Mental Health Tips of the Month
Develop Your Campus Network!October 2014
A new year at university is a time of change and opportunity. While these first few months of transition into the academic year can be stressful and busy, they are also an excellent opportunity to meet new people and professors and to expand your campus social world. We believe that there is more to the university experience than simply attending classes. The university can also offer tons of opportunities to get involved with student life, to find your passion, to expand your social circle and to experience new ways of thinking and being. Here’s how:
- Go to class: This is important for more than just academic reasons. Classes offer excellent opportunities to meet other students with similar interests, to get to know professors you admire, and to experience different ways of thinking and seeing the world. Even more than going to class, try participating in class, forming a study group to get to know your peers, and attending office hours to gain some one-on-one time with a professor who just might become a mentor.
- Study at the library: or somewhere else on campus that isn’t your residence hall room/apartment. You’ll be amazed at the number of people with similar study patterns and schedules. People who you might find yourself interacting with just because you’re in the same place, at the same time, doing similar things.
- Join a club: Find a club that sounds interesting and attend a meeting or activity – even if it's something you haven't tried before. The Center for Student Involvement in the University Center has information about the more than 400 different student organizations on campus. Chances are there's a group out there that matches some of your interests!
- Attend a sports or cultural event: Even if you can’t find anyone you know who wants to attend the same event, go anyway! Just by attending the event, you may meet other people that enjoy similar experiences and who WILL want to go to similar events in the future. Follow your interests – they will often lead you to people who share them!
- Volunteer: Volunteering is an incredible opportunity to meet people interested in the same causes you are. Moreover, if you volunteer in a field in which you hope to work after graduation, you can meet people who might one day help you to find a job in that field. Not only that, volunteering makes you feel good and can help you to gain perspective, understanding, and a sense of being engaged with the community outside of the college campus.
- Balance your time: Yes, you are here to learn and to study, but you are also here to meet a range of people and have a number of different experiences that only a university campus can provide. In fact, research has shown that students reporting 4 hours of extracurricular involvement a week described higher satisfaction with their college experience as well as higher GPAs.
If none of these ideas help or you would like to learn more about how to develop your campus social network, please call CAPS to schedule an initial consultation appointment to discuss your concerns with a therapist. If you are experiencing a crisis situation and need to speak with someone immediately, please contact CAPS during business hours, and we will be happy to assist you. After business hours, you may contact: (1) MHMRA at (713) 970-7000, (2) Crisis Intervention of Houston at (713) HOTLINE (468-5463), or (3) the University of Houston Department of Public Safety at (713) 743-3333 and ask to speak to the clinician on-call.