It’s normal to feel awkward, lost, confused, homesick, lonely (along with so many other emotions!) when you’re in college. This fall semester especially is a huge adjustment. We have been living in isolation so long it may be even harder than usual to start or re-start a social life. Lots of students are struggling to feel connected on campus this semester – whether they admit it to you or not.
Here are some tips from students like you that helped them adjust and make students feel a bit more connected to campus.
- You aren’t alone. Lots of people feel the same way as you, even if they aren’t talking about it. You are not the only one who is having a difficult time. This is a transition for everyone and it can be overwhelming.
- Keep your door open. Whether your residence hall room door, your office door, your carrel – the “window” to the rest of the world leaves space for some interactions that might not otherwise happen.
- Find a space on campus that you enjoy. This could be a tree to study under, a favorite spot in the library, the Union, or an office on campus, such as the LGBTQ Center or Women’s Center.
- Talk to people in your classes. Did someone ask a thought-provoking question in the discussion? Tell them so—it can lead to a great conversation that you can continue over lunch or coffee. Also, forming study groups is a great way to get to know people while also helping each other.
- Join a club or organization. Getting involved is one of the best ways to meet people. In addition to being a place of higher education, college is also an ideal time to try something new or connect with people who have similar interests. Check out a sport, service or political organization, or a religious or cultural group on campus. Joining a club or organization gives you an opportunity to meet friends who have similar interests, and for many clubs you can join at any point throughout the year. HeelLife.unc.edu is one spot to explore.
- Know your resources. There are lots of people on campus who want to help you adjust and who understand it can be rough. The Learning Center is a great place to visit to talk about adjusting to the college workload and college-level writing. CAPS can be a great resource to talk out how you are feeling, especially if these feelings persist. Several peer and affinity-based support organizations exist to help you feel less alone that you can look for in the Mental Health Hub. All of these resources are covered under student fees, so it costs you nothing but a bit of time to take advantage of them!