At this point in the year, many have found their “home” on campus. Some settled into a friend group composed of members of their dorm or suite. Others found the perfect match in a club or organization. Majors and classes bring out interests and can bring people with similar mindsets together. However, not everyone has completely settled into a group, and sometimes, college could begin to feel lonely, especially seeing everyone else part of something bigger. And loneliness can be hard to fight, and can cause you to retreat further into your shell. If the whole “getting involved” thing feels overwhelming, here are some tips for finding your niche on campus.
Open Your Door
If you’re finding that you’re having trouble connecting with the people in your suite or hall, this is one of the easiest ways to initiate possible friendships. And even if you’ve heard this a dozen times before, there’s a pretty good chance that you aren’t exactly applying it. For most of us, a closed door communicates the want to be left alone—and most of us respect this. So if you’re waiting for a suitemate or roommate to come and knock, take the initiative and keep your door open more often. Also, utilize common areas—do some light studying or reading, and if someone passes by, shoot them a quick hello, how are you? It’ll become easier and easier to begin connecting with those around you, and who knows—you may find a lifelong friend!
There are dozens upon dozens of clubs on campus. For nearly every interest, there is a corresponding group. The problem is actually figuring out what group is right for you and how to get involved. For a lot of people, it seems pointless to get involved at this point in the semester, but groups typically will welcome new members any time in the semester! Walk through the Quad occasionally, or check out the Get Involved website for a list of clubs. And if you think that the weekly meeting thing will be burdensome, don’t worry if you miss the occasional meeting. The best thing about clubs is that they are typically casual, and act as a way for students to take a break from the stress of classes and life. So find one or two that you will have lots of fun with, and check it out!
Practice Self Care
Sometimes, school can feel extremely overwhelming. It’s important to take care of yourself so that you can be at your best at all times! When you’re feeling sad, stressed or overwhelmed, it can be hard to connect with friends or groups. Therefore, be sure to step back from school work and your responsibilities every once in awhile. Whether this consists of a day spent watching Netflix, escaping into a good book or focusing on a hobby for a while, doing something that makes you truly happy is a great way to keep yourself mentally well. As college students, this aspect of life is often overlooked, and occasional reminders are always nice.
Know When to Get Help
Some people are naturally shy, and may need more time to adjust to college than others. However, if you find yourself overcome with anxiety more days than not, or have feelings of depression for longer than two weeks, you may want to look into University Health Services. They offer great counselling services which can be scheduled by appointment. The Oasis Room is also available for students. The Oasis Room is a relaxing space that can help destress or ease anxiety. In the long run, your happiness is most important! If seeking help is necessary, there is no shame in that!
Becoming involved on campus may seem like second nature to some, but some of us need a little extra help. From keeping an open door to finding a club on campus, finding a place where you feel like you belong is very important. Remember to take care of yourself this semester and remember that your happiness and comfort comes first!