By Bianca Bellot and Maggie Roque, Student Success Advocates
Based on identities, community looks different for different people, and while we are all part of the University of Utah community, it can often be tough to find our “people.” What do we mean by “people?” Individuals who share similar values, identities, philosophies and interests, but more than that—individuals who engage in mutually beneficial acts of kindness, care and mentorship. Attending college is an exciting and intimidating experience for all, but our backgrounds and identities can shape how that experience impacts us. While it may seem strange to feel isolated on a campus with so many people, it is a feeling that is common for many.
Our goal in this article is to shed some insight onto how to find your people—namely, how to reflect on, identify and continue to create your support system on campus. As Student Success Advocates, we work hard to connect individuals across campus—students, staff and faculty—based on individual needs and in an effort to make each person’s university experience positive and meaningful.
Many times, when we work with students navigating the university, we speak directly about support systems—in fact if you attended our session during orientation 2016, you may recall participating in a similar activity. We’d like you to take a few moments to answer the following questions:
- Who do you go to with good news?
- Who do you go to when you are struggling?
- Who do you go to when you don’t want to be alone?
- Who do you go to with questions about finances?
- What are you passionate about?
These questions may be easy to answer, but they may also be quite difficult. For some, you may not have a response—especially if we ask you to only list answers that you can find on campus. In fact, in reflecting on these questions, you may feel isolated or disconnected. You are not alone in feeling this way.
Thankfully, there are many people on campus who actively work to support students and to help you feel like you belong. The answers to creating your support system can only be uncovered by you—but Student Success Advocates are here to help you reflect and build bridges to resources you may feel are unavailable or that you didn’t know existed. Some of the places we love to recommend include: LGBTQ Resource Center, Center for Ethnic Student Affairs, Women’s Resource Center, Sill Center (Undergraduate Studies) and various ASUU organizations.
We recognize that going somewhere new and meeting new people can be overwhelming. We encourage you to find a friend, a trusted mentor or a Student Success Advocate to join you in finding your fit in new spaces at the University of Utah. Finding your “people” starts with finding your “place.” Know that at the University of Utah—you’re not alone in this endeavor.