How to Have a Social Life in Community College

David Hernandez (left), and Irene Li, film production majors, returning from break during an audio production class at Santa Monica College’s Center for Media Design (CMD). Monday, March 25, 2019, Santa Monica, California. (Victor Noerdlinger/Corsair)

David Hernandez (left), and Irene Li, film production majors, returning from break during an audio production class at Santa Monica College’s Center for Media Design (CMD). Monday, March 25, 2019, Santa Monica, California. (Victor Noerdlinger/Corsair)

Santa Monica College (SMC) is a nationally accredited college and is number one in transfers within the state of California. Students relocate from across the world just to set foot on the renowned campus. Yet, many find that once they’ve gotten here it can be difficult to get a foot in the door socially, especially for those who didn’t grow up in the area. Community college can be a mixing pot of many different types of people, with students of all ages and backgrounds. Unlike high schools or four-year universities, which have either a tight knit, small community or a prominent social scene, it can be easy to get lost in the mix of a community college where you are expected to just move forward and out.

Though it can be daunting, clubs are an excellent way to get involved on campus. Clubs meet mostly on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and there are a variety of options, ranging from Chess Club to Film Club, and everything in between. SMC also hosts a variety of events on campus, though they can be difficult to find-- let's break it down. This spring, SMC has a “Communication and Media Series,’’ in which several professionals in the entertainment industry are speaking. A Green Screen Series features professionals and creatives in the sustainability industry. Though these events may not be particularly social by nature, they are a great opportunity to meet students with similar interests as you. On Sundays, SMC has open recreational sports, so hit up the pool, the track, the basketball court, or the Core Performance Center to meet fellow students while doing one of many recreational activities! Sporting events are also a great way to meet people. In addition, SMC has exciting travel opportunities, including an upcoming summer trip to Belize. Students on the trip will explore the country while earning six class credits in classes taught by SMC professors abroad.

Cecil Alsanus, an international student from Sweden, believes that SMC does a great job at integrating international students. “There was a day at the start of the semester when they took all the international students to Six Flags for free,” she explained, mentioning how she met one of her closest friends here. Cecil recommends being bold, speaking up, and standing out in class in order to make friends.

Overall, there is lots going on and lots to do at SMC. Though beginning school here may seem daunting, it does not have to be a socially isolating experience whatsoever. Put yourself out there! Talk to people. Try a club. Even if you don’t end up staying, you might make memorable friends while you’re there. Communications, theater, and kinesiology classes can be particularly social as well. Certain spots on campus, such as the tables outside the cafeteria, can be better than others in terms of meeting people as well. Simply removing your earbuds (or airpods) can be an aid in meeting a new friend. Put your best foot forward and be bold, your people may just be here.