The importance of social life in college cannot be overstated.
As a matter of fact, socialising is a crucial part of student life. It certainly has a tremendous impact on every student’s mental well-being, academic performance and future ability to bond an rely on a strong network created at university.
Yet, most of us would agree that it isn’t always EASY to build strong social connections as a student.
How to socialize in college? Here are 15 habits and tips that will help college students build up their social life the RIGHT WAY.
15 Habits For Students To Build Strong Social Connections And Reach Out
1. Asking for help.
Some students feel like they should not ask for help. They feel like they should figure it all out by themselves.
I was one of those students. And I felt quite ashamed if I didn’t know something already.
BUT THAT’S WHY YOU ARE EVEN A STUDENT IN THE FIRST PLACE!
And let me tell you a secret. YOU NEVER STOP LEARNING.
Let’s take a medical doctor for instance. Do you think they know it all? NO. They have a very good FOUNDATION. But there are tons of things they don’t know or need to UPDATE regularly as science makes progress. Sometimes they even have to REVOKE previous knowledge that is so updated it actually could harm others.
The best professionals are those that can assess their own limits and are ABLE TO ASK FOR HELP in the form of consulting, employees or anything else.
As a student, you will THRIVE and make much quicker progress if you ASK FOR HELP.
2. Helping out other students in need.
Students are often primed for COMPETITION. But you should learn to give and receive as early as possible.
Helping out other students in need is a great way to start. It will also be a great training for you. You will better assimilate and structure your knowledge as a result.
Teaching others OR learning how to make complicated concepts easily understandable is a great skill to have.
It will hence also increase your value on the job market later on 😉
3. Practise honesty, even in tough situations.
Most of us don’t realise how many white lies we tell others and ourselves. Those white lies add up and can produce a monster.
Being 100% honest all the time is EXTREMELY DIFFICULT for most of us.
That’s why I encourage you to start with this GOOD HABIT NOW.
A first step is to observe yourself and see WHEN you lie or omit some information and WHY.
Lies can also be a GREAT SIGNAL of something that you may need to work on.
Being more honest and telling (your) truth can be TRAINED.
And although it SEEMS like it could make your life more difficult, that’s a very short-sighted view of things.
In the long run, it will save you and your loved ones tons of trouble and hassle.
4. Surround yourself with like-minded people.
We end up being very SIMILAR to the 5 people we spend most of our time with.
So it’s important to hang out with people you like or admire.
And I would ESPECIALLY recommend looking for DIVERSE PEOPLE BUT with similar VALUES.
Our personal values are MAJOR DRIVERS and MOTIVATORS. They will ultimately lead us in a certain direction.
It’s important that you surround yourself with people that have a similar or inspiring VISION of where the world should go. No matter their background, beliefs or current student path.
Otherwise, you might FORGET about your ideals and values and feel somehow disconnected…
5. Find one or several mentors in the areas where you want to make progress.
Following the same principle as mentioned above, it’s also important that you ACTIVELY LOOK FOR one or several mentors that can inspire and GUIDE YOU.
They may have achieved what you want to achieve already. Or they could be just a few steps ahead from you.
Don’t forget that BOOKS can also play the mentor role to a certain extent. I’ve read a lot of books from people I admire, and it felt sometimes like having personalised advice to my current situation.
6. Use meals as social get-togethers.
Your busy student schedule SHOULD ALWAYS ALLOW ENOUGH TIME to EAT A MEAL IN PEACE.
To make this time more valuable, you should take advantage and always eat with a friend, a group of friends OR someone you wanted to get to know anyways.
Eating together has always been a natural social behaviour. You can even go further and orchestrate some “cooking together” sessions. That way you will keep the costs low, eat healthily and be able to do a nicer meal in less time.
7. Volunteer for causes that interest you.
Via my Udemy class about CV/Resume, Cover Letter: get into the United Nations*, many students have asked me how they could SHOW their interest for the U.N. at such a young age with no experience.
Volunteering is something most students can do. It doesn’t have to be extremely time-consuming. You can do it on a weekly basis for just one or more hours. But you can also volunteer full-time for a few weeks or months.
Either way, it’s a GREAT WAY to show what you’re all about! And it’s a good possibility to be creative.
There are many organisations or projects that need help.
You can even INITIATE anything you’d like to do.
As a student, I did 6 months volunteering for a small foundation in Ecuador. I got paid about $2,5 per day which was enough for me to live at very low standards in this beautiful Latin-American country.
And I feel like this was a big help for my career. I’m sure it weighed in positively for me to get my two internships in the U.N. later on.
8. Stop blaming, start praising and thanking. Stop complaining, start acting instead.
There are a few behaviours that you should WATCH OUT for as a student.
Specifically, those behaviours that will instantly put you into A PASSIVE MINDSET, feeling powerless and NOT RESPONSIBLE for what is happening.
BLAMING and COMPLAINING are two of those behaviours.
By blaming you PUSH ANY RESPONSIBILITY and POWER away from you. And you DISCONNECT from others around you.
Someone WHO OFTEN BLAMES will find a harder time to build lasting and supporting friendships and relationships.
Instead of focusing on WHAT OTHERS are doing wrong, START FINDING ANYTHING you can PRAISE and THANK them for.
This could cause a major SHIFT in your life.
COMPLAINING is somewhat similar. But it’s more about reinforcing the idea and FEELING THAT YOU ARE POWERLESS.
I have a pretty simple rule about complaining. I’m applying it to myself AND others around me.
You’re ONLY ALLOWED TO KEEP COMPLAINING IF YOU TAKE ACTIVE STEPS TO CHANGE A SITUATION.
Complaining once is fine. Twice is ok. But if you KEEP and KEEP complaining about a situation, DO SOMETHING!
We have the luxury to be ABLE TO CHANGE our lives if we want to. It’s probably a different matter if you are living under a dictatorial regime.
So use that freedom and EITHER STOP COMPLAINING OR TAKE ACTION.
9. Become a better listener.
LISTENING has become a very rare skill. And people that don’t say much and need more time to formulate their thoughts certainly have very valuable input to give. But you will never get their input if you don’t learn to listen.
Active listening can be hard for some, especially when there are NO IMAGES or VIDEOS to make it more appealing.
Pay attention to your behaviour and whether you listen to every word a friend is telling you or not.
Make it a point to let the information sink in and to give some kind of adequate feedback when you can and it is appropriate.
But you should also learn to remain silent when needed. Not all words require a response.
10. Leave space to others in a conversation.
Now, this one goes somewhat hand in hand with the GOOD HABIT of LISTENING.
If you are the kind of person that monopolises a conversation, I beg you, LET THE OTHERS SPEAK AS WELL!!!
Everyone’s time is precious. And a conversation is meant to be an exchange. Otherwise, it’s a MONOLOGUE. And that’s mostly fun for you.
It’s also very important to learn to respect this INVISIBLE SPACE of others as a student.
Because when you get used to being the MAIN SPEAKER and taking ALL THE CONVERSATIONAL SPACE for yourself, it’s hard to correct course.
I had this weird situation happen to me when I was about 19. I had an oral exam that would determine whether I could enter into one of the top business schools in France. But it was somewhat like a personal interview.
And at some point, one member of the jury asked me a question. I DID NOT EVEN LET HER FINISH THE SENTENCE. Shame on me…
I instantly noticed that I had crossed a subtle line. I paddled back a little for the rest of the interview. That was probably a good move. Lucky to say that I got accepted and they still gave me a quite good grade.
But at that time I realised for the first time how RUDE this type of behaviour was. WHO WAS I to interrupt finish an accomplished woman’s sentence?
In fact, IT DOESN’T MATTER WHO YOU ARE HAVING A CONVERSATION WITH. It’s just rude, arrogant and extremely self-centred to act this way.
Leave others conversational space, for YOURSELF to GROW.
11. Confront your fear of speech and train on any occasion.
I’m pretty sure that most students have to give a speech or presentation in front of an audience at some point.
Some THRIVE on this. They were born to be showmen.
I always HATED this.
Oh, I had NO TROUBLE spending a couple of hours writing an exam. But oral exams, speeches, presentations… were killing me.
I’ve learned with time that I can be good at it when I’m prepared and feel knowledgeable enough about the topic.
But most of all, IT IS AN AMAZING TRAINING FOR YOU TO SPEAK UP WHEN NEEDED.
There’s always a time when one needs to BE COURAGEOUS and speak out an opinion or facts to defend a cause.
Or even just talking honestly and openly to close friends and family. It can feel awfully scary. Like going on stage and speaking in front of hundreds of people.
Getting this FEAR out of your way as a student will make your job, career, and personal life so much easier I believe.
12. Stay away from the competition mindset: only focus on IMPROVING yourself.
In one of his speeches, Jordan B. Peterson explains how THE MORE YOU GROW OLD, the LESS YOU CAN COMPARE YOUR LIFE TO THAT OF ANOTHER.
And the reason for this is that OUR STORIES become more and more complex, with so many twists, possibilities and options. Everyone builds a set of experiences and you CANNOT JUDGE another person without having lived his or her life.
It is THAT complex.
And that’s why you should through your COMPETITIVE MINDSET to the garbage. Because it most likely will bring up negative emotions that are unjustified.
Does it make sense to compare to Elon Musk just because you are the same age, studied the same and could have potentially done what he did?
Should you compare yourself to Tailor Swift just because you look pretty and know how to sing?
That’s all INSANE.
The best thing you can do is to COMPARE YOURSELF TO YOUR PAST SELF. Have you made progress? GREAT! You can tap yourself on the shoulder and keep making progress.
But please clear out ALL these negative competitive feelings: jealousy, shame, impatience, blame…
Go for SELF-GROWTH instead.
13. Interact with others in a more UNIQUE and CREATIVE way.
Life has become so boring nowadays, don’t you think?
“Hi, how are you?”
“Great, and you? What’s new?”
This well-intentioned small talk is everything BUT UNIQUE.
And, of course, sometimes we get lucky. The conversation, despite such a pale starter, still develops and we connect on a deeper level.
Our common belief is that this ONLY DEPENDS on WHICH PERSON you are interacting with.
But is that so?
I’ve experienced many situations that have shown me how complex the development of a conversation is.
For instance, having a chat with a friend with which conversations ALWAYS develop MARVELOUSLY. But that day, it felt kind of dull. Turned out we were both just really tired.
On the other hand, I got to chat with people I had known for a long time and ONE DAY, they open up, so do I, and the conversation BLOWS MY MIND.
So aren’t we MORE responsible than we think to SHAPE a conversation?
If you practice interacting with others in a more UNIQUE and CREATIVE way as a student, you have good chances to excel at it soon.
PEOPLE LOVE TO BE ENTERTAINED. So that’s a great way to CONNECT, be remembered, shape new thoughts…
Go about it in two ways:
- think about UNIQUE questions and ICEBREAKERS to ask people you don’t know.
- think about creative questions for people you already know. Some could be customized based on the knowledge you already have. But others could be OUT OF THE BLUE. Because there are probably a lot of things you are subconsciously ASSUMING about the people you know. Think about what could bring your relationship further…
14. Treat everyone the same.
It is FAIR to try to treat everyone equally. It’s probably NEVER going to be FULLY the case because our subconscious is still changing our behaviour depending on the person in front of us.
But it’s important to TRY and to keep it as a rule for life.
Treat everyone the same. Even the prettiest boy or girl on campus. Even the most famous or intimidating professor.
And even the beggar on the street. Treat him with kindness and respect. Think of him as a hidden celebrity just doing an experiment. He’s probably seen much and could teach you tons.
Be yourself. Or better said, be the person you WANT to be.
AND MOST IMPORTANT, TREAT YOURSELF WITH THE SAME RESPECT AND KINDNESS you would show your best friend.
15. If you feel ashamed about something, TALK about it.
SHAME is one of the worst emotions.
Because it SEPARATES us from others.
Because we feel like nobody can understand. We feel like we CANNOT talk about it.
SHAME is like a fear that THRIVES ON SILENCE.
The less you talk about it, the more it grows.
And that’s counterintuitive. You THINK that silence will make it go away.
You feel like you should HIDE what you’ve done or who you are.
See shame for what it is. A simple SIGN that you need to TALK.
So share the experience. You would be surprised how many people are going through the same kind of shame you are.