It's just a hop, skip, and a jump to finding your people.
There’s a lot to consider when committing (or transferring) to a new university. Location, rank, and major offerings are all important but a school’s social atmosphere can also play a big role in your decision. Schools nestled in college towns encompassing cultures of weekend tailgates and diverse club events are easily appealing while smaller, modest commuter campuses often draw more skepticism than they do allure. How can commuter schools possibly hope to compete with those huge and lively campuses?
On paper, they can’t. However, that doesn’t mean it’s any less possible to make friends and create fun memories there. No matter where you end up studying, here are some surefire ways to break into your university’s social sphere!
Talk to your classmates
No matter the class size or subject, it’s always possible to find someone to study with or simply relate to about the all-nighter you just pulled to finish the latest assignment. While it may seem difficult to take the first step and introduce yourself, you’d be surprised to discover how many other students are just as eager to make new friends; all it takes is turning around and saying “hey!”
Take classes that relate to your interests
It’s impossible to get to know everyone in a large lecture hall. But, over time, as I’ve enrolled in more courses that were tailored to my major or other interests, I’ve noticed that my class sizes have shrunken significantly. Moreover, I’ve also found that many of the other students in those classes were just as passionate about the course material as I was, which made talking with them so much easier.
Whether it’s a major requirement or an extracurricular, I would definitely recommend enrolling in a course that relates to your interests during your time in college; not only is it a good way to sharpen your skills or practice your hobbies, it’s also an excellent way to find students who share your interests.
Though clubs generally have professional, academic, cultural, or philanthropic purposes, they also serve as major social hubs bringing students across disciplines together. It’s never too late to explore your university’s club options; whether you catch a general interest meeting or wander into a weekly meeting, joining a club can bring so much color to your campus life.
Spend time on campus outside of class
The easiest mistake commuter students can make is only staying on campus for the duration of their classes. I did this the first semester after I transferred to my commuter school but soon discovered that the more I lingered on campus, the harder it was for me to leave it. Just by being there, I was able to hear about so many new and upcoming opportunities or, more often than not, bump into classmates and grab lunch or study together.
Keep up with campus news
Even if you make the effort to speak to your classmates or explore your college’s extracurricular offerings, it’s impossible to truly be aware of everything that’s happening there. But, reading your school’s newspaper and the student bulletins peppered throughout the halls lets you catch up on anything you might have missed out on seeing.
Starting fresh in a new school can be daunting but no matter the type of campus you attend, commuter or residential, it’s not impossible to find yourself and make new connections there. When it comes to it, there is no such thing as a true “social” or “antisocial” campus; friends can be found anywhere.
WRITTEN BY Addie Joseph Baruch College in Manhattan
After earning her ears at Disney, Addie moved on to study Journalism, Creative Writing, and Photography at Baruch College in Manhattan. She is interning for Macmillan Learning as a Student Ambassador, but in her spare time, you can find her tucked away in a café, crafting stories or editing photos and videos, with earbuds fixed firmly in her ears. Don’t be afraid to interrupt and say hello; she always enjoys meeting new friends (and perhaps indulging them with music recommendations too)!