Your social support system is a network of people you trust and look to for guidance. Our immediate support networks often include our family and friends, but students can also look to their classmates, professors and advisors for additional help.
College is the perfect time to develop meaningful relationships with new people and to strengthen the relationships you already have. You’ll face both big and small challenges throughout your academic and professional career, and it’s important to have people to lean on in times of need.
In addition to assistance in making friends and identifying new mentors, your support system can help you:
- Handle difficult situations—When obstacles inevitably arise, we sometimes need a little help keeping our goals in perspective. The people in your support network will be there for you when you need to talk after a long day, or when you’re feeling overwhelmed with work, school or your other obligations. Supportive friends, family, professors and colleagues will celebrate your successes and help you learn from your failures, providing the encouragement that you need to meet each challenge with determination and a positive attitude.
- Find needed resources—Your professors and advisors can be invaluable resources to you throughout your college career and after you graduate. With expertise in their respective fields, the faculty at your university can offer you sage career and academic advice. They can also help you develop your professional network, and may even be willing to write a recommendation letter for you in the future. Take advantage of your professors’ office hours and talk to them about your dreams, goals and challenges. They’ll help you figure out which steps you need to take to be successful, both academically and professionally.
- Get motivated—Forming relationships with your classmates and your peers will help you stay engaged in your coursework and motivate you to succeed. If you are ever overwhelmed or struggling in school, the classmates in your support network will be willing to help you and offer their guidance, insight and strategies for success. You’ll benefit from working closely with others in your program and might even forge long-lasting friendships.
You might already have a network of friends and family that you rely on at home, but there are a few steps you can take to develop your support system at school:
- Join a club or a campus organization. Clubs, athletics and volunteer organizations are great ways to meet people who have similar interests and goals as you. Becoming more involved on campus will also help you establish several different social support networks.
- Start a study group for your class. Study groups hold you accountable to your academic work and are also an easy way to get to know the other students in your classes.
- Refer a friend. In addition to making new friends at school, you can also support your current friends by referring them to a counselor or instructor at your school who can help them identify their career goals and find the program that meets their personal and professional needs.
Cultivating and maintaining a social support system will benefit you throughout each of your life’s endeavors. Support networks do more than offer a sense of community and belonging—they can also help you achieve academic and professional success.
* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2021. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.