Horning: Find a student org for you

COLIN HORNING, Sports Editor

Everyone knows this calendar year has been unlike any other we’ve experienced so far, and that includes the rather unconventional start to the school year preceded by the manner in which last semester ended. The year of social distancing has no doubt been a struggle for most people, and the added stress of adjusting to college life for incoming freshmen and new students only makes it all the more difficult. Back when I was a freshman, I can recall being overwhelmed by living away from home, growing apart from my high school friends, and being thrown into a new part of my life. I could only imagine the increased stress of being in an entirely new environment while seeing a drastically reduced amount in social interaction, as this year’s new students presumably face. College is a time to branch out and meet new people, a time to expand one’s horizons and interact with a whole new setting that one has never been exposed to before.

Human beings are social creatures. Regardless if you’re an introvert, extrovert, or somewhere in between, everyone from time to time feels the need to interact with another human being. Some of us like to be in large social settings, while others prefer one-on-one interactions. Regardless of one’s preference, now more than ever it is difficult to be with others. The CDC has acknowledged that taking care of one’s mental health during a pandemic should be a top priority for everyone, and the National Suicide Prevention Center saw an 891% increase in calls earlier this spring when the pandemic first swept through, as many people were struggling with being isolated and the uncertainty of the future. I myself have struggled with the massive life adjustment, along with many others. But one thing that I’ve turned to is my support group of friends that I have found in my fraternity here at UNI. I know I’m not the only one; the community of Fraternity and Sorority life on this campus has provided hundreds of men and women a support group to help aid them through this tumultuous year.

As an incoming freshman or new transfer student, the need for social interaction is as high as it’s ever been. Due to the social distancing measures put in place by the university and the state of Iowa, most traditional places of meeting new people on this campus have been limited out of the sheer need to reduce the number of human beings in a single space. Spaces such as the Maucker Union, WRC and even one’s own dorm, which have typically been great places to meet new people on campus are now limited capacity, out of necessity of course. But to the new students at UNI this semester, I encourage you to branch out and seek social interaction, despite increased difficulty to do so. Staying cooped up in your dorm room will only further isolate oneself from the rest of campus. If there’s a student organization putting on an event that looks interesting to you, by all means go for it. I was in a similar predicament two years ago when I was a freshman, and I’m glad I decided to branch out and get involved. Had I not, I’m not sure what my life at UNI would look like, nor do I want to imagine it. Now more than ever, getting involved on campus should be a must, especially for new UNI students who are looking to find their home away from home.