Finding Your People: How to Connect With Other English Students
One of the coolest things about being an Arts and Humanities student at Western is that you get the best of both worlds: being a part of a small faculty but also on a large campus. Being a Western student, you have access to a beautiful campus and lots of opportunities to meet new people and engage in the classic university experience. Being an Arts and Humanities student specifically, you’re also part of a community where you’ll find smaller class sizes, more one-on-one time with profs, and a tight-knit community of peers who love learning, reading, and writing just as much as you do.
English majors are an active part of this community. Whether it’s engaging with each other in class, bonding over our favourite books, or meeting up at events, we all seem to want to connect with each other. In my experience, taking advantage of all the benefits this awesome and supportive community has to offer has enhanced my university experience so much. Whether you’re majoring or minoring in English or just taking classes for fun, I highly recommend getting involved!
So, how is it that you can meet like-minded English students on campus? In my experience, there are a few different ways to go about it.
#1) Make the most of your classes
You’ve probably heard this one before, but in my opinion, it deserves the top spot on this list. Sometimes it’s tempting to just go to class, listen to the lecture, and then head straight home. I get it, school can be overwhelming! But, some of the best connections I’ve made with other English students have come from just turning around in my chair and striking up a conversation with the student behind me before or after class. The fact that you’re taking the same class means you already have common interests, so finding something to talk about is easy! Even in my second year, I’m still making new friends in the department this way.
#2) Get involved with us, The Coterie!
The Coterie is Western’s Undergraduate English Society. If you stick with us, you’re sure to meet many English students in search of a community! We run lots of fun events throughout the year, where you can meet English students in every year of the program. Some examples of things we do include open mics, trivia nights, and publications. If any of that sounds interesting to you, follow us on Instagram (@westerncoterie). We post frequently there about what we’re up to and how you can get involved. Though it might feel intimidating to venture out to an event on your own, I promise it will be worth it. You’ll meet so many like-minded people, and your community will continue to grow.
#3) Explore some reading and writing-related clubs
Clubs are a fantastic way to meet people with similar interests. Since you’re English students, I’m going to assume that you like to read or write — maybe even both! In that case, I have some great club recommendations for you:
Penned by Western (@pennedbywestern) is Western’s creative writing club! They run weekly writing workshops with a different theme each week, and also host a wide variety of events like open mics and group feedback sessions for writers.
Beyond the Books (@beyondthebookswestern) is a club for book lovers! They host a book club, a creative writing group, and put on special events each year such as a blind book sale.
The great thing about clubs is that anyone can join, so you might meet some lovers of reading and writing who aren’t just English majors. The diversity of interest that these clubs bring together will help enrich the community you’re building.
#4) Pay it forward by applying to be an Arts Soph next year
Once you’ve built a great community for yourself by engaging with others, making the most of your opportunities, and taking lots of chances, there are also ways to help others do the same! By joining the sophing program, you can help guide the next class of Arts and Humanities students as they navigate the same challenges you’ve faced and conquered. And hey, if you want to use this opportunity to convince the incoming class that English is the best major and they should all pick it, I wouldn’t be opposed to that 😉.
I know that not all these suggestions will appeal to everyone, but I hope at least one appeals to you. It’s up to you to make the most of your undergraduate experience! As an English student at Western, you’re uniquely situated in a great community that has plenty of ways to get involved. Now that I’ve presented them to you, the ball’s in your court. Try something new this week, this month, or even this year — I promise, you won’t regret it.