Resource Navigators: Why Should You Get Connected?

Five students of various ethnicities take a selfie (woman's arm reaches up; group is standing on a blonde wooden floor).

With over 40,000 students and with 19 schools/colleges, the University of Michigan can feel enormous. It’s no surprise that, with these numbers, a lot of students come into Michigan without any connections on campus. It’s easy to be overwhelmed with everything happening; there are so many events and organizations on campus that it can be hard to make choices.

It’s very important, however, to stay connected on campus. Building relationships and community will make your college years more enjoyable, help you do better in classes, and leave you with life-long lasting connections with people as you head along life’s different paths. Additionally, it may be helpful for your future career! Many professional student organizations and campus groups have close employer connections that can make it easier for you to find an internship, even when you have little career experience.

How do you get and stay connected on campus? Here are three easy steps.

Step 1: Find and Attend Events. College is a time for you to explore what the world has to offer and to learn more about who you are. Even though it can be intimidating, try new things. Join a club event, go painting, try out karaoke, attend a film screening; whatever opportunities you can find, try things at least once. Getting exposed to many different areas will make you a more well-rounded person and solidify your understanding of who you are. (Additionally, many events have food, so that’s always a plus!)

A great way to find these events is through newsletters. Here are some good places to look: 

  • As an undergraduate, check your umich inbox for “Weekly Things to Do” (which outlines a-week-at-a-glance events on campus).
  • Central Student Government (CSG) newsletters, or your school’s/college’s newsletter, like LSA’s Newnan News. 
  • There are other newsletters for specific activities that may interest you, whether for a club, career track update, departmental newsletters, or any other organization on campus. For example, if you are interested in leadership, the Zell Lurie Institute and Barger Leadership Center both have great newsletters. (Do a Maize Pages or Google search and ask to be added to their mailing list.) 
  • You can also find a comprehensive list of everything going on the cross-campus calendar Happening@Michigan.

Step 2: Reflect and Find your Niche. Once you go to these events, the next step is to reflect. Ask yourself: what about the event did I enjoy and what could have been better? Would you want to go to similar events in the future? By doing this, you can start to understand more about yourself and what activities you enjoy. Journaling is a great way to bring out these thoughts and keep track of your insights. Another goal of this reflection is to come up with a list of types of future events you are interested in attending or perhaps the names of clubs or organizations sponsoring the event of which you’d like to be a member.

In addition to these questions, you can also ask yourself if you got everything out of the event that you wanted. For example, perhaps you were feeling anxious during the event and passed up the opportunity to do something that seemed fun or talk with someone who seemed interesting. Notice these thoughts and see how you can make changes, so that you don’t miss out in the future.

Step 3: Be Bold and Repeat. Once you have found your niche, it’s the time to be bold. When you attend events that you know you enjoy, via your prior exploration, you want to try and introduce yourself to as many people there as you can. By forming these connections, you will be able to identify other people who share similar interests and find ways to get more deeply involved. By talking to the event organizers or attendees, you can find out more interesting opportunities related to these areas and see if you would be interested in joining the club or organization. 

You’ll find that campus doesn’t seem nearly as big by implementing these strategies. Within your niche, you’ll notice that usually the same subsets of people regularly attend. First, you’ll become acquainted with them. Then, you’ll start to see the people in your niche around campus more and more often. Soon, you’ll realize that you’ve found a community around you. This is the way Michigan will start to feel more like home, as you continue to try new things until the moment you graduate!

UMICH RESOURCE LINKS (In order of article appearance.)
Central Student Government (CSG)
Zell Lurie Institute
Barger Leadership Center
Maize Pages


Content Expertise Contributor:
Nathan Vanderweide | Junior | LSA Mathematics