So last post I shared with you my tips on spiritual growth, and this week’s post will be focused on social growth. This is Emma’s Guide for Incoming Freshmen: How to be a Social Butterfly (or at Least a Social Caterpillar). There are tons of opportunities and activities both on and off campus, and I would definitely suggest taking advantage of as many of them as you can.
We’ll start off with some of the fun stuff to do off campus. I’ll lead with best thing to do off campus #1: going to the beach. Coming from the frigid northern tundra of Michigan, this is definitely a huge plus for me. We went to the beach on my birthday…in October. (Crazy right?!) You can tan, swim, bring homework—just remember your sunscreen. Naples is just a quick drive away, and is full of fun stuff to do. Besides going to the beaches, you can hit up Downtown Naples with a wide variety of little shops and restaurants. There’s also the Mercado and Coconut Point which are fun outdoor malls to wander around. And of course, classics like mini golf and bowling. Another highlight is that Ave sponsors off-campus trips throughout the year. My favorite was the trip to Disney World for Night of Joy, their Christian music event. There have also been trips to the Florida Keys for snorkeling, Busch Gardens, and they’re always adding new ones.
On campus, Student Life and the Student Activities Board are always putting on fun events—Dorm Wars, Karaoke Night, Ave Idol, Trivia Night, Theology on Tap, Movie Night, concerts, and Love Week, to name a few. There are also multiple clubs and households that you can join and share what you love with your classmates. Drama Club, Students for Life, College Republicans, and Lindy Club (Swing dancing) are a few examples. Households are very popular and are groups of male or female students who support each other by spending time together and developing spiritually, emotionally, academically, and socially. Many of the households hold or support various events throughout the year, such as dances for example. Intramural sports are another very popular and fun on campus activity. Ave offers intramurals year round, my favorites being volleyball and dodgeball. For those of us who prefer to leave the sports to the more…athletically inclined, attending games is also super fun. I love supporting our Gyrenes basketball team. The Dog Pound (our student section) at the basketball games is crazy with school spirit.
My advice to the incoming freshmen, whether you’re nervous about jumping into a new social atmosphere or not, is to put yourself out there and step outside of your comfort zone. From one social caterpillar to all of you, take a chance and sit with someone you don’t know, talk to anyone, make some new friends! (Bonus points if you find me and introduce yourself, I’m working on the Orientation Team) Orientation week is the perfect opportunity to start forming friendships and you have plenty of handy dandy conversation starting questions. For example: where are you from? What’s your major? What classes/professors do you have? What dorm/floor are you in? Those questions should last you a good month or so, as you keep meeting new people. Remember, there are no strangers, only friends you haven’t met yet.