15 Ways To Get Out There On Campus
easy ways to get students out and about on campus.
By: Chantel Burkes, Houston Community College
Even before you arrive on the campus of your choice, you are thinking about everything that could go wrong. What if you don’t make any friends? What if you hate it here? What if your roommate hates you on site? It is very easy to get caught up in the maybes and not see random opportunities as they are: Opportunities.
I see a student in the same way as a computer: always running, never sleeping but it has a set spot for where it goes every day. Every student has a specific schedule they follow each day of class and occasionally the randomness of the day is not at all welcome in your life. Sometimes you have to start thinking of randomness as a gift instead of a nuisance. You are here to learn, but you are also here to grow and experience new things and these tips are easy ways to starting getting out there on campus.
1. go to the dining hall… ALONE
I always wonder about the stigma of going by yourself to the dining hall and I just don’t understand it. Everyone has to eat and there should never be a doubt in your mind that someone else you know will be there also. If you are new and have not made many friends yet, I have a challenge for you: sit at one of the largest single tables in the hall to eat your meal. No one in an established group is going to make you move because they want your table and there are always loads of people who have come by themselves and do not want to take up a table alone. I have personally made some of my best friends the first day in the dining hall and I do not regret that decision one bit.
2. grab your blanket and make some new friends
I still use this idea from time to time. Every campus has a meeting spot that is fully covered the moment there is a pleasant weather day. Blankets are burst out and new friendships are created. Something that students should remember is that you are on a college campus. No one has to converse with you if they do not want to and everyone is a potential new friend. Connections can range from someone liking the design of your blanket to commenting on someone’s shoes as they walk by.
3. dude, where are my socks?!
Laundry is the bane of our existence at times, but it must be done. Every week. Bi-weekly in some circumstances. Never fear, your random laundry companions are here! You will begin to notice that there is always someone spending the evening in the laundry room with you. There are so many jokes you could crack while in there and so many topics that could be talked about if someone would just start up a conversation. There is going to be a collective hour and a half of you and your laundry pals sitting in the room being awkward if someone doesn’t say something. Why can’t that someone be you?
4. common enemy = new study group
When you become a student, it is automatically implied that you will study. A lot. There is also a communal study spot of every college campus and once you find that, it is smooth sailing from there. There is always an unspoken rule about that one spot and what should be happening when you are there. However, there should be a rule on how groups of students act while being cooped up in a building for hours on end. Random friends, anyone?
5. random shopping trips could end with memories such as this…
6. go to an event at your local coffee shop.
When you put thousands of students on campus with mass amounts of homework, irritating roommates, annoying classmates, a lot of walking and the inevitable lack of sleep, there should always be an escape available. Your local coffee shop is one of them. They always have a constant flow of students and staff coming through so start looking for open-mic nights or talks that allow you to get a away for a little while. Never underestimate the power of an interesting speaker and a cup of coffee.
7. philanthropy + paint = colorful friends!
Every university has a campus-wide philanthropy event. It’s a fact of life and it WILL happen. Everybody will have a blast at these events, but don’t let anybody influence you out of it. There will always be that stigma of campus activities being silly, but it is an almost guarantee that you will have fun! Louisiana State University throws an event every year that has you banging on trashcan lids full of paint with giant spatulas and drumsticks. Does this sound childish? Of course! Did you have a blast while doing it? Absolutely! How many friends did you make? TONS if you count all of the students you covered in paint…
8. perfect weather always equals mayhem…
Moments of fun have to be mixed in with studying and those days of perfect weather are time for randomness. Watersports, skiing, beach trips, road trips, shopping days, long hikes and other activities need to be thrown into your life to balance out the hours of stress you just endured while studying.
9. …and mayhem leads to a perfect score for the day!
10. anybody ready for a party?
No, I don’t mean that kind of party. When Halloween rolls around, there is always a party to attend somewhere on campus. However, that may not be the way you want to spend your evening this year. Where there is a college party, there is a mellower event. Sometimes you feel like you have to go because everyone else will be talking about “never doing that again” come the 1st of November, but there is always something more fun than that and you’ll have more of a chance to remember it the next morning. Have a horror movie marathon in the communal TV room, go on a costume scavenger hunt, go to Halloween karaoke night or maybe volunteer with an organization to hand out candy to young children. Go have a spook-tacular time!
11. ra’s can be friends too!
There will be an evening where you actually have nothing to do and everyone is busy or gone. In comes your RA, who suggests a movie marathon and a girly night with a couple of other girls on your floor. While they are there to give you advice and help manage your college life, they are also just like any other student. They do not have to involve you in their social life and if they invite you to join them, you should consider the invite just as you would any other student. At least 4 of my close friends that I made while in college have been RA’s while I was living in their dorms and I love them dearly for going past the normal RA duties and trying to get to know me as a friend.
12. join a new club? go get your grub on afterwards.
There is going to come a time when everyone is STARVING and you all decide to go out for dinner rather than conduct a meeting. All of the fun things you will figure out about everyone during this dinner are PRICELESS. Oh, and don’t forget to snap a picture before you leave!
13. reunions with the random friends you’ve made could give you memories such as this photo:
14. reconnect with some of your dining buddies.
Do you remember those new friends you made from your dining hall adventures? Try to reconnect with them at least once or twice a month so that you can keep up with them and anything else that is happening on campus. Plus, they could steal your phone when you leave to refill your drink and all of the pictures on your phone could mysteriously be replaced with this beautiful picture above…
15. branching out on campus could lead to a dazzling picture board such as this one! every picture is of a single friend i have made from all of the tips above!