Ask a Collegiette: Finding Your Friend Group in College

Whether it’s crushes, classes or coed bathrooms on your mind, chances are you’ve already started stressing about your freshman year of college. But don’t worry! This collegiette has been there and done that, and she’s passing along her hard-earned wisdom to you lucky pre-collegiettes. Whether you’re daunted by your packing list (you do not need a label maker, promise), college-level classes (Wikipedia is your new best friend), making friends (easier than it sounds) or running into a one-night stand (honestly, just run the other way), Sophie’s likely encountered it all. Just sit back, relax and let her share the best advice she’s picked up along the way.

How do you meet new friends in college? What events should you attend and where should you hang out on or off campus? – Yuan


Yuan,

Making friends is one of the things new collegiettes spend the most time stressing over, but it’s usually the thing that comes most naturally. Think of it this way: you’re going to be living in a dorm with hundreds of other freshmen who are in the same boat as you. The beauty of freshman year is that everyone is looking to make friends, and I mean everyone. While the idea of walking up to a stranger and introducing yourself may be terrifying (especially if you’ve gone to school with the same 30 kids since pre-K, like I did), it’s actually a lot easier than it looks. The thing is, people want you to talk to them!

Worried about stepping on campus and not seeing a single familiar face or trekking to the dining hall alone? I definitely recommend reaching out to your future roomie before you get on campus. Even if you don’t end up being BFFs, you’ll feel way more comfortable seeing at least one familiar face on move-in day. Set up a Skype convo or Facebook chat and introduce yourself, talk about your interests (like your obsession with The Vampire Diaries), coordinate your dorm-room decor and talk about whatever else you want! Chances are your future roomie will be looking to make a new friend, too.

If you’re looking to expand your friend group a bit beyond your 12-by-16 room, there are plenty of places to meet new people besides your dorm. There are the classic “get involved” options like joining intramural sports teams and special-interest clubs, but you’re just as likely to meet your new bestie in your psychology class as at Quidditch practice. I met two of my best friends in my freshman-year seminar; we formed a study group for the midterm and ended up hitting it off. If study groups aren’t your thing, try striking up a conversation with the people who usually sit near you. Chances are they’d be happy to have a distraction from lecture.

For many reasons, weekends are the time when most people branch out and make some new friends (red cups may or may not be involved…). Most campuses offer weekly events like trivia or karaoke nights, which can be super fun (if slightly embarrassing) ways to break the ice and make some new friends. If you’re into the party scene, dorm parties are probably your best bet for making insta-friends. Freshmen are looking to impress their new peers, and tons of bros will be “throwing down” during orientation week. Even if it sounds lame, do yourself a favor and stop by a party if you get invited to one; you might just make a new friend.

If you’re lucky enough to live in a city or your school is in a college town, there are plenty of off-campus places to make new friends as well. As you will soon come to understand, college students eat, sleep and breathe in coffee shops—the more hipster, the better. Pick a café off campus, make it “your spot” and before you know it, you’ll be BFFs with the baristas and sharing a table with the other regulars.

If I could leave you with just one tip for making friends the first few weeks at college, it would be this: leave your door open (obviously only when you’re in the room and like, not changing). This shows that you’re approachable, open to meeting new people and excited to be at college. Plus, it gives friendly hallmates an invitation to stop by and introduce themselves! Finding a group of friends is daunting at first, but if you keep an open mind and be yourself, you’ll find your niche in no time.

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