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Developing healthy relationships and expanding your network of support are both important tasks for you to do in college. Without these relationships, your experience may be lackluster at best and lonely and difficult at worst. The first step to creating meaningful connections is to be healthy yourself and acknowledging the importance of community. There are also some ways you can jumpstart a relationship by improving your “small talk” skills. You will develop many relationships with different people while you are in college, but one of the most important is with your professors. Be sure to find ways to connect with them in and out of class. You will also want to be mindful of connecting with classmates, peers, mentors, and advisors as they will all be important to your network for success and support. Finally, there is no better way to really get to know others than when you work with them to complete a goal or a project. While group work strikes fear in some students, it doesn’t have to be a conflict-ridden endeavor. Consider what you can do to anticipate challenges and make the process as smooth as possible.

To make the most of the relationships that you will develop or strengthen, consider what else about relationships and working with others that you would like to improve. Choose one of the following to explore further this term:

  • Create a self-care routine that you incorporate into your weekly tasks. Read, watch, or listen to articles, books, videos, and podcasts about self-awareness, self-reflection, mindfulness, and stress reduction. These resources can help you build your self-care toolkit.
  • Find ways to connect to your community through organizations, clubs, events, and volunteer opportunities. Work on developing a solid sense of belonging academically, socially, and campuswide.
  • Get to know at least one professor this term and begin to build your support network of classmates, peers, mentors, and advisors. Commit to reaching out to people to begin developing relationships.
  • Talk with your family and friends about what kinds of support you would like from them while you are in college. Be clear about your needs.
  • Create a system for managing group work that includes assigning roles, setting goals, and developing communication expectations.
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