In that spirit, following is a list of 5 ways that you can improve your collegial awareness.
1. Read Departmental Bulletin Boards
It is easy to overlook these gems of information. They are typically crowded with tons of notes and outdated event flyers; however, if you just take 5-10 to actually sift through the contents, then you will surely find some wonderful events and information of interest to you. Get your phone ready to snap pictures of the flyers that seem interesting to you. Also remember that every department will have different bulletins and events to attend. Be sure to check out them all!
2. Share Relationship Building Moments with Your Peers
College is about community, so the only way to embody that is to be a part of the community. The next time a close friend of yours invites you out to an event, GO! Accompany them, even if the event doesn’t seem like it will be interesting to you. TBH you two could have a wonderful time talking about how terrible of an event it is. Do not skip out on a moment to develop a life-long memory with your college peers. Also, you will find that by embracing your peer community, they in-turn will enlighten you to the latest happenings and events around campus. You may also meet new friends on any of these journeys.
3. Explore New Buildings
I understand that for some majors it is easy to be isolated within your primary department or academic building. The problem with that is that everyone within that building or department has a similar mindset. You can diversify your mindset by hanging out in a building that you never go to. Go have a see at how other disciplines do things. You will surely gain inspiration for your own discipline and you could also meet some cool new people who you can partner with for new business ventures or collaborative projects.
4. Speak to Professors Regularly
Professors are the lifeblood of universities. They contain a WEALTH of knowledge and information regarding the university and academic affairs globally. Many professors have national and international colleagues who they would love to give you access to if you asked. Warning: most professors LOVE to TALK about themselves and their research, so be prepared to handle the avalanche of information that’s thrown at you. It’s not all their fault though, so don’t blame them. Being a professor can be an isolating experience at times. Speaking to your professors occasionally throughout the academic term will help you to establish relationship and report with them and this is crucial for obtaining scholarship funding, extra class help, letters of recommendation, and connections to research opportunities. Seems difficult, but JUST DO IT (IT’S WORTH IT!!!!!!!).
5. Participate in School Activities
These days, so many students want to live off-campus and have their own living space. If you have digested anything that I have said thus far, then you understand how that mantra is opposite of being COLLEGIAL. If the school is hosting spirit week, a pep rally, a sporting event, a special cafeteria event, a concert, or a comedy show then make it your business to be a part of as much as you can. A large part of the college experience is to embrace your school spirit and to be proud of the place that is training you into the great professional that you will one day be. Go to the sporting events and root on your classmates as they fight for the pride of your school. Be a fan and celebrate victories with your peers. When you finally graduate and someone asks you about the famous social event that your school is known for, do not be the person who has never participated. Conversation ender followed by awkward silence. Be a part of your college!
5 ways to increase your collegial awareness. I would love to hear more suggestions and ideas on how you work to be an active member of your college community. Post your stories in the comments below.
Dr. Gabriel Burks is dedicated to increasing higher education awareness and showing aspiring scholars the power of science.