College is exciting and scary all at once. One thing that is different from high school is you might not be in your hometown anymore where you have family and childhood friends nearby. You have tons of freedom, but you are also surrounded by hundreds of complete strangers. People will start to find new people to study and hang out with, and they usually bond in different ways than friends in high school. You might make friends during late night studies, cooking together, or during a long drive home. Some college friends are like family when you’re away from home. They might wake you up to make sure you don’t miss the midterm, bring soup to you when you’re sick, etc. College friends are also very likely to become your lifelong friends.
At the same time, making new friends also requires conscious effort, but it’s totally doable. Take a deep breath and get out of your comfort zone. After all, you can’t make friends sitting in your dorm room. Here are 10 tips for you to reach out to your potential best buds for life.
Get To Class Early And Start Conversations
Different from high school, where you usually only have five minutes to switch classrooms, college schedule is a lot more flexible. You might have hours between your classes. Try to get to class 10 minutes early to settle in and chat with your fellow classmates. Yes, talking to new people can be scary, but it’s worth being a little uncomfortable when you later find out how much you and the other person bond with each other.
One of the best ways is to start commenting on the homework assignment, study content, something going on at school, or even an especially eccentric professor.
Join A Club Or Sports Team
Clubs and sports teams are one of the best ways to get to know people and get close to them. By joining a club, you may be able to find people who share similar interests. You’ll probably find academic clubs, pre-professional clubs, cultural clubs, and sports clubs. Clubs provide an opportunity to meet people outside of the classroom, and the opportunity for you to get involved with something that you’re passionate about. Being involved in extracurricular activities may also alleviate some of your stresses. Working, sweating, competing, winning and losing together with your teammates is the best way to foster new friendships.
Also, if your school doesn’t seem to have a club that interests you, go ahead and start your own.
Keep Your Room Door Open
The dorm room is definitely one of your most comfortable places on campus. While enjoying your own space, keep the door open to give your dormmates an opportunity to pop in and say hi. Wave and smile at people as they pass, or invite them to chat a little if you’ve seen them multiple times. You could even offer snacks–no college student will refuse free food.
But only open your door when you are in the room, definitely lock in when you’re away to avoid thieves.
Go To Events
You won’t be able to make any progress on new friendships if you lock yourself in the dorm. Get dressed and head to a dance, an on-campus cultural festival, a sports game, or a party. Introduce yourself to the people, there could be lots of potential friends at these events. Plus, staying up to date with campus events can give you more to talk about with your peers.
You’ll definitely meet some great candidates for friendship while volunteering for a good cause. Just choose something you’re passionate about so that it’s something you enjoy, too. Volunteering is a great way to get out of the college bubble, give back, and meet some like-minded people.
Do Homework At A Social Space
Besides the library and your own room, you can also choose to study at a more public place such as a cafeteria or student center. Sit next to a friendly-looking person and try to start a conversation–of course, if he or she seems to welcome it.
You can start by asking for coffee/food recommendation or a spare pen, then you can start introducing your name. Once the names are mentioned, you can start a free conversation.
Invite People To Hangout After Class
It is very likely that you won’t talk to any of your classmates the entire semester–especially in a lecture that has 200 people–if you don’t try to reach out. You shouldn’t wait for others to come to you. Take initiative and ask people in your classes or dorm to grab a meal, get ready for a party together, or head to the gym. Initiation doesn’t make you look weird or desperate for friends, putting yourself out there is necessary to build connections. And chances are, other people, will appreciate the effort.
Live With Roommates
A lot of times, people who are roommates throughout college time become lifelong best friends, just look at Ross and Chandler from Friends, and Ted and Marshall from How I Met Your Mother, yes? If you have a good experience with your roommate during your first year of college, you may want to continue living with that roommate. Sharing a house or an apartment allows you to spend time with people and really get to know who they are. You may learn things that only their families know about them like how long they take in the shower or what kinds of odd things they like to eat.
Living together also provides opportunities for a lot of inside jokes, which can create even stronger bonds. You may also become closer when one of you becomes sick, and the parental instinct kicks in.
Join A Fraternity Or Sorority
Greek organizations are the option to a lot of students who really want connections in college. Although fraternities and sororities may not be for everyone, they can still offer a great sense of community. Consider rushing if this community appeals to you. And if you don’t like it, you can always deactivate.
Be An RA
If you’re an upperclassman and live in a dorm, you may have the opportunity to be an RA or resident assistant. RAs provide academic, social, and personal support to members of their residence hall. As an RA, you’ll have a chance to connect with your fellow RAs and other students in your charge. It might be easier to make connections with other people when you offer help to them.