This Spring, thousands of college graduates will walk across the stage to receive their degree. What awaits them is exciting. New jobs for some, graduate school for others, new cities for many, and new experiences for all are only days away. Leaving college can be an exciting time, but it can also be a nerve-racking time as well.
In college, making friends is relatively easy for most people. Everyone lives in pretty close quarters, there are always new classes to meet people in, and there are tons of clubs and activities to check out and find other students with similar backgrounds, experiences, and interests. For so many students, college is a comfort zone. A home away from home. College is the perfect environment to practice Social Excellence.
However, once you get in “the real world”, practicing Social Excellence takes a bit more work than it did in college. Here’s what we’ve learned about being socially excellent after college ends:
1) Social Excellence is outside of your comfort zone
You can’t meet people sitting on your couch. As an adult, it is really easy to fill your days with work and home responsibilities. However, those often don’t lend themselves to meeting and engaging with new people. In order to practice Social Excellence in the real world, you’ve got to actually out into the real world. You’ve got to step outside of your comfort zone. You’ve got to remember that every friend you’ve ever had was a stranger first. You can’t make new friends without first meeting a few strangers. Yes, meeting strangers is scary. We’ve talked before about how making new friends is hard. It is. But if you want to have a social life outside of just your friends and family from college (or be successful by pretty much any measure), you’ve got to be prepared to get off the couch and shake some hands.
Need a few ideas on how to make this happen? It can be really tough, especially in a new city! Here are a few places where you can make new friends:
- Volunteer in your community for a cause you’re passionate about
- Join a local alumni chapter of your fraternity or sorority
- Try out a new church or place of worship
- Get your swoll on in a new gym
- Meetups are like college clubs for adults
- There’s an app for making new friends
2) Social Excellence isn’t a #SquadGoal
You’ve had a squad for years. If you’re reading this blog, odds are your squad was made up at least partially by members of your fraternity or sorority. But don’t forget that Social Excellence isn’t about having a ton of friends – it is about creating meaningful relationships with others. Through being generous, curious, vulnerable, and authentic, you can build these types of relationships with new people as you navigate the harsh realities of #adulting. Remember that just because you had an endless supply of friends and new people in college, it doesn’t mean you need to recreate that endless supply after college. We applaud you if you can, but its ok to have just a few new close friends too.
3) Social Excellence happens on social media too
We would never want you to be one of those people who only communicates with others behind their computer. Sure, you can make great friends online –but the power of in-person connection matters. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep up with your friends on social media. It is a great way to help encourage friends from a distance, show them that you’re thinking of them, and stay involved in their lives even if you might not see them as much as you used to. We’ve shared quite a few ways for you to demonstrate Social Excellence on social media. However, don’t’ forget that you can’t keep relationships entirely online. Catching up in person is critical to keeping long-term friendships healthy.
We are excited to congratulate you and welcome you to life after college! There are so many awesome, exciting adventures ahead of you. There are also so many great friends you’ll have that you haven’t met yet. And you won’t meet them until you step outside of your comfort zone and make it happen!