This correspondence is from a new friend who’s in college. Shared with her permission, here are some tips for how to love your neighbor when living in a relatively transient community like a college dorm room.
This past summer, I worked at Spring Canyon, and met some of my very dearest friends, to include Rebecca. She mentioned your book to me, and I just finished reading it. Thank you for writing it! It’s wonderful.
Do you have any specific tips for neighboring in a college dorm hall?
I’m a junior this year, not living with people I know. I’m going to make some cookies and take them down my hall later this week, and wondered if you had any tips specifically for apartment buildings/dorm halls where it’s all college students rather than families.
Thank you so much!
Hey, Caely –
How cool is that?! I’ve never gotten over the shock and delight of hearing that someone has read my book. What a blessing to hear that God is using something that started in my living room to impact other neighborhoods–and dorm rooms!
Where do you go to school? What’s the culture like in your dorm and campus?
Most of the ideas in How to Love Your Neighbor Without Being Weird can be adapted for dorms, such as..
- Join extracurricular activities and clubs to meet students outside of church
- Plan dorm activities like pizza night, spa nights, homework and tutoring, Christmas parties, football games, etc.
- Invite other students to do the things you might normally do alone like go to the gym, watch a movie, run to Target, or explore the city. Find out what’s happening off-campus.
- FOOD is always a winner! Love your idea to deliver cookies!
- Organize a floor party before a game, or before/after finals.
- Organize a clothing swap to trade anything you don’t want.
- Ask for help with assignments, hanging a poster, finding a dentist—any excuse to start a conversation!
- Be a creeper on social media so you know people’s interests, passions, and hobbies.
- Use social media to create opportunities for real-life interactions and meet ups.
- Create a forum for polite (keyword: polite) political conversations where people can dialogue, listen, and share personal opinions.
- Look for lonely students. Pay attention to their expression and body language. Go beyond a smile and start a conversation.
- Hang out in the common areas so you can meet people.
- Invite people into your room just as you’ll invite them into your home someday.
The goal is to create natural interactions that can lead to spiritual conversations.
No one will ever ask you about the hope that you have if they don’t know your name, haven’t spent any time with you, or have no basis for trusting you.
I love this article about the difference between good deeds, outreach, and evangelism—but they all hinge on relationships.
I miss Rebecca and can’t wait until she’s all learned up and comes back to BV! I’m meeting lots of people from Spring Canyon and would love to meet you one day, too!
Sorry it has taken me so long to reply! It has been a busy semester here at the University of South Florida. I am in Tampa.
It has been interesting to observe the culture at this campus. There is a very academic oriented mindset with most students, but there are a fair amount of party people too. Sometimes it can be challenging because it seems like everyone just wants to do their own thing, even when we all live together. It has been good to listen and participate with people.
I took my roommate with me to the grocery store the other day, and had the opportunity to hear about some of her life experiences.
I find listening to listen is rare, it is most often listening to react or speak or argue.
It has not been easy, but Jesus never told us it would be!
Thank you, that article is helpful! All those tips are definitely good ways to know who we are interacting with.
And yes, I will be in BV hopefully soon with Rebecca, and will potentially have the opportunity to meet you!
What do you think?
What tips would you offer to Caely to love her college neighbors?