Making Friends in College: 6 Ways to Jumpstart Your Social Life
By Cathryn Sloane | For StudentAdvisor.com
me preface this article
with one thing – there will basically never be an easier time in your
make friends than your freshman year of college. Taking that into
will sufficiently help put those nerves at ease.
course, it is perfectly
natural to have those nerves. Moving away from your family and
friends is no easy task, but universities are aware of that. In fact,
they’re very aware of that, which
is why you
should have a little more faith that they’re not just going to drop you
boat without a paddle. There are endless options you can take advantage
get socially acclimated. And the best part? You don’t have to feel like
awkwardly putting yourself out there because everyone
is awkwardly putting themselves out there. I think we can
agree this eventually cancels out all the awkwardness. As long as you
the “I’m a freshman” card, doing these things will come easily to you.
1. Freshmen Orientation. This is literally a giant series of events setting the scene for freshmen to meet each other, so there is no way you can feel out of place. Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with someone out of the blue, and more importantly, don’t stray away from those who strike up a conversation with you. Never write off anyone before you get to know them; college is a great time to get out of your comfort zone and connect with people you may not have ever associated with in high school. You are in no position to be picky right now, and sometimes you end up becoming close friends with the people you’d least expect. Plus, you may discover someone who lives in the same dorm as you or has some of the same classes. Now you’ll have a friend to help find that obscure science building or to accompany you to the dining hall.
2. The Dorms. The very reason most universities require freshmen to live in these residence halls is because of the naturally amazing social havens they are. The first and most obvious opportunity for socialization is your roommate, so be open and do everything you can to get to know and bond with them. However, don’t feel weird if you don’t find yourselves becoming best friends; this happens to many students, which is why it’s a good thing you have a plethora of other people in your building to meet. Your R.A. will inevitably plan a beginning-of-the-year floor meeting that is designed for you to meet your many neighbors down the hall, so do not miss it. Furthermore, don’t miss the many other floor activities/outings either. Leave your door open occasionally; it shows you’re open to meeting new people and encouraging visitors to hang out. Vice-versa, make sure you take a walk down the hall to stop in and say hello to other students practicing the literal open-door policy. Moreover, do not forget about the many other floors of students in your building. Take advantage of full dorm meetings/activities and rec-room/common areas.
3. Clubs. Join, join, join. This cannot be emphasized enough, especially with the extremely wide array of interests that university organizations cover. From intramural sports to Habitat for Humanity to fashion clubs to the student newspaper, there really is something for everyone. This is not only where you can make friends, but frequently get free t-shirts, food, and certainly a substantial bullet point on your resumé.
4. Go Greek – or At Least Rush. Many students come to school either determined to get into the best fraternity/sorority or completely against the idea. The truth is, Greek life isn’t for everybody, but sometimes people who thought they’d never be a part of it end up loving it. Being Greek definitely fills up your social calendar with several fun events and has been known to create life-long bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood for many. Also, I highly encouraged going through rush, since that is a bonding experience in and of itself with other anxious rushees like yourself. Even if you don’t end up joining a house, you are bound to make some friends through the exciting recruitment process.
5. Classes. Obviously classrooms aren’t going to be the hottest social spot, as you’ll really have to pay attention more than you had to in high school. However, the difficulty in comprehending classroom material is something you can work together on with your fellow classmates. If you find yourself getting along with a few of the students who sit near you, suggest you start studying together. Not only will this bring you closer to people outside of a class setting, you will have a significantly easier time getting through the class.
6. 6. On-Campus Jobs. Odds are you need to make some money anyway since few college students find themselves wealthy, so get a job on campus. By working in the student union, the bookstore or the cafeteria, you’ll be keeping yourself among the student crowd regularly and quickly develop friendships with your co-workers. To top it all off, most employers at these types of jobs are very respectful and understanding of your busy academic life and will take that into account when scheduling you.Before you jump into all of these options, keep in mind that everything doesn’t always work out perfectly. You may end up on a boring dorm floor, you may join the Greek system and find yourself feeling detached from your brothers or sisters, or you may join a club filled with members you just don’t click with – and all of that is okay. That is exactly why there are so many opportunities paved out for you, since it’s never safe to get all your hopes up on just one attempt. Don’t fret if you don’t get it all figured out your freshman year. Students rarely get that lucky, as friendships often evolve and change throughout college. All in all, never stop being open to meeting new people. Honestly, one of the key ways students meet in college is through other students. You may meet your new best friend at a party thrown by that student you met at orientation or in a class through someone you rushed with. Even studying at the library or going to the gym will put you around other students and increase your social chances. Always remember: when you’re on a college campus, you’re virtually never alone. Embrace it while you have it.
Cathryn Sloane is a contributing writer for the Varsity Tutors education blog. She is a graduate of The University of Iowa with a B.A. in English and a concentration in Creative Nonfiction Writing.
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