Jessie Voigts, Travel writer, international educator, mom
There are many ways to meet others and get involved on campus as a graduate student.
- You can join clubs, especially networking ones for those in your major.
- You can volunteer to help with international students, either to help them get acclimated to campus or to be a peer mentor. This will not only assist others who are looking for new friends, but also need help getting started in a new culture. (Bonus: More places around the world to visit lifelong friends!)
- You can also get involved in interest-led groups and activities.
But I think one of the things you should consider as an equal part of your graduate education, and spend the time on campus to do so, is to bond. So those 3 days you're on campus, be sure to allocate extra time for study groups with classmates, volunteer opportunities, and department events. If your department doesn't have events for graduate students, or a graduate student forum/community, then offer to start one. Ask your classmates if they want to participate, and/or what they'd like to get out of it.
Taking a leadership role will also help you be more interesting as a friend and connection, and can lead to many good things down the road.
Can you spend more time on campus? It might be a good idea to study on campus, with a group or a classmate.
The connections that you make in graduate school - both with peers and with your professors, will lead to many important things over the course of your lifetime. It's worth investing time and energy to build these relationships, not only for the desirable short term effects of friendship and connections, but the long-term aspects, too, such as collaborating on papers, research, and projects, jobs, and your own students and colleagues once you're working in the field.