New student orientation can be one of the most exciting (and nerve-wracking) experiences of all time. However, one of the absolute best parts of college orientation is making new friends and expanding your social circle! Meeting new people can help enrich the orientation experience, plus, meeting fellow first-year students can help make the back-to-school transition more comfortable. Once orientation ends, though, how do you keep in touch with friends from orientation? Luckily, there are a few things you can do to make sure the connections last.
CONNECT ON SOCIAL MEDIA
It sounds cliché, but adding your orientation friends on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and other social media platforms allows you to keep in contact with them beyond text and email. You can see if you have classes together through messaging, make plans to meet up, or simply make time to catch up throughout the semester and check in with each other.
Andrew Fiebert, the founder and CEO of Lasso and a mentor for college students, frequently recommends that students use social media as a way of keeping up with friends from orientation. “Make sure to exchange Instagram and/or TikTok handles as well as give your phone number,” he tells Her Campus. “Being able to connect on social media gives you an easy way to stay connected, and makes reaching out orientation week less awkward.” Fiebert adds that simply liking or commenting on someone’s photo can be an easy way to break the ice.
Adrian Thompson, a senior at the University of Iowa, became Facebook friends with someone she got along with at college orientation and they managed to stay in touch. “When school started, I messaged her and asked her what classes she was taking,” Adrian tells Her Campus. “Turned out that she had three of the same general education classes as me!” They sat together on the first day of class and became great friends. Even if you’re feeling nervous, remember, reaching out can pay off in the long run!
GRAB COFFEE OR A MEAL
During your first few weeks of classes, you may not have a clue who to grab a quick coffee or bite to eat with. If you want to stay connected with people on campus, try scheduling a lunch date with someone you met at orientation, and chances are, you’ll feel better (and less nervous about grabbing food on campus by yourself!). By scheduling time to grab a quick coffee or meal, you can also connect with new college friends in a low-pressure way — you can meet up and casually talk about your dorms, classes, and weekend plans.
“Getting lunch with people you meet at orientation is a great way to stay in touch,” says Allison Zeppuhar, a sophomore at James Madison University. “I still occasionally grab lunch or dinner with some of the kids I met.” Bonus: If each of you brings another friend, you can quickly grow your friend group and meet even more people in your first semester.
PLAN A FUN ACTIVITY TOGETHER
If you want to stay in touch with friends you met during orientation, going out together (whether on or off-campus) can be a fun way to bond and connect. For example, you can make plans to grab a meal, go to a movie, hit up a party together, or make plans to attend an extracurricular club meeting on campus. No matter what the activity, trying something new can give you a boost of confidence — and it’s the perfect excuse to mingle and meet even more people.
“I went to a party with a girl I met during orientation, and we had such a good time,” says Brooke Pearson, a sophomore at James Madison University. “We were able to really let loose and get to know each other more. She is currently my best friend and roommate!” How’s that for a bit of effort paying off?! Round up a group of people you got along with during orientation, start a group text, and see what the night brings! You never know who could end up being a great friend or even future roomie.
BECOME WORKOUT BUDDIES
If someone you met at orientation isn’t in any of your classes or in your dorm, a fun way to stay in touch is by going to the gym together. The gym is the perfect place to meet since you won’t have the pressure of talking the whole time, but you won’t feel overwhelmed or alone in a sea of college students during your first semester. Having a workout buddy also gives you motivation to move your body and feel good, and by making plans with a workout buddy, you’ll be more likely to go on a regular basis. If your movement buddy is into the same type of workouts as you, it will be even easier to plan times to go together and bond; try meeting up for a group fitness class you both enjoy like HIT, boxing, yoga, Zumba, or pilates.
Staying in touch with your orientation friends can make transitioning to college a lot easier. And if you’re feeling nervous or overwhelmed at the idea of making new friends, Lundin Matthews, a former teacher and the founder of AdminRemix, recommends not being afraid to put yourself out there. “My best advice for college students to stay in touch with new friends is to never be afraid to reach out and send the first text or DM,” he tells Her Campus. “Everyone is probably a bit nervous and doesn’t want to experience any awkwardness, so that prevents people from actually reaching out. Just make the first move and let things go from there — I promise, it won’t be as awkward as you think!”
Remember, at the beginning of college especially, everyone is feeling nervous and figuring out how to navigate connections. Take a deep breath and make an effort to keep in touch with friends you met at orientation — even if it’s just through social media. It may take some courage, but someday, you’ll be glad you did.
Adrian Thompson, University of Iowa
Allison Zeppuhar, James Madison University
Brooke Pearson, James Madison University