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Making New Friends During Online Learning

By Julia ’25

Whether you are a new or a returning student to Harvard-Westlake, adjusting to online learning is difficult. While it may seem hard to make new friends during this time, there are many ways to do it. 

At times, online school can make students feel frustrated or lonely, but it is important to keep in mind that many people are having the same experiences as you. It’s impossible to overstate the importance of community and friendship. A strong student community is not only crucial for avoiding loneliness, but is also an essential element of the educational experience itself. The isolation that comes with prolonged social distancing is very challenging for students. It can even strain existing friendships. Interactions that used to be easy and fun, can now feel forced and awkward. Some students are even reluctant to reach out to friends because they don’t know what to talk about. Knowing this information, staying social and communicating with classmates are key to making new friends during online learning. Ways to communicate with new friends while staying safe during this time are exchanging phone numbers and spending time together while adhering to social distancing mandates . 

Harvard-Westlake has always been very open, welcoming, and inclusive. When we had to switch to online learning, the various community-building activities did not slow down. Through clubs, classes, and HW Sibs, meeting new people is an everyday occurrence at Harvard-Westlake. During online learning, you are still able to access these social outlets through the Hub, the Daily Bulletin, your email, and the Harvard-Westlake website. 

Clubs are open to everyone at Harvard-Westlake. They normally meet during break and are a great way to meet people with similar interests. You can start your own club or join one at any time. From Affinity groups such as the BLACC, to TV clubs such as the FRIENDS club, to miscellaneous clubs such as The Gardening Club, there are clubs to suit all interests and passions. 

Having common classes is a great reason to reach out to a new friend. Through group projects and breakout rooms, you can get the chance to learn more about your peers. When having common classes, a great way to grow closer to a friend is to create study groups. You can plan dates in advance to review for an upcoming test or quiz, and after a few meetings you will be prepared for your assessment, and have a closer friend. 

 A new program at Harvard-Westlake called HW Sibs is a body of students from different grade levels, led by a teacher in different group discussions and activities. When meeting with your HW sibs group, you will get the opportunity to play games and learn fun facts about your classmates. The goal of HW sibs is to help new students build relationships with their peers. 

Connecting with your peers and making friends is always important and essential, especially during online learning. 

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Tags: , , Last modified: October 5, 2020