Finding Your Place: How to Figure Out Where You Belong in a Big School from Someone Who Just Did It

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ASU likes to throw around this motto a lot: “You can make a big college small, but you can’t make a small college big.”

I can’t even count how many times I’ve heard it.

Hearing it so often might bug me, if it weren’t so true. Finding your place is all about forming your own community, or communities.

We do it all the time, with friend groups, classes, teams and clubs. Yet, when we’re first starting out in a new place, it can seem so hard. It can be so easy to make ourselves think we’ve forgotten all our social skills. But, humans need each other for all sorts of things. If you want to make it in a big college, you just have to figure out which group you fit into the best.

First things first, go to a club fair. Well, there is something you have to do before a club fair actually: you have to figure out what it is you like. If the thought of defining yourself freaks you out as much as it freaks me out, it could help to make a mental note, or an actual list, of what you’re looking for. Think about what music you like, what your favorite TV shows and movies are, what activities you participated in during high school. I guarantee you, there’s a club for it. And if there isn’t, it’s way easier than you think to start a club.

Once at the club fair, get a map. Usually the clubs will be arranged according to area of interest. Find a few that you really like, maybe three at first (it’s hard to really keep up with much more than that) and attend their meetings.

Next up is forming communities within your dorm. These are the people you will see every day and if you don’t talk to them, in your new home, it can feel very isolating. Take part in all the activities you can in the first week. Even if you think they’re childish, you’re probably barely 18 or 19, and definitely not too old to let out the child in you. Try sitting out in the lounge and chatting with the people who walk by. Odds are, they want to make friends too and most people are not bothered by a quick hello; it could lead to something great.

 

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