From online classes, to a universities with over 50,000 students, and everything in between, no two campuses are exactly alike; or exactly the same size.
If you are looking into a big campus, you may be excited about the size, the excitement, the energy, and all the new people that come with it. However, you may also find yourself worrying about making friends in college, being just another number in the crowd, not being able to professors, or just simply not finding your fit.
Take a deep breath, these concerns are very valid.
Take these two ideas into consideration:
- You are not alone. There are thousands of students with these concerns.
- There are ways to make a big campus feel small.
For starters, living on campus practically places you into a group of friends. Every day, you will see tons of people traveling in and out of your residence hall and walking around the floor you live on. Often times, the floors of the residence halls have group messages together that your resident assistant (or RA) organizes. A resident assistant is an upper class student who works for the University in the residence halls. RAs are there to help you, and will even arrange events for people of your hall to get to know each other and hang out.
Clubs, clubs, clubs
If that does not already relax your nerves a little bit, this will. Penn State offers over 1,000 student-run clubs and organizations. That is not a typo- there are clubs for practically everything. If there is somehow still a club you are interested in that Penn State does not already offer, grab seven of your friends, find an advisor, and you can actually work on creating a club of your own.
From professional organizations, philanthropy groups, club sports, and intramural sports, you will find a way to become involved. There are countless amounts of students who will tell you they met their best friends or have had their best college moments from joining a club or organization.
I can definitely say this is true for me. From being involved in working new student orientations and with THON, I have made some of my best friends. From working and spending time together, we have grown close and made a countless amount of memories.
When you find the right fit for you, it will easily be one of the most enjoyable, rewarding, and enriching experiences of your college career.
So, you have people in your residence hall in the same situation as you. You have clubs which will introduce you to wide ranges of people and experiences. From other freshmen looking to become involved, to sophomores, juniors, and seniors who once were in your shoes (and maybe can give you a tip or two on life at Penn State) you will find friends.
Connecting with faculty
Still worried about the whole “just another face in the crowd” idea? Worry no more! Professors love students to come talk to them, especially during their “office hours”. Office hours are when faculty/professors/whoever is teaching your class is in their office waiting to talk to students.
They may answer your questions about homework, projects or exams, take a look at your resume and provide tips, or even talk to you about career opportunities in a certain field. Professors are there to help, and they love it.
I have talked with many of my business professors to ask for advice on real-world situations, such as searching for internships and career fair tips. On a more casual side, a science professor I had my freshmen year would always talk football with me, as we were fans of rival teams. Professors are there for you, and can be great resources to connect with.
Again, take a deep breath. This is just skimming the surface of the ways to make a big campus feel small.
And if your worries hold you back from applying to Penn State – University Park, begin to consider your other Penn State campus options!