It was Saturday morning and I awoke to an empty dorm room. My roommate had gone to meet her family for the big football game. Realizing that I was alone was absolutely terrifying. After completing the finishing touches on my room, I spent the rest of the day counting down the hours until my roommate came back as I watched TV and surfed the Internet. Soon I heard knocking on doors and people talking. Eventually, a knock on my door came. I opened it and found a new neighbor of mine. She was walking the halls attempting to meet new people. It was then I realized that I was not alone and that other people were also new to the college scene. I knew that I needed to start meeting people and looking for a community to join.
I knew that I needed to start meeting people and looking for a community to join.
Prior to my first day at the University of Cincinnati, I received a bit of advice from my mentor. She told me to sit down and think about what groups I wanted to plug into. I began to really think about what I wanted, the type of people I wanted to surround myself with and what new opportunities I wanted to discover. I made the decision to find a Christian group that was similar to the one I was a part of in high school. My leaders from Young Life suggested that I look for the Navigators (there are other reputable groups on most campuses as well). This was a group of people who would become great encouragers, walk along side me through my college years and become long-lasting friends. I highly recommend getting involved in a group during your time in college. The bonds I made in the Navigators drastically impacted my college experience and truly helped me grow in my faith.
Here are a few tips to help you get plugged in:
Many college campuses will advertise about campus life on their websites. This is an excellent place to check and see what is available at your school. There may be links to each organization’s specific website; this is where contact information, meeting times, mission statements and other important information would be.
Type into the search feature your school’s name and group or type of group (e.g., “CSULB Navigators”) you are looking for. See who is involved and use this as a jumping off point to start connecting.
Be on the lookout for activity fairs. These present a face-to-face opportunity to meet people involved in the organization you may be interested in.
Signs, posters and flyers will most likely litter the campus during the first few weeks of classes. Pick these up and check out the different groups. I have had friends who went and collected information that was either lying on the ground, scattered among tabletops in the student union, or that were posted to bulletin boards around campus. They would line up all of their handouts and would check out the meetings that fit into their schedule.
Most likely you are not the first person to walk into an organization’s large group meeting. Many new people will be there also looking for people to call friends. Do not be afraid to introduce yourself. Ask questions and make a new friend.
If finding a religious or faith-based group is important, try using the tips above. The most effective way would be to look up information using the group’s website. Pay attention to the beliefs of the group in order to see how they view salvation, how they teach and interpret the Bible, and how they adhere to other basic principles of the Christian faith. Be sure to ask your pastor or church leader for Christian group recommendations.
A few well-known groups are:
Campus Crusade for Christ