Heading off to college, especially if this involves relocating to a different location, can be a daunting prospect. As well as embarking on an often intensive course of studies, you are also faced with the prospect of getting introduced to a whole new social group. This can prove to be an especially traumatic experience if you identify as LGBT. The good news is one of the first aspects of college life you will quickly become aware of is the fact you will hardly be alone. You are more than likely to find yourself meeting many LGBT individuals you can get to know better. With that in mind, here are five tips towards helping you forge LGBT relationships at college.
Embrace the online LGBT community
When you go to college, aside from the practical activities of your coursework, a portion of your leisure time can be dedicated to hooking up to various social media outlets where you'll be able to interact with kindred spirits.
For anyone identifying as LGBT, the good news is a vibrant online community is waiting at the tip of your fingertips. So when you go to college, aside from the practical activities of your coursework, a portion of your leisure time can be dedicated to hooking up to various social media outlets where you'll be able to interact with kindred spirits. Whether that's Facebook groups, Instagram or Snapchat posts, Twitter feeds or an LGBT chat room, you'll be able to make a host of amicable contacts.
Get to know an extrovert!
When you're new on campus it's always worthwhile to get in tow with someone who is outgoing. In every college in the country where there are LGBT students, there will invariably be particular individuals who enjoy being at the center of attention. If you can latch on to these extroverts, you can bask in their glory, accompanying them around common rooms and student bars, engaging in conversation and being introduced to a host of new friends in the process
Join an LGBT group on campus
When you first head off to your college, you will undoubtedly receive a lot of literature about the societies and clubs which you can join. Keep an eye out for those which are typically aimed at LGBT entrants. If you join these societies, even if the actual subject is something you're not necessarily all that focused on, you can engage with a variety of people who are on your wavelength. As most of these clubs will run on a regular basis, you can anticipate having a weekly meeting point where you will be able to interact with a bunch of LGBT acquaintances. Depending on the actual club, there might even be weekends away or activities during the holidays where you can really cement relationships, giving you a positive sense of self-esteem as you look forward to participating.
Obviously going to college is all about studying towards a qualification which will assist you during your eventual career. But a huge portion of student life has always been about socializing and enjoying the time between studies and lectures. Make sure you make the most of any occasions to mix with LGBT students by keeping your ear to the ground about parties or other social gatherings. While you might be tempted to enjoy some quiet time with a book or your favorite Netflix box-set, you should also embrace the possibilities of letting your hair down and widening your social circle.
When it comes to getting a foot into the door of the LGBT community at your new college, one of the best things you can do is quietly announce your intentions. There are many ways you can subtly advertise the fact you are part of this demographic and are ready to mingle with like-minded individuals, from boasting T-shirts with appropriate slogans to rainbow badges.