During my first few days in the United States, I was struggling to engage and connect with people. Eventually, I met students who shared the same interests and hobbies with me and had a group of people I could call my friends.
Later on, I started to think of the hardest thing about being new at a university or college. For most freshmen students, I think it is being isolated and feeling lonely while they are adapting to a new environment and don’t know anyone. Based on this, I came up with an idea with my friends and called it the “Digital Collaboration Platform” to connect isolated/lonely students on campus by using the Myers Briggs personality test, along with questions to figure out what kind of person the student is and what kind of students they want to meet.
My friends and I have added more questions to find appropriate matches based on similar hobbies, interests, academic background, and the type of person. Because we’ve been working with no budget and without any financial support, we decided to use Google Forms to collect data about the students who are looking for new friends. We are currently using video chat applications like WhatsApp, Messenger, Skype, and Zoom to create connections between isolated students and those who want to offer help. And instead of using dating applications like “Tinder” that let you find other people based on superficial factors only, our idea enhanced this concept and made the matches based on deeper factors, allowing isolated students to engage more and expand their network with other students.
We believe this is a great concept! Everyone has felt that they needed to be connected to someone or felt lonely at some point. Digital Collaboration Platform is applicable and useful for just about everyone; no matter what interests you have or what you’re looking for, you can always find someone to talk to. You can discuss your favorite Netflix show or a new video game that you like…anything is possible.
Now, with the gaps that the global pandemic has made in our lives because of the cancellation of all kinds of events and activities, my friends and I are exploring the idea of a university time bank for sharing expertise. So, you give help with what you’re good at and get help with what you need. It is so easy to feel down and negative, but with some motivation and the exchange of skills, we can add positivity and help students to stay connected.
Written by Mohammad Darras (Jordan) who studied at the University of Missouri – St. Louis in Spring 2020.