While the goal of college is to learn and prepare for your future career, your studies aren’t the only thing you should focus on during your undergrad years. To maintain a healthy balance between happiness and good grades, knowing how to improve your social health in college is just as important as knowing how to study.
If you tend towards introversion or are engrossed in your studies, putting yourself out there socially might not top your priorities list — but studies show that your social life impacts your mental health, and connecting with others can offer you further ways to grow during your college experience.
Here’s how to expand your friendship circle and feel more mentally healthy.
1. Open the Door
If you’re shy, one of the ultimate college hacks for meeting people starts at your front door. Opening the door to your dorm room sends the message that you’re a friendly and welcoming person who enjoys sharing camaraderie. Of course, if your trigonometry final is tomorrow, it’s understandable to lock yourself in, but try this approach at the start of your summer or fall semester.
Another pro tip is to go to the library when it’s time to hit the books. You’ll still enjoy plenty of quiet, but you put yourself in public where others can introduce themselves to you. It doesn’t require much effort on your part, and you have a ready-made excuse not to further pursue an unwanted conversation. Who knows? You might meet the perfect study buddy and cement your friendship over burgers in the dining hall later.
2. Get Involved in Clubs
The beautiful part of campus life is the abundance of activities you can join. If you feel shy or awkward when you meet new people, joining a club makes it a smoother process. You’re all gathered for the same purpose, so icebreakers come more readily.
If you’re so career-focused that you think, “I don’t have time for that stuff,” think again. College clubs offer valuable networking opportunities that can help more than nonstop bookwork when it comes to getting a job. Experts say around 80% of all job seekers find employment through networking, not by impressing HR reps with their GPA. Grades count — but so does a healthy social circle and the ability to communicate.
3. Hit the Gym
If college stress is getting to you, making time for workouts can help you address your physical, mental and social health all in one place. Physical activity helps you feel more calm and relaxed and can boost your self-esteem — plus, finding a workout buddy is a great way to make new friends.
Most campuses have well-equipped fitness facilities you can use for free. You’ll never find a less expensive gym membership again, so take advantage. If you’re more the outdoorsy type, you can find groups for runners and bikers that don’t necessarily entail joining a team. These recreational meetups are ideal if you’re working your way through school and don’t have the time to join a competitive league.
4. Volunteer or Work
What causes do you support passionately? One way to improve your social health is to unite with others who care about similar issues. Chances are, you can find like-minded individuals who also adhere to a vegan lifestyle, love animals or want to help children. There is significant power in numbers, so join up and inspire one another. Scour campus bulletin boards for upcoming meetings that interest you.
You can also consider taking on a part-time job that relates to your field of study. If you’re studying education, for example, campus tutoring centers offer a way to earn extra money while helping fellow students who struggle in some subject areas. Are you studying exercise physiology? If so, is your school’s football team hiring assistant personal trainers? These kinds of positions give you valuable work-related experience to add to your resume while connecting you with other students.
5. Use Social Media
Finally, apps like Facebook and Twitter offer another way to connect with fellow students whom you might not encounter in your daily campus life. You can search for hashtags related to your school to communicate with other learners and alumni alike — you might meet someone you pass by every day, but haven’t had a chance to connect with!
Learning How to Improve Social Health Will Improve Your College Experience
Wondering how to improve your social health as a college student? Try one of these tips. They’ll assist you in building your circle, help manage college stress and — who knows? — maybe even score you friends for life.