It’s day one of your 1,000 days at Cedarville University. Hyped-up students wearing matching yellow or blue T-shirts and waving pool noodles line the sidewalks cheering for you as you and your parents drive down University Boulevard and pull up to your residence hall. You couldn’t be more pumped. But once the excitement wears off a little, your parents head home, and it’s just you and your room full of half-unpacked stuff in a new world, you realize that you know no one (or next to no one) besides your roommate, and you may not even know them. That can be very overwhelming.
Don’t panic, you’re not the only one who might feel like this! Cedarville is a place that fosters good friendships and has so many ways that you can get involved, get out there, and meet people. This post isn’t just for the introvert who might be more reserved; it’s also for the most extroverted of extroverts who just doesn’t know where to start. So, with that, here’s a little advice on getting acquainted with the Cedarville community.
Step outside the comfort zone.
Put yourself out there! I know, this is way easier said than done. You’re not going to get to know anyone if you don’t put yourself in a position to meet anyone. When you arrive here on campus, you’ll be put into something called a Sting Group. Each Sting Group is made up of about 10 new students just like you and a couple upperclassmen leaders. Guys, embrace that sting group! You’ll be hanging out quite a bit together for the first couple of days that you’re here, so you might as well get to know them a bit! It can be weird to spend a bunch of time with strangers, so don’t stay strangers. Ask questions. Break the ice. Say “hi” when you pass on the sidewalk instead of looking down at your feet. Talk to people in your unit or hall, introduce yourself to others in your classes. Step outside your comfort zone, and make an effort to get to know people you don’t, even if it’s not easy or is a little uncomfortable at first!
Be okay with being the one to reach out.
Don’t always wait for an invitation; be an inviter! After you’ve met some people and see lots of familiar faces, it can be easy to have the mindset of, “if they want to hang out with me, they’ll ask.” This is true, but try not to hold others to high expectations, making it their job only to ask, and don’t be afraid to be the initiator, to seek others out, and to branch out! Getting to know one or two people really well is a great thing, but it’s also really good to grow your circle a little bit. Having more than a few people you can look out for and who can look out for you, uphold and hold one another accountable is a wise idea.
Limit the time you spend looking at screens.
Let’s be honest, we all spend a little too much time on screens. I don’t know about you, but personally, whenever I spend less time scrolling and more time socializing, I go to bed feeling better about my day knowing I’ve invested my time well. So, rather than playing another game or watching a few more stories, make it a point to be present. One thing that helps me with this is setting time limits on my apps so that I don’t accidentally get sucked in for hours.
Another thing that will really benefit you and will help grow meaningful relationships is when you’re with someone, truly be with someone. A popular term or idea that’s heavily emphasized here at Cedarville is “intentional community”: deliberately, intentionally seeking out and building authentic relationships with those around us to cultivate deep relationships that point each other toward Christ. Oftentimes when I’m walking around campus and I see people getting coffee or meals together, their screens are gone as they are listening intently to one another. Leaving the screens out of sight, out of mind has a huge impact on the deepening and enriching of your relationships. By putting the phone away, you show others that your relationship with them is more important than your relationship with your phone. It always means so much to me when I sit down with a friend and they put their phone away — it shows me that I matter to them. Keeping your screen close when you’re with someone else can be detrimental, and turning it off for a minute can make all the difference!
Branching out, meeting people, stepping outside the comfort zone is not an easy thing to do, and it can be a little intimidating at first, so I hope these little bits of advice are helpful. But just a word of warning, be careful that you aren’t consumed by trying to fit in or please people, trying to find satisfaction or identity in people, or idolizing relationships with others. Make sure you’re devoting time to your relationship with Christ, too, and take time to thank Him for the people He’s placed around you! Friendship is a good gift from God; don’t be afraid of going after it, all the while keeping your focus on Him!
Majoring in Advocacy Communications, Class of 2023
Favorite Place to Be: Outdoors
Go to Rinnova order: Either an Iced Boston or ‘Promised Land’