Build your connections, friendships on campus
July 31, 2020
With over 50,000 students at the University of Illinois, there are a plethora of connections and friendships to be made on campus that will last through your journey after college. My first step of advice is to introduce yourself! In any situation, whether you are waiting for class or sitting next to someone at a coffee shop, you always have the opportunity to meet new people. Be the friendly face in a new room and make others feel welcomed and included. A simple hello or a compliment can make someone’s day and gain a new friendship for both of you.
As college students, we tend to slip into a repetitive routine. This can be dangerous for a myriad of reasons. You may prioritize some tasks and procrastinate experiences that you think you will have time to enjoy later, but the semester will pass by before you know it. Do not allow yourself to become too comfortable that you miss out on opportunities that could help your professional career. Choose certain days to break away from your typical route to class, sit somewhere else in the lecture hall, or study in a different library. Utilize every inch of this campus to find resources to benefit your career and your life as a student. Each semester is much shorter than we may realize. Attend as many events as you can, go out of your way to meet up with someone you have not seen in a few weeks and introduce yourself to new people when you are given the opportunity.
Building connections in college is a great way to find job opportunities in the workforce once you graduate. Becoming friends with those older than you that have moved on to work in different cities is a great way to break into your industry. These connections can provide you with their own experience in a company, career field or city, and they will be a familiar face when you move to a new environment. Make sure you find ways to stay connected with the people you meet through LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram. Social media sites are an incredible way to stay connected with those you have met years ago and become a resource for your paths to cross again.
Another advantage of making connections is the number of friends you will have all around the globe. After college, you might find a job that requires traveling or a different reason to visit another country. When you realize you have friends located all around the world and on different coasts of the United States, you will notice you have your own personal tour guide. These friends can recommend attractions to visit, restaurants to eat at and places to stay. You can find ways to meet up with them and make memories in a new place similar to the memories you both made when you were in college.
College is the best time to be social and meet people that could benefit your life after you graduate. You do not have to pressure yourself into meeting as many people as you can in four years, but think of this as a conscious reminder of the opportunities we may take for granted. We are surrounded by new students our age every single day, living only blocks away from each other for four years. This time in our lives is the best time to socialize and build connections around the globe. Enjoy every second you have with those around you on campus, and meet some friends that will last a lifetime.