Social Studies: Do’s and Don’ts for University Social Life

Congratulations! You’ve made it through high school and all the awkward parties, first days of school, clicks and cliches that go along with it. Gone are the jocks, the cool kids, the emo kids, the nerds, the band geeks and the book worms. Turns out you can be interested in more than one thing and don’t need to be labeled one of ten cliche categories that everyone seems to get slotted into in high school. Welcome to college and university where diversity and differences are celebrated.

In a study done by Academically Adrift and published on USATODAY.com, this is how college students spend their time: 51% socializing, 7% studying, 9% going to class, 9% working/volunteering and 24% sleeping.

I’m sure I spent more than 7% of my week studying, but regardless of the accuracy of this study, reality is that along the way university and college often become more of a social experience than an academic one. I was seventeen(!) when I moved away from home into my new residence hall. I’m certain that I learned more social and time management skills than I did in my actual university courses.

At the ripe old age of 22, I will now impart my high school and university social wisdom. Some of these things I did, some of them I wish I did. I hope they help you make the most of your university or college social experience!

DO make friends with your professors and classmates, even in that random economics class you decided to take.

DO try to make friends outside of your residence/roommates.

DO attend and/or host silly dress-up parties.

DO make friends with your residence adviser/floor don. I went to my floor adviser for advice all through university. We are still in touch now.

DO make an extra effort to meet the international/exchange students. You can travel the world without leaving your campus!

DO look into fraternities or sororities. From my experience, they are often not what you think they are.

DO create study groups.

DO sit next to someone who is sitting alone on the first day.

DO stay up late! University gives you the luxury of being able to take naps. Take advantage!

DON’T judge anyone at first sight. The most interesting friends you will make at college will be the most unlike you.

DON’T let age be a barrier. High school friendships tend to stick to people in your own grade. Older university/college friends can offer good advice and introduce you to different friend groups.

DON’T worry about what your new friends think about you joining the school paper or the debating club. They probably want to join something too.

DON’T let a boyfriend/girlfriend take over your life.

DON’T let academics take over your life. You won’t remember what you learned, you will remember the friends you made. You’ll eventually find a social/academic relationship that works for you.

DON’T talk about people. You probably learned that in high school. It definitely doesn’t fly in the work place either.

DON’T drink until you spew. Just don’t do it! But when you do, don’t do it again.

DON’T worry about leaving it to the last minute one or two times.

What advice would you give your high school graduate self about college or university? Please share!

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