Building Community at University: Four tips from a 4th year student

Heading to uni and living away from home? It might be the greatest time of your life – or one of the hardest.

One thing that makes the difference between having a terrible or wonderful experience is community.

Community gives you a sense of belonging, it grounds you and provides you with a support network. It encourages you and allows you to grow, learn and make mistakes. At uni, your community becomes your family – away from your family. 

But how do you build community? Here are some tips from a fourth year student on building community while you’re at uni:

  1. Be open to trying new things and putting yourself out there

Get out of your comfort zone! It might be difficult, but you never know what you will discover about yourself when it comes to activities, friendship groups and university classes.

With so much diversity and variety, uni is a time of discovery and broadening your perspective. Dip your toes in and test the waters, even if you’re afraid. 

At university and at Robert Menzies College, you’ll have many conversations with people from different backgrounds. Hearing other life perspectives helps you to mature at the same time as you are affirming what you yourself believe in.

  1. Invest time in yourself and friendships

Young adults need time to figure out who they are and to set a path of growth into a better version of themselves.

Be intentional with your time and the people you hang out with. Even if you’re an introvert, make time to hang out in places where you’ll bump into other people. If you’re living at Robert Menzies College, the dining room, the common room and the common spaces are great places for this.

(And don’t forget: building friendships and community takes time! It doesn’t happen instantly.)

  1. Make the most of opportunities available to you

Say ‘yes’ whenever you can. Opportunities will come your way throughout your time at university, in terms of leadership, academia, networking and social groups. Say yes and use them as stepping stones to learning something new and being a part of something bigger.

  1. Ask for help

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.There are resources available if you’re struggling with mental health or if you need academic and campus support. At Robert Menzies College, there are heaps of people to reach out to for support. You can speak to the Residential Advisors, our counsellor Meredith, Peter, the Master, Elisa in the front office, and the Deans. At university, you can talk to your tutors.

Robert Menzies College is great in terms of belonging and finding ‘your people’. At RMC you make friends for life.

Rhea has been a resident at Robert Menzies College for 4 years. In her time at RMC, she has been an active member, including Resident Advisor for 2 years.

If you need support and you live at RMC, contact the College Counsellor or Dean of Students: 

Alternatively, contact: Macquarie university student support

Lifeline Australia: 13 11 14

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