How to Feel More Connected on Campus
By Kelly Burch
Getting established in college can sometimes be a bumpy ride, but it’s not a solo journey. Connecting with other people and groups on campus who share your excitement, anxieties, and questions about the transition to college can make the adjustment easier. Here’s how to feel more connected and a little less alone at school.
Reach Out Before You Arrive
You can start building a support network before you set foot on campus, which will help you feel like you immediately have a connection and someone on campus you can go to.
- Connect with alumni from your high school who go to the college you’ll be attending. You can ask your high school guidance counselor who attends your new school and if anyone else from your graduating class is enrolling.
- Join the “Class of” Facebook page and other social media at your college.
- Attend an accepted students weekend or regional meet-up if there’s one scheduled in your area.
- Find out if your school offers summer bridge programs for first-generation or other groups of students
Get in touch with your roommate after the college shares their contact information with you.
Connect on Campus
Virtual connections are great, but you can really start engaging with people once you’re on campus.
- Introduce yourself to new people in your dorm and dining hall if you’re living on campus.
- Strike up conversations with classmates. Consider asking them to grab coffee or study together.
- Join group activities in your areas of interest, whether it’s theater, dance, academic clubs, fraternities and sororities, or intramural sports.
Be Patient With the Process
It may feel hard to make friends or you may feel that people aren’t getting to know the real you. If that happens, you aren’t alone and you’re not doing anything wrong. It’s impossible for a friend you met last week to understand you the same way your parents or best friends since childhood do. In the first semester of college, try to be patient with the process and remain open to new people, experiences, and opportunities to let people in and get to know you. With time, you will create a new group of friends who will make college feel like home.
Remember You’re Not Alone
When you watch groups of students laughing together in the dining hall or studying on the quad, you may think everyone has it figured out except you. Yet almost all first-year college students are in the same boat when they arrive on campus, navigating the sometimes awkward process of making new friends. It’s important to know that those feelings are normal, and they usually get better with time.
Building a new community can be hard. It often takes more time than we would like, but that’s OK. In the meantime, learn more about building connections and fighting loneliness on campus. And remember: Having support from your peers is important, but being alone has benefits too!