For many incoming college students, the social pressures of living on campus can be anxiety-provoking.
For the next four years students will be on campus and oftentimes taking classes with the same group of peers who make up their major. This puts an infinite amount of pressure on first-year students to create these connections before they miss out.
Not making friends within the first couple of weeks of the semester can make it feel like you have missed out on your chance. However, there are numerous ways to continue creating connections throughout your four years at Keene State.
One of the most popular ways students meet like-minded peers is by joining clubs and organizations. Lindsay Gibbons, a junior majoring in theater and dance, said, “I joined clubs to connect with people. Crew and dance have become a huge part of who I am. It’s definitely where I found my people.” With over one hundred clubs and organizations, three sororities, five fraternities and tons of clubs and intramural sports, most students find their niche at some point. This may happen in the first semester of college or it may be junior year, but seeking out connections is crucial to find others like you.
Besides clubs and organizations, there are a lot of ways that students can meet people as they go through their daily life. Julia Mitchell, a first-year, said, “Sometimes you are lucky enough to make connections in the elevator or in other random places. You just have to let it happen.”
Talking to others and allowing them to get to know your personality is an integral part of making connections on campus. Start a conversation with someone walking beside you on Appian Way, ask for help in a particularly challenging class or just hang around the Student Center and make yourself available to others.
While making connections will happen in your time at Keene State College, it is important to know that if you haven’t you are not alone. When asked about making meaningful connections with peers on campus, first-year Kiana Joler said, “I haven’t. Besides a couple of people in my hall, I don’t really think I have made many friends.”
This is more common than students think. A statistic from the Counseling Center states: “About half of the students aren’t making connections on campus. The problem is that nobody sees these students because they are often the ones withdrawing from events and social activities.” The students who are yearning to connect with others the most are often those who are the most hesitant to put themselves out there.
If you are finding yourself in the population of students who haven’t quite found their group on campus yet, don’t be afraid to engage in activities on campus. Join the Environmental Outing Club and take a hike up Mt. Monadnock, play club soccer or audition for a play.
There is a very good chance that there are others just like you on campus, but it takes a little bit of courage to find them. A good way to combat the fear of joining a new activity or attending an event is to bring someone you already know along with you; maybe your roommate or someone in your hall; maybe a student you met in your geography class.
Whatever it is, take the campus by storm and make it your own. It is your home and community for the next four years.
Meeghan Somerset can be
contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org