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How to make friends in college

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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Riverside chapter.

Making friends in college can feel like an anxiety task from hell. How do I manage to spark up a conversation with a total stranger in my class without sounding dumb? What if I say something stupid? What if I embarrass myself and can’t show my face in public again because I accidentally agreed that she has gained weight over the summer when I actually heard lost weight over the summer? What if I stutter the entire time and no one cares what I say? WOW. Hold on there, rampant intrusive thoughts. This here is a chain of intrusive thoughts we like to associate with imposter syndrome. Ta-dah! Now that we’ve covered that, let’s get into the right headspace to have this conversion. How do I make friends in college? Here are some ways you can try and hopefully come out the other end with a study buddy or a drinking buddy on weekends! 

  1. Interact with other students 

Given the opportunity to go to any social events on campus, walk in and wave hello to everyone you make eye contact with. Take this opportunity to greet your fellow students. Perhaps you recognize someone from a club or a class you have in common. Walk up to them and introduce yourself with a handshake and your name. It may feel intimidating to do this first, but they will also appreciate your boldness. Keep in mind they may be nervous to interact with new people too, and greeting them first just put you on their radar as a charming and friendly person. Now other students will feel more inclined to talk to you and make you their friend.

  1. Give a compliment 

Now that you have socialized a bit and mingled, try giving someone a genuine compliment. We respond positively to praise and with the right person, this compliment just may lead to an in-depth conversation about where and why they chose that tattoo or piece of clothing. Compliments leave a great impression on others because it makes them smile and in turn makes you smile back. This opens another door to asking for their name and social media account if you guys totally hit it off. 

  1. Visit centers 

Another recommendation is to visit the student centers on campus such as the Women’s Resource Center, the Chicano Student Programs, or Undocumented Student Programs. They are filled with resources and mentors that are great conversationalists who make the space welcoming and easy to mingle in. 

  1. Tablings at the Bell Tower

Every Wednesday from 9am to noon, UCR clubs line the bell tower with food and booths that are filled with club members excited to talk about their club to newcomers. Walk around and choose a club meeting to visit. This will give you an opportunity to meet new people at the club meetings, introduce yourself to other members, and create a community of friends that do social events together. It’s easier and more fun to make friends as a group, and takes the pressure off talking about yourself. 

  1. Get into the right mindset.

Last but not least, get into the mindset. When meeting new people, have the mindset of a positive person who is confident. If you begin to believe that you are shy and don’t feel like socializing, then you will psych yourself out and feel too socially awkward to interact with others. While at social events and in class, take note of who’s just being friendly as opposed to friends that are genuine that you can get to know and rely on on a deeper level. Some people are just friendly and easily interact with everyone. Others are also in need of friendship and are great to get to know. Mindset is important because it can predict how all your conversations go and how successful your conversion will be in leading to a planned hang out and reliability

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Ashley Carranza

UC Riverside '24

Hello! My name is Ashley Carranza. I am a 5th Year Creative Writing major at UCR. I transferred from Compton College where I received two Associate Degrees in Biological and Physical Sciences, and Physics. I originally dreamed of becoming a dermatologist or psychiatrist my first year at UCR in 2021, but fell in love with writing in my first creative writing class. I was a Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology student , but after my second year at UCR, I changed my major to Creative Writing in pursuit of a writing career and education. I love to talk about books and discuss different styles of writing. I plan on applying to graduate school to receive an MFA in Creative Writing at UCR. I would love to teach others about writing and the amazing world of fiction we can create once we dive into a book. I love to read cozy mystery books, thrillers, and romance novels. I enjoy writing at coffee shops while sipping seven dollar coffee. I hope to one day write my own thriller and romance books. I love to hike and go to the gym. Topics I love to read and write about are dating, relationships, school, health, and education.