Nothing Virtual About This Online Community

Nothing Virtual About This Online Community

I was nervous as I walked toward DuPont Circle. I was on my first trip to D.C. since becoming an online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication student at American University. I was in town to visit some old colleagues and meeting my current classmates was high on my priority list.

“Do you want to meet in DuPont Circle?” I asked one classmate in a text message, “I am only a few seconds away.” A few steps later I met my classmate and recurring project partner, and my nervousness instantly melted away. I felt like I had known her for a year.

D.C. in August is relatively a ghost town. Many of my fellow students were out of town taking advantage of the short break between classes, but a few of us planned to meet for dinner. Dinner was amazing. The conversation was not indicative of a group that was meeting in person for the first time. We shared “remember when” stories and post-graduation plans. We discovered common ground on all of the challenges of being a student while maintaining full-time employment.

The online discussion posts and other digital forums seem distantly cold at first, but the warmth of various personalities and the passion of people dedicated to professional development quickly dispelled that notion. Remaining with a cohort of students was one of the top reasons I applied to the American University’s Master of Arts in Strategic Communication program and it has proven to be one of the best attributes.

I have not met all of my classmates in person yet, but I feel as if I have. The sense of community developed over the course of the program is strong and I greatly value the relationships I have developed. I look forward to meeting all of my classmates in person at some point (graduation?), but even if I don’t get the chance, I know I can confidently count them as friends and colleagues.

To learn more about American University's online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication, request more information or call toll free at 855-725-7614.

  • About the Author

    Jackson McGehee

    Jackson McGehee is a veteran of both the Army and the Navy and is currently a Communications Strategist in Atlanta, Georgia. He studied International Affairs and Human Geography at the University of Georgia and graduated in 2009. Jackson is married to Teela and they have a three-year-old son named Reed and a one-year-old daughter named Libby. Learn more about Jackson here.