#2 Making friends in class

Dear Lee Woo Sing students, 

Welcome to the second week of the semester! I hope you are enjoying your classes so far.  

When I was an undergraduate student, I remember feeling lost in large lecture halls. Nobody seemed to know or care about who I was - they probably wouldn't even notice if I had missed a class. Feeling invisible made learning a lonely task, especially when I encountered difficult topics and around exam time.

Looking back at this experience, I often encourage students to make at least one or two friends in every course. Having positive social interactions makes going to class more enjoyable (just don't skip class together...) and you can have someone to discuss course materials with. Research has shown that teaching is the best way to learn something as you have to really understand something before you can explain it to another person well. 

How do you make friends in class? Simple gestures like holding a door open, making eye contact/smiling when passing down handouts, etc. can show your friendliness. Asking questions about the course, assignment deadline, submission format, etc. is a conversation starter as well. People generally want to be helpful to others, and a question can often kick start a friendship. 

For students who already have many friends in the classroom, that's great! I encourage you to look around and see if anyone consistently sits alone. Perhaps they need a friend. Are there actions that you can take to live out the message of "Positive and Caring" from Lee Woo Sing College? Something to think about as we strive to build a more closely-knitted community.   

Have a good week. 

Harold Chui, Ph.D. 

Associate Dean of Students, Lee Woo Sing College 

Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Psychology

The Chinese University of Hong Kong