Can you imagine how difficult it would be to be a college student without feeling like you belong on campus? Often, these students feel excluded and struggle to form friendships. It can lead to feelings of loneliness and potentially cause poor academic performance that lowers their grades. They may even struggle to build connections with their instructors. This sense of disconnection can be devastating for them. There are great support systems on campuses, but students also crave a sense of community and belonging with their peers. Instructors can be incredibly supportive as well, but it depends on the students and if they have great concerns about having a professional relationship with them. Indeed, there are many creative ways that college campuses can make a student feel as if they belong which then leaves it to the college student to make that decision.
When students leave home for college, they often feel homesick. This can cause them to steer away from their peers. They feel left out because they have not become accustomed to their new unique environment. It can be challenging for introverted students to adjust to new surroundings, especially if they are not naturally sociable or open to meeting new people including their peers or instructors. It shouldn’t take long for most students to become socially active and meet new people. However, this isn’t always the case because some students are introverted and that’s just how they are. Even though they do not mind being social if needed, they can relate to the feeling of wanting to be alone. It is common for introverted students to possess some of the same characteristics.
In the article titled, “Two Keys to Helping College Students Feel Like They Belong,” author Melissa De Witte said, “Some students, particularly those from groups that have historically been excluded in higher education, may see these experiences as confirming that ‘people like me’ don’t belong.” All college students should feel a sense of belonging. It does not matter what differences students have, because any group of college students can face these issues in life, which can sometimes proceed into adulthood. When a student has feelings about being excluded because of their differences it can make matters worse for them.
Additionally, this article suggests that it is perfectly fine to get to know people who are different from oneself, as well as being open to new people in one’s life. Even if they are not comfortable in large social groups, they could try talking to just a few individuals they are interested in getting to know. If students have the desire to meet other college students who share the same interests, then they could join clubs or go to places on campus that interest them. For example, if a college student loves to read, they might find friends at their campus library where other like-minded students gather. On the other hand, if they enjoy exercising and sports, they could exercise at the campus gym or attend sporting events. Sometimes taking the initiative to locate more information on upcoming events is an effective way to make new friends. Keep in mind, that there are plenty of activities on campus when you take time to look for them!
It is normal for students to feel disconnected from their college community, but this does not mean they are not wanted. It is up to them to decide if they would like to be part of a group on campus or get to know their instructors. Although it can take time, it can also relieve any stress or doubt the student may be dealing with. This can aid them in building healthy relationships with their peers, instructors, and other individuals on campus who provide support. No one wants to feel left out, and the wonderful thing about college students is that they are on campus together to get an education.