Making friends can be tough, no matter where you live or what age you are. But freshman college students face a particular set of challenges when it comes to building new friendships. Not everyone is going to go to a huge university; it isn’t for everyone. Some may go to a state school, where many of their high school classmates end up as well. But even if you know more people on campus than the typical college student, you’ll also be thrown in the mix with hundreds of new people. Figuring out how to jump in and make friends will be very important. Class Tracker is here with a few tips on how to make new connections and form new friendships!
Jump in and introduce yourself
The first thing to keep in mind is that no one is going to go out of their way to talk to you, necessarily. If you’re nervous, chances are that they are too. So just jump in and say hello. The more you do it, the less scary it will feel and the better at it you’ll become. And in the professional world you’ll have to do the same thing. You’ll have to introduce yourself by saying, “Hello my name is Alex, this is what I do and this is who I am…” and you just have to carry on a conversation. Starting this habit off in college is so beneficial for your professional life.
Take Advantage of Living In A Dorm
For your freshman year on campus you’re probably going to be forced to live on campus in a dorm. If you’re very shy, try to take advantage of living in a dorm hall and having a roommate. Even if you don’t end up being friends with your roommate, it’s a great opportunity to practice the whole “introduction and getting to know you” process. And if your dorm hall has activities, go to them. Just do it! You’ll meet so many different people and if you’re struggling for icebreakers, you can always joke about how bad the laundry machines are or something. Find commonalities. You may end up being lifelong friends with the girl down the hall or the guy you meet at the ice cream social. You just never know until you get out there.
Participate in Extracurriculars
Go out for extracurricular organizations on campus. It’s such a good way to meet people. To be honest, you may be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t join extracurricular activities in college. Every college campus has clubs, sometimes as many as hundreds. During your first week of school, look in the student center, quad, and library for club postings. Find a few clubs that interest you. If you’re into European films, join a cinema club. If music is your thing, go out for choir. If you want to improve your foreign language skills, find a group that supports that. Whatever you’re interested in, there’s a club for it. And in those clubs, you’ll find people who are like-minded and who will share a special bond because of your shared interests!
Invite People to Join You At the Gym, Lunch, or even to Study
Invite people to join you in normally solitary activities. Maybe you go running in the
afternoon or go to a great yoga class. Maybe you take your lunch in the cafeteria at noon everyday. Spending time alone is great for your mental health during college, especially when you live in a dorm. However, inviting people to join you now and then is a great way to form and even deepen friendships. By inviting people into your private world, you’ll create added opportunities to connect. Plus, it’s easier to get to know people while you’re doing some kind of activity together. Who needs small talk when you have yoga?
Just Be Yourself
Always keep in mind that you should just be yourself. If you really like someone, it may be tempting to reflect back to them. In other words, it’s tempting to act like an echo chamber in an effort to be well-liked. Just don’t do it! It may sound cliche, but people will like you for who you are and if they don’t, they’re not the kinds of people you’d want to be friends with anyway. Your best friendships will be built on honesty and openness. Don’t compare yourself with others and just love the cool, unique person you are. People are drawn to that kind of positivity. So, by being your own cheerleader, you’ll inevitably find great friends, too!
If you’re nervous about meeting new people and making new friends, just remember: even if people act like they’ve got everything figured out, they know just as much or as little as you do. No one knows what they’re doing the first week, month, or year. For most of you, it will be your first year out on your own, and you’ll all be figuring that out together. So don’t let anyone intimidate you… they’re probably just as freaked out as you are. Good luck out there, Class Trackers!
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