Sometimes having the support of your family and friends isn’t enough to carry on with the day-to-day responsibilities of classwork. If they aren’t actively participating in the class readings, papers and class discussions they won’t be able to relate and share sound advice and restrictions to follow. What you need as an online student is a pacing buddy. This person should be sharing in the same goals as you, a degree or certificate completion, and should also have the same level of motivation. Finding the right pairing is key to making this type of relationship work.
The first question to ask yourself is where should you start to look for a pacing buddy? There are several options, and don’t discount seeking out help from your student advisor.
- Re-read through the introductory posts from your peers in class. You could find a kindred spirit there!
- Contact your student advisor to see if they have a mentor network you can connect to.
- Get active on Facebook with other students in your school. Ask a simple crowdsourcing question like, “Who else is pursuing x, y, and z? Would like to connect to see how you’re doing in that program.”
Once you’ve found someone to share your accomplishments and class woes with, make plans to chat on a weekly basis. This can be through a chat session online, or if you’re both local make plans to meet for coffee with your classwork and notes on hand. Establish a short goal every week, and review them with your buddy. They’re there to keep you motivated, and to help you to stick to your goals. It’s like having a jogging buddy without the physical exertion; you’ll be exercising your brains instead. This person will also be there to call you out when you’re overworking yourself. Sometimes burnout is unavoidable, but with the help of a good home support system and a stable pacing buddy, it’s possible to maintain your sanity and a full class load.