Developing a support system at CWRU

Starting college in a new environment can be stressful. Thankfully, there are many ways to develop your support system at CWRU.

Maintain relationships from home
While you may be away from home, remember that family and high school friends are still a part of your support system! You may not see them every day, but maintaining these relationships can help you feel anchored as you begin your college journey full of new people and experiences. One tip helpful for maintaining these relationships is to establish a regular form of communication. With your family, maybe it is FaceTiming at the end of each day or calling once a month, and with your friends maybe it is maintaining an active Discord server or playing virtual games each month. Whatever it is, reaching out can feel daunting when times get tough, so establishing a regular form of communication can help take the pressure off.

Create new relationships at CWRU
Family and friends can provide support, but they may not always understand what you’re experiencing, so creating relationships at CWRU is important too. As a student, you are surrounded by thousands of other students, many of whom share commonalities with you. There are many ways to meet new people, such as those who live in your dorm, share classes with you or attend the same club meetings. Building relationships takes effort, and relationships won't build themselves, so don't be afraid to reach out! Try introducing yourself, striking up conversations, exchanging contact information, and inviting people out for activities and food. Pretty soon you’ll have met new people and built new relationships. And if you’re having trouble meeting new people, try new activities! Volunteering, going to club meetings and attending campus events are great ways to meet people.

Maintain your relationships
Once you've developed your support system, it's important to maintain it. Relationships are a two-way-street, and they require maintenance. Tips to remember include:

  • Using your support system: Using your support system is just as important as having one. It may be difficult, but try to accept others' help when you are struggling.
  • Supporting others: A support system is there for you, but you should also be there for others. Help others out when they are struggling, and make time in your schedule to be with your friends.
  • Continuing conversation: Remember your support system isn't just there during times of trouble. Continuing conversation day to day or week to week will not only help sustain relationships, but it will also help keep your support system light.
  • Keeping it fluid: Maintaining relationships is important, but remember that you can also add to your support system as you build new relationships. Similarly, if a relationship is no longer serving you, don’t be afraid to let it go.

Remember your resources
Developing your own support system is an important part of the college experience, but don’t forget the other resources available to offer you support. For example, TimelyCare can provide virtual counseling sessions, University Health and Counseling Services can provide wellness sessions, and resource lists can provide examples of apps, videos and contacts to use when times get tough.