Beyond the Books: Finding a Social Circle

By Stephanie VanderVelden
Going away to college is anxiety ridden for a plethora of reasons. Being away from home, living in a new place, with new responsibilities, stacks of books, midterms, finals, the list goes on. But for many new students, loneliness is an issue. The task of finding a new group of friends is daunting. Resources on campus provide excellent opportunities for meeting people. Here are some ideas:
Take Advantage of Student Clubs
Student organizations and clubs are in abundance at most colleges and universities. Clubs are created by, made for, and run by students. Clubs cover a wide spectrum, so whatever interests you, is probably available. Whether it be politics, community service, movies, food, or sports, chances are there are other students passionate about the same things. Check out your college’s website for registered student organizations to find an interesting club. Or, if you don’t find what you’re looking for, you can start your own!

Work on Campus
Plenty of students work during their years in undergrad. While the pocket money is nice to have, working is also a great way to meet people. Having a job with flexible, or part time hours is preferable to make sure school comes first. Working in bars, coffee shops or retail stores can have late night, or early morning hours which makes finding time to study tricky. There are tons of jobs available to students on campus. Working in offices, campus dining areas, or at the campus gym can be a great way to immerse in campus life, while working flexible hours. Campus employers know that you need time to study, and work hours around your class schedule. An added bonus; your co-workers will, most likely, also be your classmates.
Go to study sessions
Professors, or programs on campus, usually offer review sessions before a big exam. These reviews can be helpful academically and socially. Plan an extra study session with some people you meet. Having friends in your class gives an opportunity for test prep, and you might meet someone you want to hang out with, without the books.
Eat in the dining room
With all the reading, writing and studying that needs to be done, it’s easy to grab a bite from the dining hall and run back up to your room to eat. But utilizing the dining room can be a great place to make friends. Everyone there is just like you; away from home, away from their friends, and new at college. Be brave and chat up some new people you meet at dinner. You never know who you may find.
Do laundry on campus
This one may seem silly, but it’s about being places where other students are. When you put yourself around other students, you will meet people. Depending on your college, there may be hundreds or thousands of freshmen entering each fall. Everyone is in the same boat. Do your laundry on campus, work out at the campus gym, go to campus events, be where other students are. Oh, and remember to have fun!