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How Do I Still Get Involved in My Community If I'm Doing College Online?

How Do I Still Get Involved in My Community If I'm Doing College Online?

Many students have chosen to do online school this year. In fact, at most colleges, in person classes have become rarer and rarer.

Unless the class absolutely needs the students to meet in person, or the school cannot feasibly do an all-online format, most students going to University this year will do so from their bedrooms or couches.

As many of us have noticed, college students or not, the online format has had many benefits. But at the same time, the all-online interactions, and the dismal news about the pandemic, has turned many of us agoraphobic.

Can we still engage with our community from the comfort of our homes? Does community engagement require us to step into the outside world? 

In this article, we’ll dive into some practical ways to engage in the community whilst balancing online school during a pandemic. Of course, this won’t be able to cover all of the ways you can plug into the community, but it does offer a few examples of some primers on how to start.

A Caveat

We should mention that some people have opted to do online school because someone in their household cannot go into public without a possible high compromise to the virus.

Whether we have a parent who is immunocompromised, or a family member who works on the front lines, and we don’t want to expose other people to the possibility of an infection, many will stay at home to avoid infecting others, or possibly contaminating those closest to them. 

With this in mind, this article will attempt to propose ways to engage with the community whilst quarantining. In any socially-distanced but still in public example, I will provide alternatives on how to engage from home.

Ways to Get Involved with Your Local Church

Although many churches have had portions of their congregations return for Sundays, many have not had its members within its sanctuary again. And we haven’t even discussed various groups such as singles ministry, youth group, or men’s ministry that likely have too high of numbers to meet the social distancing guidelines. 

Many churches have provided online outlets for their members. In addition to doing sermons online, many have offered online youth group Zoom sessions, college outreaches, and more.

Those pursuing online school who want to stay at home should reach out to their local church and ask what ways they can get involved in online ministry.

If the church has limited online options, ask if you can spearhead a ministry. No doubt, you’ll help the church staff who is already stretched incredibly thin (most people on church staff end up doing the jobs of five people) and you can help create an outreach to those who need to hear the Gospel.

Scripture encourages us to continue to gather together (Hebrews 10:25).

This doesn’t necessarily mean gathering in person. Because we have the internet, we have the extraordinary ability to connect with believers from all over the world.

If your church allows for it, and you can leave your house, many have found ways to plug into local ministries whilst exercising COVID precautions. Find a ministry you’d love to be a part of and contribute your time to them.

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/jacoblund.jpg 

Ways to Get Involved in Extracurriculars

No doubt, most colleges have cancelled any extracurriculars that involved non-social-distancing practices. Even choirs wear masks now, if choirs convene at all, and most sports programs won’t see a season.

Nevertheless, communities have found ways to have activities or performances whilst online.

For instance, in my local community, we have an online theater troupe. They audition, host practices, and perform plays within weeks via Zoom. If you have an affinity for the arts, find similar groups in your area.

If you can’t find one, create a group that can cater to the needs of the community. Many chorale groups have met over Zoom. Similar to Eric Whitacre, you can host a virtual choir. 

For those reading this who have an affinity for sports, despair not. Many recreational sports teams still meet from practices or scrimmages, whilst exercising COVID precautions (checking temperatures, etc.). 

Find local sports groups in your area and join one. 

Of course, for those who stay at home, sports are a little difficult to participate in if you never leave the house. Consider alternatives such as online workout groups or even online video game groups, if you enjoy playing those. The gaming community offers the ability to meet several new friends and ways to connect with those you may not have had the chance to due to distance.

Others Ways to Get Involved in a Community

Libraries. They offer dozens of programs for both children and adults in the community ranging from specialized classes to fun online activities. Check out your local branches and find events that tickle your fancy. 

You can also get involved in your community by hosting online ministries for your college. Often colleges will have Facebook groups for those in the incoming class. Post a question asking if anyone would like to have a worship night, or a game night. Although many colleges may have in person ministries such as Navigators or Delight, they may not have as many options for those who only attend online. 

Much of finding ways to engage is by creating them. Most of us haven’t figured out this new normal yet, and often crave groups to engage in. 

Why Does it Matter that I Should Get Involved in my Community?

This pandemic has isolated many of us. And once we’ve grown accustomed to one way of living, it grows harder to adapt to new changes.

Nevertheless, Satan thrives when we isolate ourselves and don’t interact with others. After all, two are better than one (Ecclesiastes 4). If we don’t plug into our community, meet new people, and share the Gospel, we neglect our calling here on earth to spread the good news to all peoples.

We can still create pockets of community, even from our own homes. Who knows? Maybe we’ll reach out to or meet someone whom we may have never had to the chance before because they live in another state or country.

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Max Kegfire


headshot of author Hope BolingerHope Bolinger is a multi-published novelist and a graduate of Taylor University's professional writing program. More than 1,200 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer's Digest to Keys for Kids. She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. Her modern-day Daniel trilogy is out with IlluminateYA. She is also the co-author of the Dear Hero duology, which was published by INtense Publications. And her inspirational adult romance Picture Imperfect releases in November of 2021. Find out more about her at her website.




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