If you are a college student who lives off campus, you likely know the struggle that comes with getting involved in on-campus life.
I am an off-campus student, and during my first semester of college I struggled tremendously with putting myself out there in the college world. To make things more complicated, I didn’t know many other students at the time, so I had to navigate the waters of campus life involvement mostly on my own.
Now that I have spent another semester at my university, I have become more immersed in on-campus life, and I have a few tips up my sleeve for all you off-campus students.
1. Spend more time on campus.
Many off-campus students drive to campus solely for classes and immediately leave campus as soon as they are released from their last class. I was guilty of this my first semester of college, but I quickly figured out that getting involved would be impossible if I didn’t spend a little extra time on campus.
Visit the university center or student center at your school and get a feel for the campus life atmosphere. Once I started doing this, I became more comfortable on campus and felt more motivated to get involved.
2. Make friends with on-campus students.
Arguably one of the best ways for an off-campus student to experience campus life is to form relationships with students who live on campus. Many on-campus students know the ins-and-outs of campus life and can easily share their knowledge and advice with a commuting student. Not only would these connections help you get more involved, but they could also lead to lasting friendships.
3. Take a leap out of your comfort zone.
It’s easy to think that in college, everyone already has their social and friend groups in place, so there’s no room for you to include yourself. These thoughts typically come a lot quicker and more frequent to an off-campus student. So, how do you handle them? Take a leap.
Join a student organization that seems interesting to you. Apply for a position with student government or the student newspaper. Try out for an intramural sports team. These and other involvement opportunities will require you to put yourself out there, but leaving your comfort zone behind is a necessary step to getting the most enjoyment out of your time on campus.
As an off-campus student who knows what it’s like to be on both ends of the involvement spectrum, I can assure you that being involved lends itself to a much better college experience. So, make on-campus involvement a priority next semester. You’ll be glad you did.