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Going to college is known to be a highly social time for many people, even in this digital age. Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, there are plenty of social benefits to be gained through going to college, even if you don’t realize it at first. Whether you’re a social butterfly with plenty of friends already or you’re looking to branch out socially this year, there’s a lot to be learned about yourself in college, especially when it comes to the way you relate to your peers and classmates.
Even if your classmates are online this year — or if things are otherwise a little unconventional — it can be important to understand the ways that college can impact your social life, either in the present or the future when things return back to normal. There are so many social benefits you can experience in college, and while some of them are conventional, others might just be a bit unexpected. Here are a few of the benefits you might experience when you find your way onto a college campus.
1. Learning Balance
High school, work, and other settings before college can sometimes have a tendency to control large parts of your life. College is a time when you can truly learn to have the balance you need to be successful in your life, both academically and personally. By reinforcing your personal support system and focusing on your studies, you can learn the best balance for you.
2. Practicing Independence
Especially if you’re living on campus, college is often a time of practicing independence — if not experiencing it for the very first time. You’ll learn to manage your coursework, club responsibilities and schedule on your own, balance your finances, cook and clean for yourself, and cover expenses like rent and rental insurance, groceries and bills. While many social benefits are about the connections you can make in college, they’re also about learning to have a valuable and rewarding relationship with yourself first. Self-actualization is the most important social skill.
3. Making Acquaintances
College is a time when you’re surrounded by so many new people, and while having tons of friends may sound like the best option, it’s not possible to be truly intimate friends with everyone you know and like. That’s why acquaintances are so powerful. By making acquaintances, you can surround yourself with people you like and enjoy without the pressure of bringing everyone into your inner circle, which is actually quite healthy.
Networking is the cross between social and professional, which is exactly why some people find it so challenging, while others enjoy it and find it thrilling. College is a great place to learn how to network, as you are perfectly surrounded by people who are your peers both in the social sense and in the sense that you are studying the same things. Networking is a social skill, and learning it in college is a great way to practice and have fun with it.
5. Building New Circles
Even if you already have plenty of great friends, college is a place where you have the opportunity to expand your mind as well as your social life. Being in a new place for the first time and being surrounded by new and interesting people is bound to get your social senses tingling, and through this, you can meet all kinds of new friends and make lifelong connections — what could be better than that?
6. Setting Boundaries
When you’re in college, life can sometimes be a free-for-all — from late nights partying with your pals to late nights in the library studying. But one of the best skills you can learn in college is the ability to set boundaries, both with your schoolwork and with your social life. You need the support of your friends, but you also need to learn your limits and remember how to practice self care regularly. Boundaries are a skill you can take with you everywhere, long after you get your degree.
7. Being in Close Proximity to Others
While this alone can be a benefit from the fun of the camaraderie — ah, the memories of dorm room bunk beds — it can also be a benefit through teaching you life skills. If you live on campus or even just near campus, you and your friends are probably together often, and being so close to others can feel fun, while also teaching you to set the boundaries and practice the communication and self-advocacy skills you need to have productive relationships with those around you.
8. Learning About Yourself
One of the best benefits from your college social experience likely won’t seem very social at all — in fact, it’s all about you. College is a hypersocial environment, which allows you to get a taste for everything. You can learn about your needs and your limits however is comfortable for you, and that’s a lesson you’ll always be grateful for.
The Social Benefits of College
College is a social place — from the parties to the lecture halls — and there are so many things that can come with that social interaction. From great friends to setting the boundaries you need with them, college can teach you so much about yourself and the world around you.