Community:
Finding & Building Networks

Finding your people

Engage Within Your Program

  • Make connections and build relationships with the other students in your cohort — they're in this graduate adventure with you from the beginning.
  • Look to advanced students for consultation and mentorship — they've at least gotten through the first year, right? They can provide insight on settling in, dealing with the bumps in the road, and navigating challenges.
  • Reach out to your Director of Graduate Studies, your Student Services Manager, and any other visible faculty (like your Chair) and staff (like your Business Officer) with questions and concerns — they have very specific roles and responsibilities in supporting your graduate student experience, so find out who they are!

Make Friends Across the University

  • Carolina is decentralized, so try and make friends across the University.
  • Take classes outside your program to hear how different people think about different topics based on their disciplines.
  • Attend events and workshops on topics of interest — and talk to strangers!
  • Explore student organizations, including the Graduate and Professional Student Federation (GPSF), that represent graduate student needs and interests, and the Carolina Union Activities Board (CUAB), that provides programming and events — both need your comments and ideas!
  • Find students with shared backgrounds (e.g., racial/ethnic/cultural, faith, LGBTQIA+, military, first-gen, international, parents) — Diversity and Student Success (DSS) helps students connect across shared experiences.

Meet Your Neighbors

  • If you’re a resident at Baity Hill or Mason Farm (graduate and family housing), get to know your neighbors, who are all fellow graduate students.
  • Regardless of where you live, explore opportunities to connect with neighbors and community members through neighborhood events and perhaps even town councils, especially if you plan to stay in one place for a while.
  • Students who are parents often have the chance to meet others parents through childcare and school activities and events.
  • If you're a dog owner, get yourself to the nearest dog park and connect with other local animal lovers.

Explore Your Interests Outside Carolina

  • The Triangle is pretty big. If you have the chance to find and build networks outside the University, do it. This often helps with developing a sense of place.
  • Do you like to volunteer? Ronald McDonald House and other local charities often need volunteers to perform a wide range of tasks.
  • Are you creative? There are plenty of artists, musicians, entrepreneurs, and others who come together regularly to network, share ideas, and work on projects.
  • Do you like to run? Run clubs exist across the Triangle with many people coming together regularly to train for various races in the area.
  • Whatever you might be interested in, try to find others outside Carolina — this can be useful personally and professionally.

Don't Forget Your Loved Ones

  • As you find your people in different spaces both on- and off-campus, don't forget your loved ones. Whether it's your partner or your parents, your children or your best friend, make sure you stay connected to those who know and care about you. This shouldn't need to be said, but when graduate school gets overwhelming, connecting with loved ones can give you the necessary energy to move forward.
  • Make the time for that phone call, video chat, or lengthy email. The long-term consequences are important and meaningful.

Next Module:

Community: Residency
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