Finding Community on Campus


By Mira Bhimani, SCS Advising Leader

To thrive instead of just survive, you need you find a community for yourself on campus. A community is a friend or group of friends who feel like home. It is defined as a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. For many of us, coming to college has meant we have had to leave our hometown and make new friends. This is not always easy and it is okay to struggle with making friends. But despite the struggle, it is always worth it. Having a support system of good friends to lean on will reduce stress and improve mental health.

Here are some ways to find community and friendship on campus:

  1. Making friends in your classes – This is the easiest way to make friends since you attend classes every day. These kinds of friends are also the most important because you can have someone to ask questions to or study with for the class. Some people like to be a lone wolf and sit in lectures all by themselves (I have been guilty of this myself), but it is a lot more motivating to be sitting next to someone you know. They will keep you accountable to pay attention, take notes, and even attend lectures on time. If you don’t know anyone in your class, just take that as an opportunity to get to know someone new. Look for someone you would like to know in your lecture and ask if you can sit with them. Over the course of the semester, you are almost guaranteed to have made a new friend. In lab and discussion classes, you are forced to interact with peers, so it is even easier to start up a conversation and make a new friend. Just be yourself and don’t be afraid of trying.
  2. Registered Student Organizations – This is the number one way of finding community on campus. On quad day every year, we get a reminder of just how many clubs exist here at U of I. There are clubs for everything you can possibly imagine, so take use of this opportunity. Based on whatever your interests are, I would recommend being actively involved in at least one or two clubs. Go to events that they host and interact with people there. You will have fun and de-stress by being involved in non-academic clubs like music or sports. Being a part of something like an intramural sports team gives community like no other. On the academic front, some chemistry RSOs include ACS, WiCS, Alpha Chi Sigma, and NOBCChE. Joining one of these will help develop connections with like-minded people and learn from upperclassmen in your major. There are also tons of social events that they host where you can meet people in a more social setting.
  3. Campus events – There are a lot of events hosted that encourage student participation and help connect you with peers. They are an excellent opportunity to socialise and meet new people. For example, there are several events in honour of festivals and special times of the year, where you can go and celebrate your culture with others. There are many talks hosted where you can go and learn something new and socialise with like-minded people afterward. Campus events can also include events hosted by your dorm or university apartment, which can help you make friends in your living spaces.

I hope you take something away from these tips and find your community on campus. If you are still experiencing loneliness and isolation, please reach out to campus counselling services. You are never alone and you should not feel that way.