Moving away from home and going to college is a huge life transition. Many young adults struggle to find new friends and build relationships as they move to a brand new place. This article from Erin Moriarty, Loyola’s Dean of Undergraduate Admissions, will provide seven ways first-year college students can adjust more efficiently and avoid homesickness as they engage in campus life.
1. Join Student Government, the School Newspaper, or a Club
Every college campus has plenty of clubs that should pique your interest. You may want to participate in student government or work for the school paper. Even if you only join just one club or group, you’ll quickly meet other people with which you have something in common. This means that becoming friends will happen more naturally.
2. Play Intramural Sports
If you played sports in high school or you’ve wanted to learn a new sport, join an intramural team. Frequently, after a match, teammates and opponents alike will continue to hang out and get to know each other. You will not only get some good exercise, but you’ll also enjoy an excellent opportunity to socialize.
3. Participate in Community Service and Volunteering
Volunteering allows you to get involved and give back to the community. Plus, you will meet other students, faculty, and staff through these experiences. There are plenty of opportunities to participate in community service and help others in need. If you volunteered with an organization back home, there are likely similar service organizations on campus at your new university.
4. Participate in Greek Life
Joining a sorority or fraternity is a great way to find be part of a community that supports you. Many sororities and fraternities are the opposite of what you see in the movies or read about in books. Instead, they are filled with like-minded people that come together to improve society while sharing common interests.
5. Become a Tutor or Teaching Assistant
If the university’s academic side is a better fit for you, consider becoming a tutor or teaching assistant in the areas where you excel. Whether it’s a volunteer setup or something you can get paid for, becoming a TA can be a great way to interact with new people and branch out. You might be surprised who you will be able to connect with through an experience like this.
6. Apply for a Job on Campus
The majority of new college students need to get a part-time job to help them cover living expenses, so why not find a job on campus? There are often many options to choose from, and you can spend your time working with fellow students to whom you can relate. Most colleges now have online job posts, making it easier you to search for jobs, research, or internship opportunities.
7. Attend Special Lectures, Performances, and Presentations
Something is usually happening every night of the week on university campuses. Check event boards, websites, and community posts to see what sort of guest lecturers or presenters are coming to town and add the details into your calendar. Perhaps there is a new performance happening that everyone is talking about – go check it out!
Regardless of what you choose to do, the goal is to get yourself out and about. It might take more time and effort than it did in high school, but participating in campus life isn’t as hard as it seems once you give it a try! You will quickly realize that many students are just like you, looking to make new friends and create lasting memories.
About Erin Moriarty
Erin Moriarty, Loyola University Chicago’s Associate Vice President and Dean of Undergraduate Admissions, is passionate about students. She believes strongly in Loyola’s mission – to help mold young men and women to become leaders in today’s society and to seek God in all things. Outside of work, Erin can be found participating in Pedal the Cause or biking along the shores of Lake Michigan.