6 Ways to Stay Connected to Your Alma Mater

College. We spent months choosing it and even more anticipating when it would come. While there, we enjoyed years of opportunity, learning and fun. But before we knew it (or were ready), we were walking across a stage with that all-important piece of paper. With our college days behind us and post-graduation realities hitting hard, it can be difficult to let go of the place we called home for four years. But never fear! Just because we’re no longer students doesn’t mean we can’t stay connected to our schools. Here are six ways to maintain a relationship with your alma mater.

1. Join the alumni association

If you’re hoping to stay connected to your school, the best way to do so is through your alumni association. Every school has a network of alumni that keeps former students connected to each other, to current students and to the institution. Julia Kelliher, who works for Boston University Development and Alumni Relations, describes how BU alumni can stay connected. “We offer many different networking opportunities for alumni whether it is regional or affinity networks an alum may be interested in. Alumni weekend, events, and various volunteer opportunities also provide ways for alumni to stay active within the BU community,” she says. Check in with your school’s alumni association to find events and opportunities near you.

For millennials, finding and keeping up with alumni groups is easier than ever with websites and online networks that help keep you in the loop. Kelliher explains, “The Alumni Online Community in particular helps facilitate keeping alumni connected to the school.” You may also consider joining your school’s alumni community on LinkedIn.

Many recent alumni choose to make this first step to staying connected. Morgan Dux, a 2015 graduate of Juniata College, says, “I'm staying connected to Juniata College through a local alumni chapter.” Meanwhile, Saniya Khan, a 2015 graduate of Molloy College, echoes, “I am a part of the Alumni Business Group as well as the Molloy College Alumni Association.” Indeed, an alumni association is an aspect of university life that allows a real relationship with your school even after you’ve left!

2. Go to a sports game

There’s something special about the camaraderie of college sporting events. Cheering for a common cause, watching your classmates compete against a rival college and tailgating before the game make up some of the best memories you have. While you may no longer be welcome in the student section, that doesn’t mean you can’t head to a game—even after graduating. Gather your friends and relive those adrenaline-filled hours while you cheer on your team! 

If you’ve moved away from your alma mater, check to see if your school is playing at a local college; it's a fun way to stay connected when you’re far from your old stomping grounds!

3. Go back for a walk around campus

If you live close by, what better way to stay connected then heading over to campus and visiting your favorite spots? Maybe the fall foliage is to die for or that coffee shop is the only place you can get your favorite drink. While it’s important not to dwell in the past, a trip back to those familiar places might be just what you need on those days you’re feeling extra nostalgic. Maybe you’ll run into your favorite professor or see the security guard who always asked you about your day. A quick tour around the campus can help you feel not quite as removed from the glory days!

4. Volunteer

Volunteering with your alma mater is a great way to stay involved and your school’s alumni association can help you find those opportunities. Many schools offer options for established and experienced alumni to mentor younger students and alumni. This is a great way to both further your career and keep in touch with fellow graduates. Even if you’re not near campus, you can still get involved with prospective student events in your local area.

Saniya has already gone back to volunteer at her alma mater. “I was a business major and every summer the Division of Business hosts a Business Boot Camp for high school juniors that is partly run by the business students," she says. "This June I went back to help out with the workshops and was also a panelist for one of the sessions.” Working with the next generation of students not only keeps you in the loop but is also very rewarding!

5. Go back for more

If you miss your college days so much you can’t stand it (and would even survive finals again to experience it all one more time), there’s always the option of grad school. Furthering your career and getting you back in the classroom, grad school allows you to be back on campus for another few years. However, the experience will be quite different from your undergrad days and may give you a different perspective of the school. But if you simply must have more time in those hallowed halls, get studying for your GREs and head back for another degree!

If that type of commitment isn't your thing, see if your school will allow you to audit classes, or if they offer courses on continuing education programs. This allows you to get in the classroom without dedicating the time and money to another degree.

6. Stay involved with your campus’ chapter of Her Campus

Your time at Her Campus was probably one of the best things about being an undergrad. Staying connected to your chapter, and keeping up with Her Campus online, will help you feel connected to your alma mater by allowing you to guide the next generation of Campus Correspondents, allowing you to maintain a relationship with students and alumni from your school. Saniya is putting this into action: “I helped launch my school's Her Campus chapter this past spring semester, so I also just attended Her Conference to take notes and help the remaining team get as much information as possible out of all the workshops. I am in touch with next year's two CCs and help them out with any ideas or suggestions.”

It’s hard to let go of those four years, but just because we aren't current students doesn’t mean we’re no longer part of our school’s community. Even though we may not live on campus or go to class, there are still ways to maintain a connection. You’ll always be a [insert mascot here]!