Settling into college for your first year — especially if you don’t know a soul — can be a little scary. I know that when I enter a new context, I tend to hide away because that seems to be what’s most comfortable and predictable. However, when I came to Evangel, it wasn’t long before I realized that hiding away in my dorm room wasn’t going to help me settle into my new life at college. In fact, hiding away made the adjustment more difficult.
I recognized that I would probably experience some growing pains in my new journey, especially if I was going to make Evangel my home.
Find a club, organization or team that you can join
I can’t stress this point enough. One of the best steps I ever took my freshman year was to take a leap of faith to audition for Evangel’s concert choir. I sang in choir during high school, and I knew that I wanted to continue singing in a group during college. However, it took my being willing to audition for this group – which was nerve-wracking! – for me to be part of my Concert Choir family who has been supportive to me throughout the past three years of college.
At the beginning of the fall semester, Evangel clubs and organizations host a fair where new and returning students can explore the different options available. Pick one or two that interest you and enjoy!
Keep your dorm room door open
A dorm floor can either be isolating or inviting. It’s tempting to close out the “outside world” in one’s dorm room, especially if the unfamiliar environment is overwhelming. While there’s a place for alone time, I believe that one of the best ways to feel less overwhelmed about meeting new friends is for one to open up his or her door. This doesn’t invite the whole Evangel student body to invade your space, but it does open up the opportunity for the 20-30 people on your floor to get to know you a little bit better. During my freshman year, the more I opened my dorm room door, the more I opened myself up to building meaningful relationships and the more my floor-mates were able to be open to get to know me.
Introduce yourself to the person who sits next to you in your courses
The Evangel experience revolves so much around the concept of community. This community is not only apparent in clubs, organizations, activities, and dorm life — but it’s also evident in academic courses. If you’re what I call a “solitary studier” like me, you tend to view school and classes as an independent experience. I find that it’s easy — especially during early a.m. classes when I’m tired — to sneak into class, take notes and hastily charge to the next class. However, I’ve realized within the past couple of years that community should extend into the classroom and that it’s my responsibility to build classroom friendships. Maybe you’ll find a new study buddy or a new friend who has the same major as you.
As you start making memories here at Evangel, I firmly believe that you will find a new home that will hold a very special place in your heart. So, get involved! Find a group, meet new friends, and experience everything you can from Evangel.