Back in the good ‘ole days it was strange, odd, and even frowned upon to create relationships in an online environment. A majority of the folks on the interwebs were allegedly 60-year-0ld creepers posing as teenagers. Even if they weren’t, it was still unbelievable that true relationships could be formed without actually “meeting” in a traditional sense. I remember seeing people frown and subtly shake their heads after someone announces that they’re utlizing an online dating platform. The Internet users that had met people online knew it was possible to form real friendships without actually meeting because they had done it. Those that doubted these people and thought they were crazy were people that hadn’t formed true relationships solely online. It was a situation where you couldn’t understand until you had actually experienced.
Personally, I never really believed that true friends could be met online. I was a doubter. My parents were strict when it came to Internet usage. I never had a chance to interact with other people I didn’t already know. Then, my junior year of high school, I began taking a large majority of my school courses online. The courses were great; I enjoyed the platform and the way they were set up. As I got into the program, I started joining online clubs that the virtual school offered. That’s where I met the friendliest, most engaging strangers ever. Through working on club project together, I bonded quickly with a big chunk of my online classmates. The beautiful thing about online learning is that there are no cliques; everyone is friendly with everyone. Looks of judgments don’t occur.
It’s been four years since I started those online clubs, and I’m still friends with many of the same people. Some of them I’ve met once or twice; others I’ve never met at all. I miss the days where we would wake up in the morning, log onto school from our respective locations, and immediately get on chat with each other… messaging thoughts and comments to each other as we do our school and occasionally procastinating. It was a different high school experience – but it was the best.