When it comes to socializing at Ohio State, many think their only hope is joining a student club or organization.
Little do they know that Ohio State offers numerous social opportunities unbeknownst to many students.
Kristen Rupert Davis, Ohio State’s associate dean of students, said she encourages students to get an on-campus job that allows them to work with a close group of peers while getting paid, building a resume and gaining mentorship from bosses and older employees.
“Not only are you getting involved on campus, but you’re also getting paid to do so,” Rupert Davis said. “You have this really great mentorship and ability to meet other students on campus.”
Rupert Davis said attending university-hosted service and leadership events is an effective way to meet like-minded groups of people who want to give back to the Columbus community.
“You’re doing it with other people, other people who might be learning alongside you,” Rupert Davis said. “It’s a great way to just try something new, try something different, and the events are not all the same.”
Rupert Davis said she also recommends students go to events happening on The Oval, where they can talk to new people while experiencing the heart of campus and all it has to offer.
“It’s low stakes,” Rupert Davis said. “Don’t be afraid to try something new in order to meet new people.”
Courtney Moore, a Ph.D. candidate in social psychology and president of the Social Behavior Interest Group, said humans have a fundamental need to belong in society, and college students especially feel the pressure to form social connections.
“We know there are a lot of outcomes to socializing that are really important,” Moore said. “So not only mental health, but also physical health. People who socialize more tend to have less reported stress, but also lower stress indicators.”
Moore said meeting those with dissimilar interests is crucial, as it teaches students new things about life and themselves, and allows them to be comfortable with trying new things.
“It’s hard to learn things about yourself if you’re not interacting with other people,” Moore said. “When you’re interacting with people who are different from you, just being exposed to something you’ve never been exposed to can help you.”
Moore said one of the main reasons people are hesitant to open up and socialize is a natural fear of rejection.
“You don’t give yourself a chance to be proven wrong, you just continue to believe that you’re going to be rejected,” Moore said. “Even just becoming aware of the fear of rejection can help you make one friend who can then introduce you to other friends.”
Moore said the best thing students can do is realize they don’t have to do it all on their own and that every social situation has a positive outcome, even if it’s unnoticed at first.
“Be willing to be brave for 10 seconds,” Moore said. “Introduce yourself or ask a question to break the ice, and I think you’ll surprise yourself.”
Rupert Davis agreed.
“Challenge yourself each week to do one new thing,” Rupert Davis said. “Something really easy, something really low stakes. Every time it will feel a little easier, and maybe you will have made another connection with someone new.”