‘The Social Skills Series’ helps students socialize with others

By Cole Allen, Mar. 22, 2022

This semester students are back on campus after almost two years of online and virtual learning from the comfort of their homes. And the ability to socialize with others may seem like a challenge or lost art, especially behind the facemasks. The Disability Resource Center and Counseling and Psychological Services is putting on what they call “The Social Skills Series,” a series of classes to help remind and teach students integral parts of what it means to be social in today’s society.

The series consists of six classes, held every week on Thursday, with instructors Christian Abson and Dr. Jennifer Kohagura alternating each week to discuss various topics. The addressed topics include good friends and where to find them, one-on-one conversations, group conversations, planning a get together (in-person and virtually), handling disagreements and dating 101.

The first week covered “Good Friends and Where to Find Them,” that detailed what makes a true and good friend, and if they don’t meet that standard. The discussion went over tips and information on how to move forward within that relationship, if there is potential for that.

“With this series, we made it sort of a pick and choose,” said Kohagura, clinical psychologist of Counseling and Psychological Services. “This pandemic has been hard on a lot of different people, and even if you are a social person, a lot of us just haven’t had that practice in these last two years. We wanted to make some of the social anxiety and difficulties people may be facing, it’s normal.”

This series is built to address critical areas of social interaction, ones that may typically be troubling for some. Dissecting these topics is important so that students can realize that they aren’t alone, and when well understood, going about social interactions won’t be so overwhelming.

“The information and curriculum is from UCLA; it’s all about the science of making new friends,” said Abson, autism specialist of the Disability Resource Center. “Breaking it down to the bare bones, it’s tips and skills on how to make and keep new friends, being an effective communicator, building that social confidence.”

Describing how successful friendships are found and made, these fulfilling conversations could lead to strengthening bonds, planning outings with others, dating and friendships.

“I thought it was very helpful,” said Rosa Mata, a psychology student. “Saying relatable information that I could understand and make me feel like, ‘okay, I’m not the only one who feels like this.’”

DRC and CAPS come together to empower and build that confidence for students. Everyone on campus is in a similar situation, going to school, trying to get a degree, and there are ways to build those connections on campus through shared experiences.

“Honestly, I just hope that coming and going to our series, students feel more comfortable on campus, more confident in their abilities to walk into places and be their authentic selves,” said Abson. “I want everyone to know how to identify their interests and find those interests in others making those friendships.”

“The Social Skills Series” takes place in person in Building 66, room 126, the Bronco Bookstore, and online through Zoom. Students can RSVP on myBAR, and for the next four weeks, events will be held every Thursday.

Feature image courtesy of Helena Lopes.


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