in WSU dorms.
“That’s where I found my two best friends and roommates,” she said.
When it comes to school, students are using technology to help their peers understand coursework and stay motivated. Tahani Smidi, a WSU biology major, created several WhatsApp group chats for different classes.
“I made these chats for my classmates and me to ask each other questions they couldn’t ask professors because they’re shy,” Smidi said.
Aside from understanding material, group chats also help students stay organized, Smidi said.
“These group chats help each student help each other and receive responses from peers, keeping track of homework assignments and holding meetings together,” she said.
Students are utilizing WSU resources to connect with other students. The Procrastination Accountability Group started three years ago to find ways for students to break procrastination habits, said Zeina Ghoul, coordinator of the Study Skills Academy and First Year Seminar 1010 instructor. The group, made up of graduate and undergraduate students, meets on Wednesdays from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 pm. via Zoom.
“People who attend the group think of it as a support system,” Ghoul said. “I like to say this group focuses on how to manage stress and study skills, not control them.”
Ghoul founded the group because she saw procrastination becoming a major issue for students, she said. The group combines activities and conversation to help students develop skills that can be applied throughout their lives.
“This is a structured process from start to finish in engagement with activities, questioning, ideas and trying to get them to be aware of their behaviors,” Ghoul said. “We talk about fear, guilt, shame and tools to be applied and gained through their time here. The key is for them to do the work outside of this group.”
These groups, started by members of the WSU community, have made a positive impact on students during the pandemic. Connecting with students virtually has helped with navigating classes and other challenges, Tolin said.
“College is much different now, it's harder to make friends and, for me, more difficult to learn without face to face meetings, asking questions, and working with others but the only thing I can do is take it day by day,” she said. “The friends that I have made really make it easier to go through it together.”
Chantell Phillips is a contributing writer for The South End. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Cover photo by Guneet Ghotra. Guneet is the graphic designer for The South End. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.