I’m happy to be back at Loras and was glad to move into my apartment on campus. As much as I think I’m going to like having a kitchen and my own room, I think I might miss being in the middle of all the activity on campus. I’m worried it’s going to be hard for me to meet other new people since I’m not in the dorms. Don’t get me wrong, I’m content with the friends I have, but a lot of them are athletes and have much busier schedules than I do. I think I’m going to have a lot of time to myself. I’m afraid that I might get bored or worse, kind of lonely.
A Little Isolated
I will tell you the same thing that I tell first-year students: Get out and engage with people. You get out of the college experience what you put into it. Loras students and staff will do their best to make you aware of things going on around campus, but it is up to you to take part.
Friends may not give you a specific invitation to activities, parties and events. College is different than high school. The people you meet here are less likely to personally invite you to certain places or events. They often assume that if you hear about something going on, you’ll just come. Take the social media announcements and fliers around campus as your personal invitation.
And yes, lots of students are athletes and already have their own little community. It’s okay if you don’t participate in sports, but you can still be a spectator. Athletic events are free to students and they are super fun! The weekend of the first home football game was also a day that had two other athletic events on campus. And this is not uncommon. So, even if you want to study or take a nap on a certain Saturday, you can still make time to stop by and cheer on your fellow Duhawks. Check out the Stall Street Journal for other non-athletic events going on too. Dance Marathon has events going on all the time and will never turn away volunteers. Step up to be a part of an organization or just go and support it! Spiritual Life had their annual social a few weeks back. I even heard one student mention she doesn’t like to miss it because it’s an easy way to meet the first-years since she is now living off campus. Last week was CAB’s big Loras after Dark event, which is always a crowd favorite. And if you aren’t into crowds, think about joining a smaller group associated with your major or something like OVE+R. All of these provide great opportunities to get to know students of all ages.
There are also great spaces on campus to just hang out. I can’t name them all, but the ACC is a great start. The fifth floor of the ACC has a space inside and outside the Intercultural Programs Office (IPO) where you can do your homework or just talk with people. The Center for Experiential Learning office also has a great place to relax. Student Development has a really nice space for commuter students to hang, watch some TV or interact with some of the great Student Life staff. Lots of students are chilling in the Zen Den near Health and Counseling on the fourth floor of the ACC. If you want a space less quiet, head towards the Spiritual Life office where there is always someone awesome to talk to.
The bottom line is you have to make a commitment to get out and engage. Don’t get complacent or you’ll miss out on things. And don’t let anxiety get the best of you. Open your door in the residence hall and actually invite someone to watch the latest episode of Shameless. If you have a car on campus, invite others to Cold Stone on a Tuesday night for BOGO. The more the merrier. If you are committed to making it a great year, get out of your comfort zone and engage.