Heading off to college can be a daunting time for anyone.
You are leaving behind your friends, your family, your home, the area you grew up in and know inside out, and going somewhere entirely new.
You may only have visited your college once before, and the town or city it’s in could be totally unknown.
What you’re going to need are some friends who can help you settle in, to whom you can talk about your fears, and with whom you can have a lot of fun. Here’s how to make great friends when you go to college.
Be yourself. It may be old advice, but it holds true today. It doesn’t matter where in the country (or even in the world) you attend college; there will be people there who have similar likes and dislikes to you. They will enjoy the same hobbies and have the same interests. These are the people you will want to be friends with because they are the ones you have most in common with, and whose friendships will stand the test of time. This reason is why it is important to be yourself – if you pretend to be someone and something that you’re not, you won’t be able to make friends with the people who are right for you. Instead, you’ll become acquaintances with people who you will drift away from after a while because you have nothing in common.
Use The Dorm
Your dorm is a great way to meet people and potentially make friends with them. Even if you prefer not to go out and your hobbies are solitary ones, you can still be around people if you spend time in your dorm. Get to know your dormmates first because it’s very likely there will be at least one person there who is similar to you in personality. It is a great start for even the shyest of people. Once you have made one friend, it will be easier to make plenty of others, if you want to. Another good way to make friends in your dorm is to leave your dorm room door open. Let people pop in if they want to, and make sure you let them know that they’re welcome.
Every college will have a wide range of interesting clubs and extra-curricular activities to join. Sign up for some of these, however, not too many as you’ll find you’re overwhelmed, and you won’t enjoy them as much, and have fun! Whether it’s an art class, music, movies, gaming, food, or just about anything else, it means that you’ll have at least one thing in common with the other people there; and possibly quite a lot more. Take the time to get to know the people who are in these clubs with you and you could end up finding lifelong friends.
Going out and about around the college can introduce you to plenty of people who you might not have met if you decide to stay mostly in your dorm, so it’s a good idea to go and explore. If you’re invited out for a day or an evening, and you’re free, and it sounds like you might have a good time, say yes! You could end up doing something fun like paintballing, karaoke, or trying Escape Games with people who you really get on with. Being out of the college environment can show you a different side of people, and that is often how you form long-lasting friendships.
People have always bonded over food. Whether it’s a shared love of pizza or a dislike of cilantro, there is something special about eating together. It brings people closer. If you can cook the food together too, it’s even better. Creating a great meal is a wonderful way to get close to people and find out more about them. If you’re sitting around a table eating homecooked food you’re not worried about your classes or your assignments; you’re simply living in the moment. So as well as making friends you’re mindful and relaxed, which is good for you in general.
Before you arrive at college think of some questions to ask the people you’re about to meet. Small talk is a good way to make friends with someone, and the last thing you want is to say hello to someone who is potentially very interesting only to fall into an awkward, embarrassed silence. Having the questions in your mind already means that you can push the conversation forward more quickly and discover as much as possible about this new person. It may be contrived, but it won’t hurt, and it could help you to form a strong new bond.
Get To Class Early
If you can manage to get to class just 10 minutes early, you’ll find that you have a chance to not only get settled and comfortable but to strike up a conversation with other people who have arrived early too. You need to spend time with these people, and you must already have something in common if you are taking the same class, so that’s a good basis for having a conversation. Talk about the subject, the professor, the college, or anything else. One conversation will soon lead on to another, and another. Eventually, you’ll hang out after class too.
Talk To New People
Make it your mission to speak to at least one new person every day. You might not end up being friends with all of them, but if you don’t try, you’ll never know. You will see people everywhere that you have never seen before, especially if your college is one of the bigger ones. It means that it’s easy to find someone new to start a conversation and get to know. Have a range of lines in your head so that you can introduce yourself with ease and get chatting. Remember, the more people you meet, the more friends you will find.