5 Ways to have a Fulfilling College Experience


Starting your freshman year of college can be a big transition where you will face a myriad of different decisions, challenges, experiences and of course, an opportunity to have fun and embark on a new journey. Whether you are a social butterfly in high school or are rather shy, making new friends and finding ‘your place’ in a new environment can feel a little intimidating. Take this time now to polish your communication skills and embrace the campus community before you even head off.

Here’s some fun ways of making friends in college!

1. Challenge Yourself to Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone

Before you even step foot on campus, start getting familiar with the campus community and introduce yourself to other incoming students on social media. The University of Vermont utilizes Twitter and LinkedIn to promote campus activities and open the conversation to students who are looking to meet other students who live in the same residence hall or share the same hobbies. Just remember, social media etiquette does exist. Start thinking about developing ‘good habits’ before joining the conversation.

One of the best parts of freshman year is starting fresh. Not only is it a golden opportunity for you to connect with new people and develop friends outside of your high-school social circle, but all of the other incoming freshman are looking to meet students like yourself. Just think, there are hundreds, maybe thousands of other students who are starting on their college journey, likely with some of the same apprehensions. However, giving up the security of your ‘comfort zone’ to build new friendships with other students in your residence hall is a chance to embrace the campus community and start to feel more comfortable in your new school.

2. Get Involved with On-Campus Activities

Getting involved on-campus is a great way to enhance your academic experience, meet new friends and discover new interests. The University of Vermont is home to a variety of on-campus activities, including:

  • Societies and student organizations
  • Fraternities and sororities
  • Sports teams
  • Outdoor clubs
  • Student media
  • And much more!

With all of the campus life available to you, you will have hundreds of activities to choose from that fully-engage your passion for service, sports, arts, the community and beyond. Check out the Department of Student Life webpage for a full list of UVM activities and organizations.

3. Get Involved with Off-Campus Activities

Are you interested in volunteering with a local service organization? The University of Vermont is home to the Community-University Partnerships & Serving Learning (CUPS). CUPS was formed to created “meaningful, sustainable, pedagogically rich opportunities for students to contribute to the community through the skills gained in their academic disciplines.” Take your service learning and volunteer work to the next level through one of UVM’s many community partnerships and make new friends in the process!

Another great way to meet new people in the community is to find a part-time job at a local cafe, restaurant, retail store or another job of your interest. Visit the UVM Career Center for links to local job posting sites and more.

4. Spend Time On-Campus

Whether you’re studying in communal areas or working on homework in the cafe; there are a variety of social settings where you can not only work on your studies, but meet a multitude of other students, including:

  • Attending on-campus events: sporting events, music events, and more
  • Spending time in your residence hall, more specifically, the common area
  • Getting involved with service organizations

UVM fosters a culture that promotes student development, so you will have plenty of options to involve yourself in extracurricular activities, while immersing yourself in a new group of people in various on-campus settings.

5. Use the Classroom to Your Advantage

This goes hand in hand with ‘spending time on-campus,’ but it’s important enough to break it off into its own category. At the University of Vermont, you can expect to actively engage and learn in a group setting. Since the University is such a huge proponent of social learning, you will have the opportunity to develop new friendships, meet new people outside of your residence hall and beyond just your freshman class.

Just remember, when you’re starting out as a freshman, all the other incoming students are looking to meet new people and make new friends too. Your freshman year is the perfect time to “find yourself” on campus – just remember that all good thing happen with time, so be patient and, of course, have fun!