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Contributing Author, Vanessa Lewis, is the Student Services Manager and is known for rescuing Charlie, the famous UAMS Cat. She knows that making connections with your peers is an important way to help reduce academic stress, and offers these suggestions for adding diversity to your circle of peers.

When I was going through my graduate program at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, I always looked at the Fall Semester as an opportunity to start with a fresh perspective; a clean slate and a new beginning. I was determined to set small goals outside of the demands of the rigorous course work that I had to withstand. One goal, in particular, was to step outside of my comfort zone and network with students outside of my program.  While I was very comfortable hanging out with like-minded peers, I knew that this approach would not advance or diversify my ability to speak to all individuals. Stepping outside my comfort zone felt awkward at first but I met so many amazing people that have been a positive influence in my life.

Find Peers Outside your Comfort Zone

Picture of students meeting at the UAMS Student CenterI want to encourage all UAMS students to broaden your approach and not to isolate within your designated college.  There will be numerous free social gatherings, programs and initiatives that Campus Life and Student Support Services will coordinate throughout the fall and spring semester.  The majority of what we coordinate will offer free food and I know that every college student enthusiastically accepts eating free food!  Social gatherings that we offer could lead to lifelong friendships, impact your career placement, and offer you an outlet to de-stress in a safe environment.  Several of the events will be in the Student Center so it is important that you like the UAMS Student Center Facebook page. This will give you all the details about the upcoming events we host.

Upcoming Events

picture of students mingling and enjoying free pastries at the Student CenterThere is an early bird social gathering in the Student Center, September 6, from 7:30am-9:00 am which includes free drip coffee and pastries from Boulevard Bread Company. This is followed by a Meet and Greet on Friday, September 8th from 8:00 to 10:00 pm at Cajun’s Wharf.

I challenge all of you to set a small goal to socialize and add diversity to your circle of peers. There is wisdom in my words if you will allow yourself to embrace and adhere to them.