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Social Connectedness

Social well-being refers to the relationships we have and how we interact with others. The ability to communicate, develop meaningful relationships with others, and maintain a support network that helps you overcome strife. Social connectedness is a key driver of wellbeing and resilience. Socially connected people and communities are happier and healthier, and are better able to take charge of their lives and find solutions to the problems they are facing.

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"Social well-being is making sure you spend some time everyday talking to others who uplift you and care about you. I try to call/text/spend time with someone close to me everyday to keep my connections to others strong and healthy. Also I invest my energy in relationships that make me feel good, grounded and help me grow as a person." - C.A., Class of 2022

"Social well-being is the ability to be emotionally vulnerable and be honest with someone to ensure that you have the energy and motivation to keep going."  - S.K., Class of 2023

As social beings, we thrive on interactions with others. Research shows that socializing in a healthy way has tremendous health benefits, including enjoying better physical and mental health.

  • Move beyond pleasantries. For example, asking people what they care about, what they want out of their college experience, how did you get to UVA, are great questions to get to know the people you meet.
  • Your free-time is yours. Some great things to do with new friends include: social distancing picnics, walks, tennis, sharing a movie, tv show, poem, or article you enjoyed, making time with friends for a “book club” or discussion on the subject. 
  • Quality over quantity. Use these uncertain times as an opportunity to cultivate deeper relationships with our friends.

Social Support

Social support enhances quality of life and provides a buffer against adverse life events. This means having friends and other connections, including family and mentors, to turn to in times of need.

  • Have reminders of home. Some ways to remind yourself of home include: writing a letter to yourself, having a box of keepsakes, and using social media to feel supported even from a distance.
  • Find a mentor. Having someone who has had similar experiences as you and can offer advice is a great source of support while also having a personal connection and relationship. This could be a friend, a professor, a club or spiritual leader, a family member, an alum, or someone else.

Create a Sense of Belonging

Create a sense of belonging. To build a sense of belonging takes active effort and practice. Rather than focusing on the ways that you are different from those who surround you, look for ways you are similar and celebrate your differences.

  • Remind yourself that you belong here. You came to UVA for a reason. Someone saw something in you, whether it be passion, drive or intellect. Make this place your home.
  • Be open to peer mentoring. Consider reaching out to RAs, OLs, TSPAs, and other peer mentors - there is tremendous value in discussion.
  • Introduce yourself to your professors. Reach out to your professors during office hours, and consider getting to know them beyond the classroom.