Entering college presents you with new experiences and new people. As a young adult, you may not have consciously thought of making new friends in high school, given that you’ve been with the same people for almost four to six years.
In college, this changes. You’re in a new place along with other fresh comers, eager to create new connections and friendships. To start you off in your new journey, here are some tips on how to make friends in college:
1. Step out of your comfort zone.
Maybe you’re already out of your comfort zone, but college, as nervous as you feel about it, also brings forth a lot of freedom. Steady yourself and avail of the new experiences it offers you.
Walk around campus and check out their rosters. You could join different organizations and clubs you’ve been curious about like art or sports club. Most likely, you’ll find like-minded people there that you could hang out with!
2. Be yourself.
Yes, college offers you different avenues and experiences but don’t forget who you really are! Knowing yourself is a lifelong journey but remember that friendships are not only based on similar interests but also compatibility in personalities.
You wouldn’t want to be friends with people you have to hide your true self from, right? Let your personality shine and you’ll find your true people in no time.
3. Take advantage of your dorm (if you have one!)
Dorms are a great place to meet people because it’s filled with fellow freshmen (or seniors) going through the same experience as you – excited, nervous, homesick, you name it – and it’s easier to share your thoughts with someone who really understands.
Don’t limit yourself with just talking to your roommate, RA (resident assistant) or the people on your floor. Dorms often have welcome parties or gatherings for freshmen to get to know each other. It’s a great way to help you settle down.
4. Get out of the dorm room.
Speaking of parties, there are a lot of events held in college. From college-wide freshman orientation to college games and tryouts, you have every opportunity to reach out and get to know people.
It’s just a matter of introducing yourself to the person next to you and creating a small conversation to start with. Campus events give you an immediate and automatic talking point with a stranger. Who knows, by the end of it, you might have a regular lunch buddy!
5. Get to know your classmates.
One of the constant “events” of your college life is your classes, of course! You and your coursemates or classmates already have something in common – your schedule, your professor, the course you’re taking and the struggles that come along with it.
Try to create a sense of community by volunteering to have a group chat for your class or even a study group wherein everyone brings their own questions that other students can clarify (or just to rant about your professor). This relationship may end up guiding you through college!
6. Invite people to normally-solitary activities.
Hanging out and developing friendship starts with an invite and an introduction. Be the first to offer the branch of friendship by inviting your dormmate or classmate for a run, or even just for lunch or dinner after class.
Engaging people in new activities and allowing them to feel comfortable with you helps them open up. Especially during eating – people have always bonded over food across cultures. College is no different, a meal is a perfect way to get to know someone. Even better if you offer to bring a snack you made yourself!
7. Explore the campus.
When there are no parties or events to go to, explore your campus. Don’t limit yourself to the areas you frequent for class. Visit a different college building – if you’re in a business program, visit the art department, and vice versa.
Doing this familiarizes you with your college’s layout, but it also exposes you to different departments, classes and people your college has. Who knows, you might even find a new hobby and a friend that would guide you through it!
College is indeed very different from high school. There are a lot of adjustments to get used to but remember, one of the fundamental things taught to us as children is how to make friends. It’s just a different environment than you’re used to but the basics still stay the same.
It only takes one step to take another step further out of your comfort zone, and outside that zone is the new people, activities, and boundaries you can explore. And with one introduction and a nice hi or hello, you’ll eventually find your people!
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