The myths of socialization in online learning have long been debunked, but the question still remains: what does socialization in an online high school actually look like?
For ASU Prep Digital senior Hannah Stewart, it looks like joining clubs that align with her interest, taking on leadership roles, and becoming a role model for other students in the community.
Coming from a traditional school background, the transition to online learning actually allowed Stewart to explore different ways of socializing and set her own boundaries.
“I’m an ambivert, so while I like being around people, school could be emotionally draining for me on the days I just wasn’t feeling the whole ‘being social’ thing,” Stewart said. “As an online student, I have clubs a few times a week and message with other students every few days, but I have the freedom to recharge when I need to, allowing me to be the best version of myself.”
As one of the first students to enroll at ASU Prep Digital, Stewart has made extracurricular activities a priority of her high school experience, immersing herself in the ASU Prep Digital community.
“My first year I joined the pen pal club and book club,” Stewart said. “I went on to become the president of the photography/yearbook club last year, and now I’m the president of student government and a writer for the student newspaper!”
Stewart likes keeping busy, but socialization is more than that for her—it’s a way to connect with like-minded peers and be a part of something bigger than herself.
“I like having a sense of community within a club,” Stewart said. “You see the same people every week, and you’re all invested in the same thing. You start to develop inside jokes and learn more about each other, so by the time you meet physically, you already know each other well.”
Stewart lives in South Korea, making it difficult to attend in-person events. But with senior year coming to a close, they’ll be a few opportunities worth making the trip to Arizona.
“I am so excited to meet everyone at the end of the year when I go to Arizona for my graduation,” Stewart said. “And student government may be planning another event that will be a lot of fun to attend!”
For those who are on the fence about online learning because of the socialization component, Stewart makes it clear that just like in a traditional school, it’s up to each individual to make the effort to be social and active in their school community.
“A lot of people are turned off of online school because they think it just involves holing up with your computer all day,” Stewart said. “By making an effort, joining clubs, and actively participating, I’ve been able to make some great friends and keep myself from getting lonely. I’ve never felt like I was at a disadvantage because of my desire to receive the right kind of education for me.”
Interested in learning more about how socialization works at ASU Prep Digital? Be sure to check out our next blog post where we’ll talk about ASU Prep Digital community events, student clubs, and more! In the meantime, sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date on all things ASU Prep Digital.