16 New Rules for Building a Fulfilling College Social Life
Building your own college social life is part of the fun of leaving home for a university. Unfortunately, the events of the past eight months have changed this rite of passage perhaps forever. We have to learn how to start doing things a little bit differently in the pandemic age.
In the following article, we will be teaching you how to hold on to a healthy and active college social life even though you now face more challenges than previous generations. While this list is not exhaustive by any means, it should give you a good foundation for how to make the most of interesting times. Let’s begin!
1. Be Outgoing in the Ways That Work for You
The introvert versus extrovert debate: which is better? It’s really not about better or worse. It’s about playing to your strengths. Whether you enjoy getting out and partying with others or staying in and watching a movie, you need to learn the art of being outgoing.
Being outgoing leads to successful networking. Networking is vital to being able to build a thriving future. But just because you may not have it in you to be the life of the party, that doesn’t mean you are out of luck when it comes to reaching out and connecting.
You merely have to know what your strengths are and harness those strengths in a way that makes it easy to approach others and engage them in conversations. While it may sound selfish, it is true that people love to talk about themselves more than other people. As an introvert, you could use this to your advantage.
If you show interest in another person by being inquisitive about what their passions are and what they are involved in, they will be drawn to you. When they are drawn to you, they will bring you into their conversations and activities. That’s huge! Especially if you are uncomfortable with large crowds, being able to make that one friend who can connect you will make all the other hard stuff easier to manage. Try it, and you’ll see!
2. Modify In-Person Social Behaviors
Another thing to remember as you set out to build the perfect college social life is this: a pandemic means you have to limit your contacts, but it doesn’t mean you have to cut them out altogether. You can still plan in-person gatherings that are safe and fulfilling provided that you are maintaining social distancing standards and not going into overly large groups within indoor venues.
You might even find yourself with a more active social life because this way of approaching things will mean fewer people but more events and get-togethers. Just take the virus seriously as well as any future health directives regarding outbreaks.
3. Find Organizations or Clubs That Interest You
Unsure of where to start with a college social life? Get a list of all the organizations and clubs that your university offers. Reach out to the leader ship of those groups and tell them you would like to get involved. Doing so will ensure that your calendar is packed with productive and interesting events and activities that might even lead to a career path or a special project to bring notoriety.
4. Seek a Student Mentor
If you are a freshman, you could do a lot worse than making friends with a junior or senior. While these friendships may dissipate when the upperclassman graduates, they will lock you into a established network of opportunities right away. In a sense, they set you up to make the most of your college social life right away without having to stumble around trying to figure everything out for yourself.
5. Practice Moderation and Restraint
At some point in your college career, probably very early, you may be faced with a situation where alcohol or drugs are involved. Illegal drugs, of course, are important to avoid altogether as they can create legal issues as well as health problems. Alcohol is generally more excepted by society but just as dangerous if misused.
It’s important to prepare for these temptations ahead of time. If you do end up partaking of anything you shouldn’t, make a concerted effort to do so in moderation. Exercise restraint in unhealthy relationships as well. You’ve come to college to get an education, not get married. Great if you meet your future spouse here, but keep your eyes focused where they should be.
6. Avoid Negative Peer Pressure, Accept Positive
Some will tell you to avoid peer pressure completely. This is short-sighted advice. Peer pressure can actually be a good thing if you have friends who are challenging you to act better, perform better. It’s only bad when they’re pushing destructive behaviors on you.
Learn how to recognize the difference. If someone is trying to force you to do something you feel morally opposed to, drop them from your circle of friends right away. If they want you to engage in something you’d like to do but takes away from your studies, avoid! But if they’re wanting you to get involved in worthy causes, try harder in school, or do things that are physically and mentally edifying, why not go with the crowd!
7. Embrace the Power of NO
Just remember that NO doesn’t have to be said hatefully, and it doesn’t have to come with a thousand excuses. (Or even one.)
Learning to say NO early on to things you won’t or shouldn’t do will have positive effects in two ways. One, it will keep your schedule cleared up for the things that are important. Two, it will give you a greater degree of self-confidence.
8. Room With Someone Who Complements You
Choosing a roommate, if you choose to go that route with your living arrangements, is something you should give a lot of thought. You don’t have to pick your next best friend as a roommate. You don’t even have to keep up with these people after college.
However, you do want a roommate who completes you in a lot of ways. For the painfully shy, this could mean a fun-loving extrovert. For the uber-outgoing, maybe it is a bookworm. Look for someone who helped to be the best version of yourself as the semester is going.
9. Learn How to Function Within a More Diverse Environment
Many people will come to college from small towns and rural areas that don’t see a lot of diversity in thought, ethnicity, sexual preference, etc. It’s not your fault where you come from. However, if you choose to stay locked into some of those closed-off and discriminatory mindsets, then you’re doing your college social life all wrong.
No one is ordering or mandating you to think the same way as people you don’t start out agreeing with. What you do have to learn, however, is how to work with these individuals and support one another in an increasingly integrated society. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself getting left behind in myriad ways.
10. Let Friendship Lead You, Not the Other Way Around
High school students find themselves in cliques that are not necessarily of their own making. The art students generally hang around other art students. Athletes and band members, around other athletes and band members. College is your chance to break free of all that.
You may even see yourself letting go of some of those old high school friendships that you thought were so sacred. If that happens, don’t panic. Allow the relationships to evolve as they are supposed to. Let friends find you through mutual interests and outlooks. These will be some of the strongest friendships you ever encounter.
11. Come Dressed for Work
This needs to be said, especially in the pandemic age where Zoom meetings are the norm for the foreseeable future. Don’t show up for class in your PJs just because you’re having to do it from home.
Changing into professional attire puts you into a positive mindset for productivity. The act of getting a shower and dressing like you have a job interview, or at least into something casual that won’t be embarrassing in public, is as much about mental preparation as it is physical preparation. Treat it that way!
12. Prioritize School and Work
Yes, you have a college social life that you want to see healthy. However, you cannot have any kind of a social life if you are flunking out of school or going broke. Realize that this is the time in your life when you need to be giving adequate attention to all of the major responsibilities ahead. The things that aren’t going anywhere after graduation.
After you cross the platform and collect your degree, the stakes of your life get so much higher. Every decision matters. College is the training ground where you learn how to be the adult you’re becoming. Don’t waste that time by giving lopsided attention to the things that don’t matter as much. In summary, make time for a college social life, but don’t lose sight of the grown-up responsibilities.
13. Take Advantage of Sporting Events
Sports may not be your thing, but they offer another social outlet during these times when those types of things are somewhat limited in supply. Getting to go and see your friends and let out a lot of that pent-up energy that comes from being indoors is a good thing. Besides, you’ll have no problem getting in in all likelihood. That creates some major bragging rights among the alumni and common fans who find themselves champing at the bit for a ticket!
14. Wait to Pledge
Greek Life isn’t for everyone, but everyone should at least visit one fraternity and sorority to get a sense of what it’s like to be in one. If you do consider pledging, take a semester to think about it.
Doing so will allow you to see how the Greek Life benefits others while also allowing you to get a handle on your school and work life. Establishing balance first is your ticket to getting the most out of the Greek Life system.
15. Learn How to Network in Person
It may be hard to fathom that anything in person is important now that we’re all glued to our computers 6 to 8 hours a day, but don’t dismiss it. Networking in person usually results in far deeper connections than anything you will pick up on social media.
Seeing others face-to-face will give them a sense of who you truly are. It will prepare you for high-pressure presentations or job interviews that end up defining your career. It will make you a more savvy person through-and-through, and you’ll end up earning more over the course of your lifetime. Just consider, for example, that most jobs are already filled before they even get to the posting stage if you need any proof.
16. Limit Social Media Time and Use
Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, TikTok, Instagram, and LinkedIn might be great for opening a few doors, but they’re not going to give you the same kind of connections we were just talking about in No. 15. By all means, use them as a tool, not as an end destination.
Furthermore, learn to limit how much of your personal life you put on there. Treat them like unofficial resumes that a future employer will be looking at. Because they most definitely will.
Now, that may mean you have to live more of your life in the real world. But we feel that’s a small price you have to pay.
Follow These Standards for a College Social Life Worth Living
We hope this brief look at what you need to be doing now to build a fulfilling college social life in the pandemic age has given you plenty of ideas for how to keep quarantines and lockdowns from making you crazy. They’ve certainly worked for us on the work-front, and we believe they will for you at school. In the meantime, share with us some of your best tips for maintaining balance in the comments section below. Stay safe, everyone!
[Featured Image by Wikimedia Commons]