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6 Ways to Stay Involved when Living Off-Campus

When I thought about college my senior year of high school, a big part of what I had in mind about what college was all about was the dorms. The community bathrooms, the twin bed crammed beside a stranger’s, sneaking your friend past the front desk because you are too lazy to check them in. This is college. Despite its flaws, dorm life had its perks. I lived in an entire building filled with people going through the same big changes in life that I was, and that building was in an environment designed to support me through that change. 

Now I know that those of you reading this that are actually living in a dorm right now are probably shaking their heads and thinking about all your scary, awkward, or embarrassing current dorm moments, but living off-campus is a whole different beast. 

As a lot of upperclassmen know, the beauty of living outside the realm of student housing is the freedom, but the downside is the sometimes disconnectedness from no longer living on-campus. From a house, an apartment, or a cabin in the woods, everyone’s off campus experience becomes less of a “we’re all in this together” mentality and more of a “every man for himself” kind of thing. If you want to attend on campus events, you have to commute, and half the time you don’t even know they’re happening. 

Here are some ideas for you to stay involved on campus while living off-campus:

Join Clubs.

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Clubs are always a great option for meeting new people, especially those with similar interests. Do you love fashion?  Join the fashion club at your school! And if you don’t have one, start one! Make new friends and build your resume while staying involved with campus life. 

Get An On-Campus Job.

This is another great way to kill two birds with one stone (I wish there were a more lighthearted metaphor): make money and spend more time on campus. This gives you the opportunity to become even more connected with some of your favorite places across campus.

Start A Study Group.

Classes can be tough, and professors aren’t always there to help. A good solution is to start a study group with some people from class. You can meet up on campus, or even at someone else’s dorm so you can reminisce. Still having trouble? Talk with your professors for out of the classroom help.

Find Internships Or Research Opportunities.

Since UofSC is a research university, you already know there is no shortage of these kinds of opportunities at our school. There’s plenty of information available for opportunities like these on the UofSC website. 

Be On The Lookout For Free Events.

Even though you’re not always there to spontaneously run into a free taco truck event on the Horseshoe, that doesn’t mean it’s not happening. Make sure you sign-up to receive information on campus events, like through the carolina productions email service.

Just Be On Campus.

Despite what you might think, you don’t always need an excuse to be on campus. The Horseshoe has plenty of nice study or picnic spots. The library is always an option for a guaranteed quiet space. The brick pathways are perfect to run on. Starbucks always has coffee! Just because you don't live on campus doesn’t mean you’re not a valued student at your university, and you should always feel welcome on your campus.

One of the things about our current situation is that a lot of people are feeling disconnected. If you’re living off campus this year, know that you’re not alone in feeling however you might be feeling. And if you’re worried about meeting people in person, many clubs meet online. Get creative and stay involved!

Camryn Teder

South Carolina '22

Camryn is a media arts major at the University of South Carolina. She loves Gus Dapperton, indie films, and her two dachshunds Gretchen and Heidi. You can find her laughing with friends over coffee, listening to Lily Allen on repeat, or day dreaming about Chicago.
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