Making friends in college is hard and can often feel very isolating. As a freshman, transfer or even a senior, there are times we all feel lonely or struggle socially on campus. Because of this, we often put a lot of pressure on ourselves to find our best friends throughout our college years. But in reality, making friends is super hard! Remembering to take things day by day and trying to use different techniques to meet your kind of people is best in the beginning. Here are some ways to achieve this goal:
- Talking to people in your major classes
This may not seem like an easy space to make friends if your professor is giving a lecture, but asking your desk neighbor how they’re doing or what they thought about the homework before or after class can lead to good conversation. You already have your major as something in common to kick off the conversation with. Most of the time, you end up having multiple classes with them, so they could already be a familiar face, making the first conversation that much easier to start. You can attend events within your department together that you may have been nervous to do by yourself or take time out of class to compare notes and study together.
- Forming study groups
When it comes to academics, college is definitely a step up compared to highschool. It can seem impossible and scary to keep up with the rigorousness, and study groups are one of the best ways to keep up with the classes. Plus, studying allows you to form relationships and jokes with your classmates. In a weird way, bonding over a stressful class brings lots of people together.
- Speaking to people in your dorm
From passing people in the hallway to leaving your door open on days when you and your roommate are feeling social, your dorm can be a great resource for life-long friends! When passing by someone else, a ‘hi’ or ‘hello’ never hurts and, oftentimes, it goes a long way. Just seeing a friendly face on a day that you may be feeling lonely or down can brighten your spirit. Even getting to know the office assistants opens up a new world of connections and friendships. You never know when a greeting could lead to similar experiences and lasting friendships! Don’t forget that even the littlest gestures can mean the world to someone.
- Joining clubs
Clubs and organizations on campus are a great way to make friends because you are choosing the club based on your interests and hobbies. Meetings give you a consistent time to hang out with people who enjoy the same things as you without having to find a new way to fit it into your schedule. Some focus on staying in motion like those dedicated to playing Spike Ball outside and others spend an hour talking about your favorite books, so there is truly something for everyone. You also don’t have to stick to it if you feel it’s not the space for you. You can try something out in the middle of the semester if you think it’ll suit you better.
- Getting an on-campus job
On campus jobs are a great way to find opportunities to meet new people, and make a cash on the side! Lots of schools have ways to find jobs that are hiring on campus, such as using a school-specific job search site or looking at postings around campus. It is a great way to get to talk to people while you are on shift and is also a way to meet people that may have a different major or interests than you! In addition, most campus jobs understand that the life of being a college student can be stressful and are willing to help work with you if you need extra time for classes or are concerned about not having time to study properly.
- Playing a recreational sport
Joining a club sports team is a great way to get to know different people! From spending time at practice to game days, club sports teams bring people together while they are able to bond over an activity they enjoy. Many schools have a variety of sports teams, from soccer to volleyball to running, and students have the opportunity to pick and choose what they are interested in. In addition, it is also a great way to stay active on campus, so it is a win-win scenario!
- Attend on-campus events
Many organizations on campus host events that anyone can attend, not just those in the organization. From your main campus programming board to an acapella showcase, there are so many options to choose from. Don’t be afraid to go to these by yourself! You won’t be the only one, and you’ll know that other people have the same interest as you, so it’ll be easy to strike up a conversation about what you’re consuming. These events are meant to be a fun time to relax and take a break from classes and homework.
- Be yourself
At the end of the day, the person people want to meet the most is yourself. Trying to be someone you are not makes relationships feel fake and tiring. Being yourself allows you to meet the people that like you for who you are. It can seem scary, but it is truly the best way to make friendships that will last a lifetime.
Making friends looks different for every college student, and there is no ‘one solution.’ The main thing to remember is that there is no time limit on meeting your people, Once you do meet the ones you’re meant to be around, you’ll know. Stopping the cycle of self-comparison and self-criticism will never be productive. Give yourself some grace throughout the process of meeting your people, and once you do, good things will come. You’re doing great!