Written by Amanda Gault ‘23

Can you recall the scene in Mean Girls where Cady Herron ate her lunch alone in the bathroom on the first day of school? As an incoming freshman in college, I was scared that the iconic movie scene would be my reality because I did not know anyone before move-in day. But Cumberlands made it easy for me to meet new friends and get involved on campus. Here are some of my best tips to building community:  

1.     Follow us on social media

2.    Don’t Stay in Your Dorm Room

After a long day, it can be easy just to stay in your dorm room. Sometimes, that’s exactly what you need, and that’s okay. But my best piece of advice would be to put yourself out there. There are many events happening on campus every week that will allow you to meet new people. Go to some of them!

3.    Pursue Your Passions

There are tons of clubs and organizations on campus that allow you to explore whatever activity gets you excited. Whether you are interested in taking photos for the student newspaper (which wins tons of awards every year, by the way) or playing sports in an intramural league (you’ve never seen ping pong like THIS before), there will be a place for you to pursue your passions.

4.    Don’t Overbook Yourself

With so many ways to get involved on campus, it is easy to overcommit yourself. My freshman year, I felt very overwhelmed on campus because I was involved in so many aspects of campus, but, because my schedule was spread so thin, I was not very deeply invested in any of them. As a junior, instead of plugging into many different clubs I’m sort of interested in, I have chosen to invest my time in a few organizations I am very passionate about. It’s kept me sane!

5.    Put Yourself Out There

Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there! College is all about meeting new people and creating memories that will last a lifetime. I met my best friend Molly by asking her if she wanted to grab coffee after a class we had together. If you’re shy, this will be hard. Even if you aren’t, it might still be a bit nerve-wracking. But think of the relationships you can start by asking one simple question like, “What’s your Snapchat?” or “Wanna get lunch after class?” Seriously, one invitation could change your life.

6.    Be Invested

This goes along with what I mentioned earlier about not overbooking yourself. Choose the clubs and organizations that you want to get involved in, and then stay connected with them! Take the time to be invested with the people that you surround yourself with. That’s the true secret to building community. No relationship was ever built in an instant. There are really special people here at Cumberlands. Take the time to invest in some of them!

I am grateful for the opportunities I’ve had at Cumberlands to have a well-rounded college experience. They helped me foster community as a freshman that has transformed into deep friendships. I am so excited for you all to be able to call Cumberlands home!