Expectation vs. Reality: Tips for Finding Your Community at Wisconsin

Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison

Coming from out of state, getting adjusted to a large school like UW-Madison was intimidating for me as a freshman. My expectation for college was that I’d make great friends as soon as I arrived, but in reality, I was lonely and homesick my during my first few weeks. For incoming freshmen who might relate to my experience, here are some tips to find community. 

5. Join the UW-Madison Class of 2024 Facebook Group. I joined mine when I was a freshman, but I was too shy to introduce myself. I regret that because I could’ve started making connections before even stepping foot on campus. 

4. Consider a learning community. Living in a learning community is a big commitment, but the Multicultural Learning Community in Witte Hall gave me a space within the residence halls that I could get involved in.

3. Hit the Org Fair. Yes, you might end up on too many email lists, but it’s worth it if you find the club that introduces you to people with the same passions and interests. UW-Madison has thousands of clubs that you can search on the Wisconsin Involvement Network even before the Org Fair in September.

2. Go to dorm events. It might sound obvious, but the House Fellows I know say that most of their residents don’t bother going to their hall’s events, but this can be a great way to make a new friend in your building, or at least get free snacks.

1. Don’t eat alone. Mealtimes at dining halls are one of the best ways to get to know your hallmates. Consider organizing a weekly shared mealtime in your hall.

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