Ask a Collegiette: Making Friends on Campus

Are you a smart and savvy pre-collegiette looking for answers to some of your most personal questions about college? You know, the ones about boys, classes, roommates and parties that your school’s guidance office can’t help you with? Jen is here to answer those questions! Whatever your concern, she’ll do her best to help you so you can make sure you don’t just survive college, but rock it!

I just started college recently, and I haven't made very many friends. I've made a few, but not as many as I would like. It seems like everyone else already has a friend group, and it’s making me very nervous and even more homesick. Do you have any advice? – Emma


Emma,

I hope you’ve learned over the last two months that college is a really fun and exciting time in your life! It’s refreshing and shows you how much strength you have and how independent you can be.

As much as college is fun and exciting, it can definitely be overwhelming, too—especially the social scene. My best advice for you to start making more friends would be to start getting more involved on your campus.

To do this, I’d start by joining a group activity, such as an intramural sport, a club, a campus ministry or a volunteer group. This will let you do something you love while being around other people who enjoy the same hobby or interest as you, so it’ll give you an automatic conversation starter! Once the conversation starts progressing, you can then try to make plans to get together beyond your game or club meeting, and a friendship can form from there.

When you’re in class, talk more with your classmates. This can be tricky if you’re in a large lecture class with lots of people who keep to themselves, but just start with a hello and see where the conversation takes you. Another easy way to strike up a conversation is just to say something relatable, like how annoying your professor is or how the homework is killer. Whomever you’re talking with probably agrees!

If you’re still stuck looking for something to say, a compliment always works, since everyone likes to be told they look great or that their new outfit from Forever 21 is on point. Before you know it, you could be chatting over a pumpkin spice latte on the quad!

Another way to meet more friends is to get involved on your floor. If your RA is taking the initiative to host floor activities or outings, make it a point to attend the events with a smile and a positive attitude. Even if it’s just a floor dinner at the questionable dining hall, at least you’ll have plenty of good company around. You never know whom you’ll meet and what you’ll learn about your neighbors down the hall! For the times when you’re in your room, you can also make it a point to keep your door open if you’re not studying, since it’ll make your room seem friendly and inviting for potential visitors to come in and chat with you.

Finally, you could also reach out to your orientation friends to see what they’re up to now that the semester has been progressing.

For the times when you’re really itching to go home because you’re upset and homesick (which happens to everyone from time to time, so don’t worry!), take some time to Skype your friends or family back home or call them on the phone. They can give your encouragement and the courage to persevere through your challenges, which is so clutch and will help you to get through the day. Even if you feel like you want to go home constantly, it helps to tough it out sometimes and stay on campus for the whole weekend. If you’re going home often, you’ll miss a lot of on-campus activities that could be potential opportunities for meeting new friends. Try to limit yourself to going home once or twice a month max to keep yourself grounded.

As a reminder, do know that your peers are having a harder time adjusting than they may let on, since adjusting to college is challenging for everyone. It takes a lot of time to build up a true friendship, so don’t sweat it if you haven’t found your BFF during your first semester! Despite all of the “cool” Instagram photos on your feed of friends from home with all of their college buddies, know that those people are not automatically happy all the time.

Remember, you’ve only been in college for about two months, so don’t stress yourself out too much about not having an entire friend group yet. You have plenty of time to meet people and socialize as the school year goes on, and, like you said, you already have a few friends. Enjoy your time with them now and let other friendships blossom when the time is right!

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