Starting college brings many mixed feelings. All at once you feel the excitement and fear of a new chapter, the ambiguity and expectation of the “college experience”, along with the relief and pressure of preparing for your future career. And yet, in the midst of all these emotions, we find ourselves seeking to get the most out of our college years by asking the familiar question: “How do I get involved”?
I asked the same question my freshman year, and three colleges later (that’s a story for another time…), I have taken away five practical ways I find it easiest to get involved, ensuring that you make the most of the relationships and opportunities around you.
- Say Yes!
The first few weeks of school are exhausting. However, despite how tired I may feel, I always challenge myself to “say yes” to every invite or event that I hear about. Am I completely exhausted by the end? Absolutely. Have I met so many new people in by participating in the events offered? You bet.
Fight the urge to rest and get out of your comfort zone. By doing this, you can familiarize yourself with the opportunities on campus, the school itself, and the people that you will be doing life with for the next four years.
- Be Intentional
During the first month of school, it is easy to feel overwhelmed at the number of people you come into contact with. It is within this time that being intentional is key. Throughout this season of meeting new people, I find myself saying, “I don’t think we’ve officially met, but my name is Alexa!” repeatedly to people I would often see around campus. Once I got their name, I would later write it down in a note tab on my phone so that I would remember and be able to greet them the next time I saw them. Remembering the name of someone seems small, but it can open doors for a blossoming friendship. You’d be surprised how different a “Hey!” is when you use someone’s name with it.
- Be a Social Butterfly
Of course, with school comes assignments and studying. Although there aretimes in which you need to lock yourself away in your room to study or complete projects, that isn’t necessarily a “must” for all tasks. I have met so many people while doing small assignments at coffee shops, the library, or popular study-spots on campus. By being around people, you run into familiar faces to converse with, as well as new people you get the chance to meet. Whether you’re finishing a worksheet for class or making flashcards for an exam you have coming up, be sure to take advantage of the facilities on campus. Don’t limit yourself to your dorm room!
- Stay Connected
Stay updated with what’s happening on and around campus! Check your email regularly and pay attention to any announcements. On top of that, be diligent to write in your calendar. By updating your schedule, you can see what weeks will be busy for you and what weeks you have more free time- making it easier for you to commit to certain events while also prioritizing school. For me, the hardest thing about being in college is saying no. And as much as you would like to go to all the events happing on campus, help yourself out by planning ahead. Once you know you’re able to go to an event, take a roommate, suitemate, or any other friend with you! The more the merrier, right?
As much as it may seem like you only have a certain amount of time to get involved- you have your entire college career to do so. So, save yourself the discouragement of not being an automatic social butterfly and give yourself grace in knowing that you are not alone. Everyone is in the same boat you are in. Feel free to start conversations, initiate hello’s, and invite people to come with you to events on campus. After all, strangers are only friends we haven’t met yet.
Alexa Miller is a senior Psychology major and intern for the Marketing and Communications Department.Return to Blog Archive