Transitioning into college life is already difficult for individuals under normal circumstances. But, coupled with a pandemic, it can seem impossible! College is a time where many of us are learning what our strengths are, trying to find where we belong and ultimately discovering who we truly are. Our community and social interactions are a big part in shaping these aspects. So what should we do in this season of social distancing and virtual community? Will we miss out on forming these important relationships, or are there ways we can still connect safely?
Here are 5 ways that you can make connections during a pandemic.
- Join a Club
So many organizations are available right on campus and tailored to a variety of interests. Plus, you do not have to be majoring in a field to be a part of an organization. It is an opportunity to try new things and learn more about your strengths and weaknesses without having any academic risks. Not only that, but you can find like-minded individuals who share your passion for writing, constructing or whatever activity you enjoy. Even during this rare time during the COVID-19 outbreak, organizations are still functioning with the hopes of safely joining virtually or in-person in smaller groups.
- Join a Faith Community
Some churches or college ministries might have opportunities to join small groups. Even if you do not have a particular faith, it is important to be surrounded by people who are willing to support you during our college journey and help us wrestle with deep questions. Small groups can be a great opportunity to strengthen your faith or provide you with the positive community we all need during this turbulent time. Don’t be afraid to explore faith-based organizations until you find one right for you!
- Be the Initiator
Unfortunately, opportunities do not come easily to meet new individuals and make new connections as before. Therefore, it takes a little more effort on your part to initiate the conversation. Ask someone if they are interested in grabbing lunch with you or just ask them how their day was going. Something as simple as including others in your group or conversation makes a difference!
- Organize a Study Group
Even if you are not part of a Living Learning Community, there are ways you and your classmates can collaborate in a small study group. You could meet outside to ensure social distancing or find a way you could virtually gather. Sometimes, these opportunities can be used not only to receive help on last night’s Calculus homework but can be opportunities for meaningful conversations and connections.
Not only would exercising with a partner make it a little less awkward in public, but it will also keep you accountable! If you have a specific goal in mind (running 30 minutes a day, for example), it may help that you find a person who is willing to meet that goal with you. On those days you feel unmotivated, this person can encourage you to keep at it. Additionally, exercising is not only a healthy activity, but it can become a social one. Invite someone you meet to go to the rec center or invite them on a jog around campus, just be sure to social distance when you do.
Whether freshman or senior, we all can find simple ways to safely connect with those around us during this time.