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How to make friends (college edition)

It's typically easy to walk onto a college campus for your first year, sit down for a lecture, take notes, get up, and start walking with- oh wait, you're alone. Many of us went to school accidentally, missing the opportunity to make friends at orientation. Without friends, the college dream life will be shattered. To have people you can study with after class, go to lunch with, watch creepy horror films in the dark in the lounge of your dorms, or have people to go into town with if you're new. Having friends in college makes a difference and makes the experience much more enjoyable. Furthermore, college life can get complicated, and having friends gives you the support you may need to get through the semester. For example, you could be an English major needing help in a math class you were required to take. Having a friend who majors in Engineering will be a great help. Got sick and don't have a way to get notes from class? Having a friend in that class can help ensure you don't fail the next exam. Having friends is a must for college; if you cannot make any on orientation, don't worry. We'll show you how to make friends on a new campus! Keep reading!

  1. "We're all new" effect. When we go onto the campus for the first time, it's common to accidentally think that the people there already have everything figured out. Chances are, that's not the case at all. If you think you're alone, chances are the students you walk past in those corridors are thinking the same. This means they also want to make friends but may be too shy. So, don't be afraid to introduce yourself and meet people. When I first walked onto my university's campus as a psych major, I immediately recognized this. So, with that knowledge, I made 20 different friends after the first week of school. How? Well, the first thing I would do is utilize the common areas. If I went for a bite and saw someone sitting alone, I would go and sit with them. After a short introduction and a conversation, I usually find out they are first years, too, with a few exceptions, and they also want new friends. Even when they aren't first years, they are more than happy to be friends. Specifically, to first years, however, you already have something to relate with them through... so why not take advantage of it?

  2. Common Spaces Everyone knows that the best way to make friends is in the places you and another are in simultaneously. So, think of places like classes, food courts, libraries, lounges in your dorm building, volunteering opportunities, clubs, and even jobs on campus. You will be at these places, so why be there alone? Interact with others. It may feel weird, but trust me when I say that's just your anxiety talking. Once you start the interaction, watch it fade away, and you lead a conversation that makes a new friend. When you speak to people at these places, don't be shy to ask that direct question: "Why are you here?". It opens the conversation to so much more whenever I ask someone that. For example: Kaze: "Hey there, what year are you?" ???: "Uh, a first year?" Kaze: "Oh, so am I! I came to the library to study; why are you here?" ???: "Oh, I have an exam in biology coming up..." Kaze: "That's crazy; science is so demanding. Oh, by the way, what's your name?" ???: "Aubrey. What's yours?" Kaze: "It's Kaze, nice to meet you" Aubrey: "Nice to meet you, too." Kaze: "So Aubrey, tell me about this exam. What is it on?" Aubrey: "Something about cellular respiration and ..." And just like that, you made at least a new acquaintance. Keep talking to the person, and it won't be long until you two are friends. Humans are social creatures, and people want friends more than you think. Make sure to trade contact information before leaving so you can plan to hang out with them again.

  3. Go where your degree calls! This is more specific, but to find people who are relatable to you, go to places that your major is based in. The more relatable you are to people, the easier it is to make friends. For example, go to internships or extra workshops that are based on your major (or interest). The people you meet there will likely have similar goals; you can talk to them about that. Furthermore, you may be cooperating on a project that is within the internship/workshop, which prompts more interactions, soon leading to a friendship. Another thing to note is clubs. I suggest attending your school's Psych club if you are a Psych Major like myself. People with the same majors often have similar interests. For example, many psych majors want to be a psychologist or clinical in some way. This springs from similar inspirations, such as TV shows and books that people read in the past. Psych majors also tend to like philosophy for its similar in that there is necessary in-depth thinking that soon leaves an open answer (an answer that may not be certain). So, for my computer science majors reading this, go to a workshop and talk to your partner about the struggle of Python, or for my English majors, go crazy at book club about how Harry Potter is the greatest series ever written. Attending events that speak to your majors is an amazing way to make friends.

  4. Social Media! We can't forget today's greatest way of meeting people... social media. In your bio, put your school initials on it. The algorithm will eat it up like Oreos and throw as many people that go to your school in your suggestions as possible. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Discord, etc. There are so many ways to meet people online, and you will be surprised at how many people have the same idea. For the introverted people who read my blogs, it may be easier to text your way into a friendship rather than walk up to someone in a food court and talk. Social media makes this possible, and nothing is really limiting you. You can text someone at any time (but can't promise they will reply at any time). You don't know what to text? Keep it simple! Just say: "Hello, I'm a first year wanting to meet new people. I was wondering if you would like to get to know each other?" It may sound weird reading, but trust me, it works. They will either try to talk with you or plan to meet you. Either way, they don't bother to respond if someone is not interested. If that is the case, move on to the next. You can make so many friends; don't dwell over one missed chance. So go ahead and put your university into the search bar and see who follows the school's Instagram! Start texting away, make new friends, and don't forget... cyber safety!

  5. Just be active! Instead of going out your way to make friends, there is another way. Just by being active, chances are you'll make friends anyway. Go to the gym or do your notes in the library instead of the dorm. Go on bike rides and long walks. Whatever you do, just be outside and active. The more people see you, the more likely someone will walk up and try to be friends with you. Furthermore, it's more healthy altogether. Your biggest goal is to be as healthy as you can. In psychology, we learn that healthy people attract the most people. If you go to the gym, study, and always working on improving yourself, people will see it and get curious. Then before you know it, someone is asking you how did you get your muscles so big, or how did you ace that test with an 98% when the class average was 64%. By being active, you will get happier, look better, and seem more full in your life. The more full your life is, the more people would like to be a part of it. People want a life to remember and if it looks like yours is memorable, they would want to share with you. I am always on the move. Whenever someone ask me where I been, I always reply with "everywhere". It's true and because of that, I'm a very popular individual. Sometimes I meet people but other times, people meet me. Someone would see me practicing photography and get curious, asking me what photos I've taken. Just stay outside and you will make friends. I know this is not like an instant way to make friends but with time, you will definitely make a new friend on your college campus.

Conclusion: Go out and be active, throw yourself out there. Talk to people even when you feel shy or anxious. People don't bite and once you start doing that, you'll see and make some friends if not many. For times when you fail, remember that some friends are better than no friends at all. So go out and introduce yourself, ask questions, and meet new people on your campus. You will find yourself surrounded by a group of friends in no time. Plan fun experiences and live your best college life!

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Wow you really captured a lot of the anxieties we’ve all been dealing with recently. Really appreciated hearing your perspective, thanks for sharing :))

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