The college classroom, especially at the graduate level, is a valuable vessel in the process we all have come to know as networking. Open discussions and close student proximity are necessary social lubricants that facilitate bonding between those students. But although the reach potential for connecting may be quite extensive, the number of fellow classmates that actually capitalize on this there-to-be-taken attribute may not be robust as one might think. While a very genuine expectation to connect with fellow students may exist, it is not a fait accompli. It requires motivation, a personable disposition, and persistent effort. Networking is a byproduct in the journey of the classroom experience, but it is often a road that runs parallel.
Online degree programs can be vehicles for networking opportunities as well. Depending on how engaging the professor requires students to be, each course presents numerous opportunities for new students to introduce themselves to each other. Group projects, team assignments, and weekly discussion boards help promote and cultivate student interaction. Many, if not most, of the students in CUNY’s M.S. Online Program live within the New York metropolitan area. We live here, work here, and are accessible to each other, to extent we allow ourselves to be. Not all online degree programs can boast such claims of its constituency. Opportunities abound provided the requisite effort is made.
In my first semester of the master’s program, I engaged in a project with a fellow student. We got to know each other, met after work one day, and discussed the program and a myriad of career topics. Having expressed to her that I was actively pursuing a new job, she recommended that I reach out to CUNY’s Career Services department; a department I did not even know existed. I promptly took her advice and over the past several months I’ve established a friendly relationship with Shannon Gallo who heads the department. Shannon has been extremely helpful, insightful, and generous with her thoughts and her time. One day she asked if I would be interested in writing a blog for the master’s program. Perhaps more a suggestion, her inquiry had come on the heels of a rather verbose and disappointing email I sent to her detailing my interview-of-a-lifetime with Moody’s that did not exactly result in the sort of fortunate outcome I had earnestly hoped for. I decided to accept her invitation and gave it a go. So while one door slammed closed, another door opened and with it came the opportunity to engage in a new endeavor: blogging. If nothing else, this serves to illustrate that connecting with classmates in an online program can often lead us on completely unintended trajectories with unforeseen benefits. All it really requires is that we remain engaged in the process.
John Brigantino is a graduate student in the Master of Science in Business Management & Leadership Program at the CUNY School of Professional Studies. He enjoys writing, non-fiction books, traveling and the many cultural and leisure experiences Manhattan has to offer.