Make the First Step: How to Connect with Intention

As incoming students prepare for a virtual Fall semester at MSP, some may be wondering if they will still connect with their cohort in a meaningful way. In this week’s blog, Carrie Pyeatt, Coordinator of Admissions & Student Engagement, is encouraging everyone to make connection a priority and explains how to get started.

The effects of COVID-19 have rippled through each of our lives, both taking away and opening up opportunities that might not have been. 

The start of the semester would normally have been a time where you hop in your car, drive the route to Farmington Hills and enter into our beautiful Atrium to have your first day of orientation or class.  With many things, this has been removed from the realm of safe possibilities. 

My challenge to you all is to not let this change in scenery be a defining feature for what you gain from the MSP experience. 

At MSP, our students often make life-long bonds with many of their fellow classmates.  This is obtained from lots of personal sharing during class, eating meals together, studying together, and going through the same journey of personal growth.  Just because classes are remote first semester, this does not mean that all of these things cannot still take place.  The main difference now, is you all need to be a bit more intentional. 

I strongly encourage you to make it a priority to get everything you can out of the program, including building friendships with your classmates and getting to know your professors.  You can do this by:

  • Reaching out to a fellow student who said something interesting in class
  • Making an announcement during class that you are going to study for a test the next day and if anyone would like to join you, you can send them a Zoom link
  • Attend MSP virtual events
  • Join a MSP student organization
  • Plan a virtual game night and invite your classmates
  • Find a classmate that lives close to you and invite them on a socially distant walk outside in the park
  • Participate in research opportunities at MSP
  • Ask a professor to meet via Zoom to chat about something you have questions about or are passionate about
  • And much more…

The point is, we get in our own way a lot of the times when it comes to making relationships with others.  We are nervous that people will say no to an invitation, or that people won’t want to do the fun activity you are offering, or that people are too busy for you. 

The reality is, sure, there are people who will say no, but you will also find the people who say yes and want to spark that relationship as much as you do.  And if your cohort decides that it is a priority to not let COVID derail the possibility of having lasting connections, then you will see more and more people saying yes. 

If this sounds like something that requires too much vulnerability – good! Part of being an MSP student is learning to be vulnerable and be okay with it.  Consider it your first step in that lesson. 

So pick one of the options above, or create your own, and just do it!  Don’t think too much about it, just reach out to someone and make some plans.

Carrie Pyeatt is Coordinator of Admissions & Student Engagement at MSP.