Each fall semester is a new beginning for freshmen and a time for the campus to come to life with sophomores, juniors and seniors. Unfortunately, the Residence Life staff hears from students who are having a hard time making friends which then in turn becomes a reason they are dissatisfied with college in general. Commuter students may also feel challenged in connecting with others because they are not living on campus and interacting with others throughout the day.
If your student comments that she is having trouble making friends, here are some suggestions to give her:
- Look for others to whom you relate. Who sits by you in class? Get to class on time and talk to students who sit near you. Refrain from getting to class and keeping your attention on your phone. It’s difficult to communicate face-to-face with your attention on an electronic device.
- What student organizations are you participating in where you have something in common with others? There are organizations for a variety of interest areas. Stop into the Student Leadership and Service office for a list of organizations.
- Attend class meetings. You will learn about class traditions and other class business.
- Are you connecting with students in your major? There are academic organizations for nearly every major and career path. Find one that you are comfortable with and go to the meetings.
- Do you have a Big Sis? She can help you meet other students through her fellow classmates who have Lil Sis’s.
- For residents – keep your residence hall door open! This lets others walking by know you are available for casual interactions. Maybe you have the same poster as someone else or have a common area of interest.
- Who is your Student Advisor (for freshmen)? Can she help you identify others in your SA group that would be someone to connect with outside of structured activities?
- Attend residence hall programs. Resident Assistants provide programs for their individual floors but there are also building programs. These programs are not only educational but help students get out of their rooms. Commuters are more than welcome to attend these programs, too.
- Put your phone away when walking across campus. Say hello and engage with other students, faculty, and staff while going between classes and buildings.
- Eat in the dining hall. Sit with someone who is sitting alone. Sit with friends. Invite friends to a meal. Commuters can purchase a commuter meal plan or pay at the door in the dining hall.
- Set up study sessions with others in your classes.
- Talk to the Residence Life staff, Dean of Students, or First Year Experience staff. We are here to help students have a positive college experience which includes helping all students find ways to make friends and connect to others.
Juniors and seniors who live in the Oaks apartments may have plenty of friends, but being in an apartment setting with those friends can sometimes create tension. There have been several situations among apartment mates such as cleanliness issues and guests visiting the apartment. Having more space to negotiate is new for many students. When these situations are brought to the attention of Residence Life staff, a common denominator is lack of communication or miscommunication. Often residents will complain or comment about their situation to friends or the staff without talking to the person that needs to be a part of the conversation.
While the Residence Life staff, including the Apartment Manager and the Community Assistants, is available for guidance and advice, the first step to resolve any issue among apartment mates is for them to discuss the issue. Communication is the key to resolution. If your daughter lives in the Oaks and is experiencing difficulty with her apartment mates, encourage her to talk with them so they can all be on the same page. If she needs help with what to say or having that discussion, she can touch base with her Community Assistant or the Apartment Manager.
Question about residence life can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Oaks Apartment questions can be directed to Caitlyn Riner at email@example.com.