I Don't Live in Dorm: How Do I Find Community?
The people we surround ourselves have a huge influence on us and who we become. You have probably heard the saying ‘you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with’. If this is the case, we should choose wisely the people we choose to be close to. Luckily, here at Briercrest, we have an amazing opportunity to surround ourselves with other Christians who are seeking God wholeheartedly and who will encourage us to do the same.
Connecting with new people in a new environment can be intimidating, especially if you are introverted or living “in community” rather than “in dorm.” My biggest fears when I first came to Briercrest four years ago were how well I would fit in and if I would make friends. As a more introverted individual who chose not to live in dorm, it would have been easy for me to stick to myself and not integrate into the Briercrest community. I am so glad I did not choose that route or I would have missed out on the richest, most life-giving community I have ever experienced, and I would definitely not be the person I am today. Although it takes intentionality and effort to create a sense of community in a new place, I can testify that the time and effort you put into making friends at college is well worth it. So here are some of the ways I made friends and built a community at Briercrest that you can do too!
1. Talk to People in Your Classes
Class is one of the easiest places to make friends. I did not know anyone at Briercrest as a freshman, so I was sitting next to strangers in all my classes. Over the year, I learned how easy and natural it was to get to know the students in my classes. I learned to take advantage of the time before class started to chat with the people around me. Being in the same class, we already had something in common so I would ask how they were finding the class which would usually lead to further conversation (what they were majoring, why they chose Briercrest etc.).
There are a few reasons why befriending classmates can be beneficial. Classmates can make great study partners. Since you are studying the same material, you can quiz each other on what you have learned. It could also be helpful to talk with students who have a different perspective than you because they may notice different aspects that you would not necessarily pick up on. I have had some incredible conversations with other students over the years that really challenged my thinking and helped me to wrestle through some tough topics with an open mind. And who knows, you might even make a new best friend!
2. Get Involved in Extracurricular Activities
Some of the richest communities are formed when people are working together to a common goal. In my first year, I chose to be a manager for the women’s volleyball team. I had the incredible opportunity to partner with coaches who set an example in their love and devotion to Jesus. Working together with the volleyball team gave me opportunities that I otherwise never would have experienced including the chance to pray for and with other teams, share the gospel and love of Jesus with nonbelievers, and even witness some miraculous healings.
Being a part of a team builds character, and, especially at Briercrest, there are a plethora of opportunities to join a team that serves the school as well as the body of Christ. We are incredibly blessed to attend a school where there are so many opportunities to partner with other believers whether it is by joining a worship team, student leadership team, or sports team. If you are not already involved in some sort of extracurricular activity, I would highly recommend finding something you enjoy and are passionate about!
Click here to learn more about Briercrest Athletics!
Click here to learn more about Briercrest Performing and Worship Arts!
Click here to learn more about BCA Activites!
Click here to learn more about Prairie Hockey Academy!
3. Take Advantage of Public Places
While I have made some great connections in class and through different activities I have been involved in, some of the best conversations I have had were simply because I was in the right place at the right time. Public areas where there is a lot of traffic are great places to meet new people and connect with people who you might not see very often. One of my favourite places to study (especially if I do not have anything due immediately) is The Crossroads Cafe because it is a space where everyone walks through to get to class or back to their dorm. Sitting in such a centralized location, I end up having conversations with different people than I would have regularly interacted. I am often surprised with how many people will stop by and strike up a conversation with me. People are more likely to stop and talk if they do not feel like they are interrupting you and you are more likely to make connections with people outside of your normal circle.
4. Connect with Your Professors and Other Staff
The professors at Briercrest and teachers at BCA truly care for their students’ success and wellbeing. Some of the most fruitful relationships I have built are with professors and other staff at the school. I highly recommend connecting with your profs and the other staff. Wise, spiritually mature Christians such as the profs at Briercrest, are willing to give advice and encouragement to anyone who asks. I have grown because of the guidance I received from my professors over the years.
Aside from giving good advice, professors and Briercrest staff can be really fun to hang out with. Some professors love to invite students over for meals and I would highly recommend taking them up on their offers. Other professors have really great senses of humour and are definitely worth getting to know if you are in need of some good laughs. A lot of students are scared to talk to their professors, but outside of school, they are normal people just like us. The professors at Briercrest are not only phenomenal teachers, they are also amazing people and can be good friends to have.
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College is a place where you will grow and be shaped in ways that will likely affect the rest of your life. Every student has the opportunity to make the most of these few years to build habits and relationships that they can carry many years into the future. Briercrest offers an enriching environment where strong community can thrive. Every student should take advantage of this time to connect with other Christians who can challenge and encourage them in their walk with Jesus and shape them into more godly believers.