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Meet People and Stay in Touch as a College Student

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Illinois State chapter.

I’m sure you’ve been asked what you’re majoring in about 100 times. It’s almost as annoying as “tell me a fun fact about yourself.” Unfortunately, this seems to be the first step in making friends and meeting people in college. And it’s not a bad first step, except it never seems to lead anywhere past surface-level conversations. As a sophomore at ISU, here’s how I’ve met people and stayed in touch with them. Bonus points: I’m an introvert with social anxiety, but these tips have worked for me (so I’m sure something here will help you).

1. Join a club

This is a big one! Joining any club will help you build your resume and meet new people. However, to make friends easily, I recommend joining a club that revolves around your interests and/or hobbies. I say this because the people attending the meetings have the same interests as you, giving you plenty to talk about. Last year, I was involved in clubs that would make my resume look good. Although I’m thankful for my experiences, I didn’t make any friends. This year, I joined the show choir group Vocal Movement, where I met my amazing friends. Clubs allow you to form a sense of community and carve out time for you to hang out with people. With the almost 500 RSOs at Illinois State University, I’m sure there is a group for you.

Me with my new show choir friends!

2. Start a conversation

As a shy person, starting and leading a conversation sounds like my own personal hell. I kind of expected people to come up to me and do the stressful part. If there’s one thing I had to learn it’s if you want something, it’s up to you to make it happen. Through realization (and practice) I’m becoming more comfortable with the uncomfortable. An easy way to start a conversation is by complimenting someone (what they’re wearing, something they said, their hobbies, etc.). You can build off the compliment and turn it into a conversation. Also, they’ll probably want to keep talking to you, because you are friendly. If nothing comes out of the conversation, at least you tried! You can’t make friends without talking with them first.

3. Get their socials

To keep in touch with someone you met, try to get their Snapchat. Many people have Snap, so it’s common to ask for theirs. Trust me, you don’t look weird for asking. You can snap back and forth and get to know each other better. Then, ask them to grab lunch, watch a movie or attend a campus event. Anytime I’ve asked someone to lunch, they’ve said yes. From there, we hung out more and more and a friendship formed. Plan some way to hang out with them because a friendship won’t develop if you just have their socials, but it is a great first step.

4. Leave your dorm often

I’m sure you’ve gotten this speech 1,000 times, but it’s so true. The more you get out of your dorm, the more you’ll bump into people and make friends. I met two of my friends at the Watterson Dining Hall. You could also go door-knocking on your floor. I have an article about ways to get involved and out of your dorm to give you some ideas and a great place to start.

It’s completely normal if you’re feeling overwhelmed with making friends in college. You don’t have to follow everything in this article, just discover what works best for you. By being yourself, I don’t doubt that you’ll find quality friendships.

If you need someone to talk to, reach out to me on Insta: Izzy_the_wizzy

I’m here and rooting for you!

Isabel Crabtree

Illinois State '25

Hello everyone! I am a marketing student at Illinois State University. I love all things music, true crime, and self-improvement. I write to inspire and share what I've learned. Thank you for reading!