I was excited to head to college for my freshman year.
So excited that I didn’t get scared during the eight-hour drive … or when we were shopping for dorm supplies … or even when my parents helped me move into my dorm room.
Then, right before my parents were ready to drive off into the sunset and leave me behind, the fear set in. I panicked!
It had finally sunk in that not only was I far away from home but I did not know a single soul. Where do you start from there?
Here’s some advice from someone who has been there on how to make friends quickly:
1. The Dorm
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people overlook this.
The key is to make yourself approachable. For example: Keep your door to your room open (only when you’re there, of course), so that people feel like they can come and chat without invading your privacy.
If you’re shy, get your roommate to team up with you to introduce yourselves to your hallmates. One of the first nights of college, my suitemates and I made a point of knocking on every single door on our floor and introducing ourselves. While we didn’t become best friends with every single person, we were able to say hello and start conversations.
Even if you’re not that outgoing, simple things like smiling at people in the elevator make a difference.
While some of those freshman first week events seem a little cheesy, make a point of getting off your butt and making an appearance. You don’t have to stay the whole night but just go for the sake of doing something fun where other freshmen will be. Everyone else is also looking to make friends, so don’t be afraid to talk to people.
Go to the organization fair, find something you’re interested and then find out when meetings are.
If you are too shy to go by yourself, see if your roommate wants to tag along. My freshman year roommate and I went to a couple of meetings for this club that was in charge of bringing entertainment to campus. Even though we weren’t that involved, we had something to look forward to every week and made some new friends outside of the dorm.
Joining an organization is one of the easiest ways to make friends because you are all working together on something you feel is important and you’re a lot more likely to have more in common.
While this may seem a little awkward, it really doesn’t have to be unless you make it that way.
Strike up a conversation with the person next to you before class starts. You’d be surprised how many people would love to chat but don’t want to be the ones to start the conversation. Even if this person doesn’t become a close friend, at least you have an ally in case you need a study buddy or need notes from last week’s lecture.
As simple as most of this advice may sound, it’s amazing how you can forget things like this when you’re all caught up the moment and panicking because you don’t have anyone to hang out with.
The key is keeping an open mind and taking advantage of the opportunities around you. After all, you can never have enough friends!