I’m sure you’ve heard that at Cedarville University, you’ll develop lifelong friendships, whether through the articles in the magazines they send to you in the mail or in the advertisement videos you happen to come across every now and then. My mom is living proof of that. There are several friends of hers that now work at the university who were students at the same she and my father were. Not only that, but she is still great friends with retired music professor Dr. Charles Clevenger and his wife, Rhonda. I consider them my grandparents!
I warn you, however, that making relationships that last beyond your 1,000 days is not easy. It takes work, and there is a level of intentionality that you must demonstrate in any relationship. When you meet someone new, you must break the ice and say hello. I know that talking to strangers sounds scary, but I promise it’s well worth it. More often than not, you’ll end up with a friend whom you keep in touch with beyond your 1,000 days here at Cedarville University.
Get to Know Everyone in Your Sting Group
If you don’t know what a sting group is, then allow me to explain. Before classes start, the University has what’s called Getting Started Weekend. These three days are packed full of freshman orientation meetings, unpacking and organizing residence hall rooms, and loads and loads of fun! One of the many events that freshmen attend is a fun gathering where freshmen get to meet other freshmen in what’s called a sting group. Each group is led by about four upperclassmen and there are around 10 freshmen. Every freshman in your sting group is in the same boat as you: They’re also in an unfamiliar environment far away from home with a ton of people they don’t know and are looking for a friend. So, I challenge you to be that friend that they are looking for! Introduce yourself, tell each other what your majors are, where you’re from, and what brought you to Cedarville University and then exchange phone numbers to keep in touch with each other (warning: I’ll say this several times).
Talk to The Classmates Who Sit Near You
The first couple days of classes can be a little intimidating. You don’t know anyone in your classes, or who your professor is, or how intense the class will be. I totally get it. To tell you the truth, even if some of your classmates are upperclassmen, they don’t know what to expect either. When you sit down next to someone else taking the class, introduce yourself. Ask them what their major is, and what they’re hoping to get out of the class. Ask if you can give them your number so you guys can have study sessions together or exchange notes if one of you misses class one day. If you’re in a class with more than 20 students, you won’t be able to get to know all your classmates, but they are another good group of people to get to know since you’ll be seeing them every week for the rest of the semester. Who knows? You both might even end up in another class together or possibly being roomies.
Talk to Your Professors, Especially if You Need Help
As I mentioned earlier, my mother is great friends with one of her former professors, and I also have a professor or two who I plan to stay in touch with after Cedarville. I know some professors can seem scary at times, but they all do truly care about you not just as a student, but as a person.
Last semester, I took a really hard class that I was afraid I wouldn’t pass. About halfway through the semester, my grade was right about at the minimum passing grade, possibly below it. When I first started talking to my professor about the issue, he wasn’t sure what other advice he could offer me besides what he had already told me. I decided to use an analogy to explain what was going on in more detail so that he could better understand where I was coming from and where I was getting stuck. His reaction shocked me! He gave me a couple more tips and, as the semester continued, went out of his way to help me. And guess what? I passed the class with a B-!
Your professors care about you deeply, and they want to help you succeed and make the most out of your education. It’s well worth it to get to know them. Talk to them after class or stop by their office during office hours. While they are primarily there to teach you and your classmates what they know about their area of expertise, as mentioned earlier, they do care about you, and are very good friends with students.
Get to Know Your Roommate and Hallmates/Unit Mates
Your roommate and those in your hall or unit, depending on which residence hall you live in, are the ones you’ll be living with for the academic year. Knock on the door across the hall or right next to yours and introduce yourself. You’re going to be living with them for the next two semesters, so you might as well at least try to get to know them. Halls and units can be very close-knit communities.
It’s possible that you’ve already met your roommate on Zoom and have gotten to know them a little bit but try to get to know them better. Play a game of 20 and you ask them things like “Who’s your favorite superhero?” or “What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?” Again, you’ll be living with them for almost a year, so it’s important to know at least some things about them.
Reach Out to Someone Who Looks Like They Might Need a Friend
I can remember walking out of the library one day during my freshman year and seeing a girl crying to her mom on the phone. I gave her a note with my phone number on it and we got dinner that same week. At dinner she shared with me that in that moment when I saw her outside the library, she was in a rough spot in her life.
If you see someone crying or they look like they’re lonely and could use a friend, go talk to them. Ask them if they’re OK, listen with open ears and an open heart, and then offer them your phone number. Or, if they’re on the phone with someone already, just hand them a quick note letting them know that you want to help them in any way you can and that they can reach out to you (don’t forget to include your phone number!). Even if they don’t return the gesture, sometimes just knowing that someone cares can help them through a dark time.
Cedarville University has a reputation for being a place where you’ll make lifelong friends. Having meaningful relationships in your life can offer encouragement and growth in your life and can also help your mental and spiritual health. Building and investing into relationships are just a couple of the ways that we yellow jackets live out our core value to love others. They say that college is the best four years of your life, so why not live your 1,000 days with others who love Jesus?
Year & Major: Junior, English
Favorite Music Artist: Jeremy Camp, For King & Country
Favorite Quote: It’s hard to pick a favorite, but one of my favorites is, “You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.”-Christopher Robin in Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin
What do you like to do in your free time? Reading, writing, cooking, baking, playing the piano, playing the guitar, spending time with friends and family, visiting coffee shops and bookstores.
Favorite Bible Verse: Psalm 23