Linked: BSW students create support group to stay connected outside the digital classroom
The COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed how we work, play and interact with one another. For our social work students, the fully digital world of Zoom courses and field internships brought on feelings of isolation and increased stress. In response, the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) class of 2022 came together to form an online student community for support and increased awareness on ways to stay connected in the new socially distanced landscape.
Founded by BSW student Austin Ash in December 2020, the BSW Support Group initially provided an outlet for students who were taking their full course load online due to COVID mitigation measures. Typically, students in each course form a group chat to connect outside of the classroom throughout the semester. The chat is then deleted at the conclusion of each semester. The chats for the fall 2020 co-hort of BSW students were so engaging and supportive beyond the typical homework questions, that students began to wonder if more could be done to stay connected.
As I progressed in the program, I began to see the world through the lens of a social worker and needed the support of a group of likeminded people who understood what I was going through. Keeping each other motivated, especially when we feel like giving up, was a lifesaver. This is not just a group; it has really become a family. – BSW Support Group Member Tiffany Tahjmom
An April 2020 Active Minds survey stated that over 80% of college students reported COVID-19 as having impacted their lives through increased isolation, stress, and sadness. In addition, 63% have found it challenging to stay connected to others during the pandemic. A sense of community and tangible supports are integral in overcoming obstacles and achieving goals. The need for the additional support provided by the BSW Support Group daily chats has extended beyond the initial COVID crisis and continues currently as an integral part of ongoing undergraduate student-led initiatives.
This support group chat enabled us to form a tight community full of information regarding the program. Everyone is so nonjudgmental and helpful as we lean on each other throughout semesters. We have surpassed the label of classmates and are now friends, even creating group t-shirts to represent our bond that grew against all odds. As one of our members said, “we da bomb”. – BSW Support Group Member Katherine Woznicki
With the return of campus life, the BSW Support Group hopes to come together in person at small-group campus gatherings and recently joined fellow social work students at the annual School of Social Work summer Ice Cream Social (photograph above). BSW students interested in joining the group can email current BSW Support Group Member, Katherine Woznicki at email@example.com.