One of the most daunting parts of college is diving in head first to make new friends. I remember feeling that being in a new place was already nerve-wracking enough, but adding the extra layer of having to make new friends made me feel like I was in kindergarten all over again. As the days lead up to my freshman orientation, my mom made me attend every single event that my university had to offer.
At the time, all I wanted to do was crawl into a ball and do the bare minimum. But, my mom’s pushing me to go the extra mile allowed me to meet my three best friends in college. If I hadn’t gone to those events, I probably wouldn’t have ever met them or become as close with them as I am today. Making friends in college is easier than you think, and it’s also a great way to get immersed in your campus community and discover new hobbies. Here are 16 worry-free ways to make your college transition easier while making new friends along the way.
- Go to any and every orientation event your university offers: As I mentioned earlier, school orientations offer a ton of events that give you the opportunity to not only get a feel for your university, but also for the students. Take advantage of that time to truly put yourself out there, because everyone else is in a place of vulnerability, too, and will be open to meeting new people.
- Sit next to a student at a local cafe: The go-to coffee spot on campus is the perfect place for meeting students. From grabbing a quick cup of tea before class to spending hours studying for an exam, campus cafes are bustling spots perfect for meeting a new friend for a coffee date or getting to know the person sitting next to you.
- Eat meals in the dining hall: Similar to a cafe, the dining hall is another campus spot filled with students—so take advantage of that space instead of succumbing to eating in your room. Even if you don’t have dinner plans initially, you’ll inevitably run into classmates and fellow club members that you want to get to know better. Bonus: A meal swipe is typically cheaper than eating out! I have had so many “friend first dates” in the dining hall and although it can feel a little awkward at first, I have had so many fun conversations by simply grabbing a meal.
- Take advantage of any Facebook groups and chat room: College Facebook groups for your university are an awesome way to learn about what events are happening on campus and who is attending. So, go ahead and join all the Facebook groups and chatrooms you want! From the events tab to club pages and more, these make it easy to connect with others while finding fun activities to participate in.
- Do your homework at your university’s popular study spots: From midterm season to simply being swamped at the beginning of the semester, commiserating with other students about the high volume of school work makes it all a little less painful. Plus, the added company makes those long work periods go by even faster.
- Strike up a conversation in class: If you arrive to class early, a simple compliment or discussion about that latest Netflix series that you watched over the weekend is a quick and simple way to bond with other students in your class. This is something that I’ve done more and more each year. I have to admit that this does sound a little scary, but I find that taking those steps to truly put yourself out there makes a huge difference.
- Study with your classmates leading up to an exam: Sometimes being in a class with a new group of people you don’t really know can feel uncomfortable. To break the ice, set up a group message with your classmates so that you all can ask each other questions about the class and organize group study sessions. Not only will you be learning the material better, but you’ll also be solidifying new relationships with ease.
- Experience sorority recruitment: If your university offers sorority recruitment, consider trying it out. This experience allows you to get to know a lot of other women in a short period of time—so even if you end up deciding that Greek life isn’t for you, you’ll still meet plenty of people along the way.
- Get to know your floormates: Nothing is more awkward than getting in an elevator with someone you live right next to and not even knowing who they are, so make sure you spend time getting to know the people in your living space. At the beginning of the school year, everyone is far more open about their readiness to meet new people. Be sure to say hello during move-in or even extend a helping hand. It will set the school year on a positive note and make for some great memories in the future.
- Get to know your RA: There are plenty of great resources on campus, but your most convenient one will be your RA. They know exactly what’s happening in your building and around campus, so set up a time to chat with them about where they like to spend their time. They could become your new close friend or even just mention a club that will have your future new besties as members. In times when you are feeling the most overwhelmed, an RA is the easiest person to talk to. They are trained to work with new students who are adjusting to their new life on campus, so don’t be afraid to reach out to them.
- Try an on-campus work-study experience: Why not meet new people and make a little bit of money for your rainy day fund along the way? Work-study experiences are ideal because you can get to know the other students on your shift, get homework done, and get paid. What’s not to love about that?
- Head to your local club fair: My university hosts its club fair at the beginning of each semester. Whether you are a first-year student or are just looking to find a hobby on campus, this is the perfect event to mingle with other students and find new ways to spend your free time. You’ll be having so much fun that you won’t even be worried!
- Learn about charity groups on campus that you’re passionate about: Do you have a certain charity or cause that holds a special place in your heart? Talk to your student activities organization to see if there is a club on campus that does volunteer work or focuses on that certain charity. That way, you’ll be able to meet students who have passions and values that are similar to your own.
- Become a campus tour guide or admissions ambassador: The process to become a campus tour guide or admissions ambassador involves a lot of hands-on training with other students. If you are passionate about your school, being a tour guide or school ambassador is a stress-free way to meet new people, especially if you are interested in communications and public speaking. Remember, people that want to become any sort of school ambassador are excited to meet others. So, this is a stress-free way to make a couple of friends who are outgoing and fun.
- Sit in the student section of a college sporting event: From hockey to basketball, student sections at sporting events have such a positive and fun energy. Because everyone is full of school spirit, everyone is open and excited to be together. Whether you go alone or with a group of new friends, sporting events are so uplifting that it’s an easy way to bond with your fellow peers and turn them into friends!
- Invite any students who look lonely to hang out with you and your friends: You probably remember a time when you felt isolated and someone reached out to you to spend time together. I do, and nothing felt more relieving during my transition at college. If you see a student that looks lonesome, invite them to eat with you and your friends, go on a walk, study together, or head to the gym! It’s through a kind act to one student that you will make a new friend and be able to meet others.
Do you have any tips on making new friends in college? Let us know in the comments below! And if you’re interested in writing articles like this for College Fashionista, be sure to apply to be a Community Member today.
Opening image by Sarah Gargano.