When leaving for college, one of the biggest causes of anxiety for students is the thought of leaving friends and family behind.
If you’re anything like me, you might think, “It took me 18 years to find a community at home, now how am I supposed to find a new one for the next four?”
Eventually, the friends come, but not without getting a little uncomfortable, being intentional and putting yourself out there.
Get involved on campus
One of the best parts about college is the people you meet.
Whether you want to meet people to make friendships or network, one of the best parts of being a student at the University of Florida is all of the opportunities for involvement and community making.
There are an endless variety of student organizations you could join that have members passionate about all of the same things you are.
By taking a trip to the UF Department of Student Activities and Involvement website, you can search for organizations that cater to your professional, cultural, artistic, athletic, political and religious interests along with so much more.
With all of the organizations available for you to join, you can find a friend for every aspect of your personality that makes you who you are.
Despite how tired you are, busy you may feel or out of your comfort zone it may be, make it a point to go to involvement fairs, open houses, info nights and, brace for it, walk through Turlington with your earbuds out because somewhere, your next great pal is waiting for you.
Make the most of dorm life
Dorm life, as tight and uncomfortable as it may be at times, provides the perfect opportunity to make friends.
When else in your life will you be surrounded by hundreds of people in the same stage of life and with the same ambition as you?
Take advantage of the floor meetings and casual run-ins at the floor lounge and kitchen to introduce yourself and exchange numbers.
Just be present and nice, and before you know it, strangers will become acquaintances who will become friends.
Remember the social in social media
Sliding into someone’s DMs might just land you your next BFF.
If you find yourself developing a friend crush on someone and think you’d have a lot in common with, consider taking the extra step to get to know them in real life.
Turn your following into friendship by taking things out of the virtual world and into the real one.
It can be as simple as a DM inviting them to study, get lunch or check out a new coffee shop together.
It’ll take some courage, but chances are, your friend crush would be flattered by your kind message and would love to make a new friend, too.
Invite people into your day-to-day
Sometimes the most mundane of moments can make for the best memories.
In college, we’re all trying to figure out life on our own and what better way to do it than with friends by our side.
While it may not be your first idea of an exciting hang out, asking someone to do laundry, go grocery shopping or get a flu shot together can be the spark to un-tapped friendship potential.
If you have a car, invite an acquaintance who doesn’t to go grocery shopping with you.
Before you know it, you’ve got a new friend and partner to brave the check-out lines with.
Ultimately, you are trying to find friends to do life with so you might as well start by doing real life things together.
At the end of the day, the best way to make friends is to be the truest version of yourself.
When you’re out there living your life, following your passions and living the dream, people won’t be able to help themselves from being curious as to who you are.
Be truthful with yourself about who you are, and share that truth when getting to know others.
Being vulnerable isn’t always the easiest thing to do, but your people will be able to handle any part of you that’s thrown their way and love it all the more. Your people are waiting for you — now go out and find them.