Getting Connected on Campus
You are at a new school surrounded by new people and unfamiliar buildings… How do you get connected?
Most college campuses have different Welcoming Events geared toward helping you get connected on campus. These can be cookouts, clubs/organization fairs, convocations, housing events, festivals, etc. Attending these events are not only fun but are breeding grounds for meeting new people! These events are good for creating new friendships while offering information about clubs and student organizations, intramural sports, campus events and traditions, and even the cool campus hangout spots.
It’s important to step out of your comfort zone and get connected early! Although this may be natural for some people, here’s a few tips to make it easier for you:
- Mingle with your roommate and/or suitemates! Chances are, you are both new to campus, so it might benefit you to explore together. Adjusting to campus is less intimidating when you realize that you are not the only one. As you explore together, you’ll likely meet more people who are in the same boat, which will quickly build your network of friends on campus.
- Join Clubs or Organizations! This is a great way to meet people who share the same interests as you. In high school, it is much easier to join and participate in a lot of clubs and organizations than it is in college. Remember, you are a full-time student once your classes start, so you must devote your time to your studies. Keeping this in mind, you want to choose your extracurricular activities carefully. Participate in the activities that interest you the most. It might be wise to test 1-2 clubs/organizations during your first semester to see how well you balance extracurriculars with your courses. Also, try to find clubs and organizations that are similar to the ones that were offered in your high school. This would probably be the best way to transition.
- Attend sporting events! Students can attend sporting events for free at most colleges. If you’re particularly interested in sports, go check out the sports’ teams at your school. Build your school pride while creating new memories. This can also be an opportunity for you to bond with any new friends that you have met on campus.
- Introduce yourself to professors in the first week of classes! Even in larger class settings, professors will more than happy to meet you. If you are particularly interested in the topics that will covered in the course, this will be your opportunity to pick the brains of an expert and make the best of your classroom experience. Most colleges require professors to hold office hours, which can serve as a time for students to visit and get additional help with class material or ask questions. You can even utilize office hours to get to know your professor better and develop a relationship that may help in the future!
- Utilize your academic adviser! Most colleges will assign academic advisers to students to help navigate the college curriculum and courses. They are there to help you (much like your high school college adviser), so take the time to go and visit them. They will be able to assist you with things like deciding on a major, dropping and adding classes, and talking through your plans for the future if you just develop a relationship with them.
- Explore campus for key buildings and know what they have to offer. College campuses come equipped with key buildings that can help you get connected physically, spiritually, socially, and academically. Know the locations of the residence halls and whether they contain any special populations, s/a all freshman, Spanish house, honors, etc. This can help you connect with people of similar interests. Some key buildings can help you network and/or supply you with living essentials, such as the cafeteria(s), the gym(s) or campus recreation centers, or student health/nurse’s office. Locate the buildings that can help you with academic success, such as writing centers, math help center, chemistry help center, etc. Often times these buildings offer tutoring sessions or events geared toward academic success. Most importantly, locate your student union- this is usually a “social hub” for students to interact with one another.
Those were just a few tips to get you started, but there a tons of ways to get plugged into your campus. Just relax, explore, and have a wonderful year!