We’ve all heard colloquialisms like: “You are the company you keep.” “Birds of a feather flock together,” or “you are a product of your environment.” Who you spend time with, either socially or professionally, will greatly impact your college experience.
The people you meet in college will serve many purposes in your life. Some will be your lifelong friends. Some will be your future colleagues. Others will help you develop existing gifts or help you develop new ones. Being intentional about seeking out a college niche is an integral part of your education. Here are a few things to keep in mind to help you maximize your experience:
A college niche can help enhance your gifts
Hanging out with people who share your goals and values will help you excel professionally, academically, and socially. You will be much more motivated around people who have similar goals and push you to reach yours. On a personal level, you will develop deep, lasting bonds with those you have so much in common with. It’s a win-win.
For instance, if you are very studious and enjoy intellectual conversations, consider joining academic honors societies and form study groups in your classes. If you are super athletic, join a sports team or get involved in a workout accountability community. If you are passionate about leadership, philanthropy, and meeting diverse group of people, consider Greek Life in college.
Don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone
Some students choose not to conform to any one group of people but rather enjoy having a variety of friends and interests. Not only does this help the undecided student find their fit, it keeps you well-rounded as a person.
If you ever find yourself gravitating towards other groups of people outside of your social niche, this is okay. In fact, I would encourage you to constantly put yourself in situations outside your comfort zone because you’ll have more to gain personally when you walk away from it. When you have a group of friends and push yourself out of your social niche in college, you will be more well-rounded and open-minded as an individual.
Seek out leadership opportunities
Instead of merely joining various social circles, seek to have an active role and take on a leadership position. That way, you won’t just be benefiting personally from what the group has to offer, but you’ll be able to give back, interact with more people, and have a real influence on your peers. Additionally, don’t forget about the resume potential certain positions can have. Taking on a more active role will help you develop more skills and make connections with other people of influence.