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Intramural Sports: A Gateway to Building Your College Social Life

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Entering into college as a freshman is both an exciting and distressing time in a student’s life. There are so many different new dynamics that can lead to uncertainty, i.e., life transitioning, academics, finances, etc. However, the dynamic of striving for a healthy social life can be number one on the anxiety-evoking list of stressors, and it doesn’t just involve getting to know your roommate.

For some students who are naturally social, this mountain can appear more like a foothill, but for those who dread the thought, initiating friendships or finding a social circle can seem like Mt. Everest. What they need to realize is that universities offer programs specifically for this purpose, to get students networked.

There are several ways in which a student can get plugged in through a campus-sponsered program, but in getting the perspective from the college grad, I found that intramural sports is a very recommended way to start the social ball rolling, and there are, surprisingly, many more benefits, which I’ll mention.

What Are Intramural Sports?

Intramural sports are informal athletic programs that students can join separate and apart from varsity level athletics, such as baseball, football or basketball. These events are often put together by students themselves or by an RA or supervisor of sorts, maybe even a faculty member. These activities can be bowling, dodgeball, soccer, volleyball, etc. Anyone who wants to compete can. There are no skill level qualifications, and typically, teams are often derived from your surrounding dorm-dwelling peers.

Why Are Intramural Sports Beneficial?

Intramural sporting activities are beneficial for a number of reasons:

Socially Beneficial

What better way to meet people and form common relationships than informal, competitive sport activities. It allows you to become a part of a team and to interact with people from your dorm, if you live on campus.

Physically Beneficial

Keeping up in consistent physical activities is a great way to stay fit in school, unless, of course, you choose to join a bowling team.

Mentally Beneficial

There are so many things that can stir your brain into exhaustion while you are at school, and in order to maintain a healthy emotional state in the midst of all these stressors, a fun sporting activity is a great way for a moment to “escape” the pressures of studying. It can also give you a significant endorphin recharge to dive deep back into studies with a sharp focus.

How Do You Join a Team?

If you are in college now or are planning to attend in the next year, keep on the look out for intramural sports team postings or talk to your dorm RA.

Look Out for the Socially Fearful Student

This is a great first step as you make your way through the social gateway, and as you continue to build relationships with new people, remember to look out for those who are a little less than willing to break through the social barrier yet or don’t have any guidance on where to begin. Ask them to join in on being apart of the team!

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Tara Brooks about 10 years ago Tara Brooks

Good points, Buddha. Consider also that these "sports" typically are as menial as dodgeball or bowling where athletic skills aren't too much of a factor.

Buddha about 10 years ago Buddha

All of the stated reasons are very good reasons for joining in intramural sports; however, if one is not very athletic they may be a little hesitant to get involved with sports if they feel that they are going to look foolish doing so. The other-side of that though is that they will never have a chance to be good at a sport if they never even try the sport. Who knows, by getting involved they may find individual or a group of individuals that are willing to help them improve their skills and the next thing they know thier list of friends just got longer.