“College is the best four years of your life.” This saying may be a slight exaggeration, but many people do find themselves slightly school-sick after graduation — yearning to put on our college sweatshirts, catch a big game, and sing the school’s fight song.
Homecoming is a religious holiday of sorts for those of us who still bleed the colors of our alma mater. It’s an opportunity to relive the good old days. But staying connected to your college doesn’t have to just be a once-a-year activity. Lacy Nowling Whitaker, a content specialist at Indiana University’s Alumni Association, shares eight ways to stay in touch with your home away from home.
1. Follow the school on social media.
This is a no-brainer. Being in the loop on social channels gives you live updates of the happenings on campus. Seek out alumni and industry-specific groups and follow your school on Instagram for some swoon-worthy campus photos.
2. Become a member of the alumni association.
There may or may not be a price for this perk, but alumni groups can offer you exclusive access to ticket discounts, a subscription to the alumni magazine, admission to alumni events, and career assistance. Plus, your membership fee is a great way to help fund campus activities for current students.
3. Subscribe to alumni newsletters.
Subscribe to the school-wide newsletter, or see if your individual college/school (i.e., college of arts and sciences, school of journalism, etc.) has a newsletter of its own.
4. Read the alumni publication.
Magazines aren’t dead, yet. To no surprise, alumni magazines are some of the most thriving print publications around. They’re a great way to read up on the success stories of your peers and stay aware of campus-wide changes. Who knows, you might be featured one day.
5. Use your school’s professional development services.
This is especially important for those who have just graduated or are seeking a career change. Contact your alumni association about their career services. Many schools offer career counseling, access to an alumni directory (this is great for networking purposes), and exclusive job postings.
6. Join alumni Facebook groups specific to your area.
See if there is an unofficial Facebook group local to you. For example I joined the “Southern California Indiana University Alumni” group when I moved to Los Angeles. These groups are typically created by other alumni, and they’re a great tool for networking, apartment hunting, and making new friends. Trust that there are other alumni eager to reminisce, too.
7. Host events and invite alumni.
Once you’ve linked up on social media, have a gathering. Get everybody in one place and bond over your alma mater. If you’re looking for friends in a new city, this is a great way to do so. Don’t want to host? Join everyone at a local restaurant to watch a football or basketball game.
8. Become a school ambassador.
Universities are always looking for cheerleaders — but not the ones who dance at halftime. Contact your school’s office of admissions and offer to volunteer at college fairs as a representative for your university. There’s nothing easier than handing out pens and boasting about your alma mater to prospective students.
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