What if this season we’re in is not just an ordeal or drudgery? What if it’s one of the best classes we’ll ever enroll in? What if our goal coming out of it was not just to survive, but to be more of the people we were created to be?
If that’s what we’re shooting for, our classmates matter. Yes, our teachers and mentors have a huge effect on us. But our classmates are integral to our learning experience. They’re the people who are deep in the learning process with us. We learn vicariously from their experience. We pick each other up when one of us wants to quit. Our perspectives expand as we see the world from their point of view.
Anyone who has been to college knows this. Your professors are hugely important. But your classmates bring something to the experience that no single mentor ever could.
This upheaval has given us the opportunity to re-examine our peer group. What if we looked through our LinkedIn connections not for those we can leverage, but for people we’d like to rub off on us? Some may be similar to us. But some should be very different from us.
I’ve been part of a few virtual gatherings with these sorts of people in the past several weeks. I regularly marvel how people who work in different industries and locations and levels of companies can quickly gain value from a group of classmates, eager to learn.
You can start this today. It’s as simple as asking yourself how you can be a good classmate to the people on your calendar this week. Do that for two weeks and your curated crew of classmates will start to emerge.
Together, you each have a shot at becoming your best selves as a result of this crisis. Take your shot. That will be a great gift to all of us.