In the last few months leading up to your first semester at college, the list of things you need to do and stuff you need to pack keeps growing and growing. It's not until the clock's winding down that it might dawn on you that you have to remember how to make friends.
College is hard enough without the pressure of finding those mythical lifelong friendships alumni wax poetic about. But making friends in college can be way easier than you think.
Simple Ways to Start Making Friends in College
After you've perfected your dorm room decorations and have fully unpacked those boxes and totes from home comes possibly the most harrowing part of going to university - finding other people to talk to. Even if you're not living on campus, university is full of its own tribulations that you need a support system close by who you can turn to.
Before you get bogged down by the homesick blues, try out these different ways of making fast friends at college.
1. Join Any Social Media Groups for Your School/Year/Program
When you're wondering how to make new friends in college, start with social media. One way to connect with people before even setting foot on campus is joining as many social media groups relating to your graduating class, your university, your dorm, etc. as possible.
Not only can you learn some vital information before heading into the new semester, but you can come armed with new friends and familiar faces. You might even luck out and find yourself a roommate!
2. Visit the Club Expo and Join a Few
At the start of every new year, university clubs usually come together to host some sort of exposition trying to draw in new members. There are typically many different clubs you can choose from, and they're an instant way to find people with common interests.
Don't worry about your interest being too niche - there's probably a club for it!
3. Attend Your Hall Council Meetings
Most college dorms have some form of Hall Council, which is an elevated version of student council. The people on Hall Council represent their dorm and its interests on campus and help put together fun programming throughout the year.
Usually, the Hall Council will hold a general population meeting once a week where you can meet with your fellow dormmates, plan upcoming events, and talk about any frustrations you're having. It's a great place to socialize and get valuable information and advice about life on campus.
4. Join or Start a Study Group to Meet People
Study groups don't have to be these strict, all-work-no-play kind of get-togethers. You just ask the people seated near you to study on the weekends or ask professors or other students about study groups that are already out there. Either way, joining people to go over class materials is a great way to keep your grades up and find fast friends in your program.
If you're already in your major classes, then you'll start seeing these classmates time and time again as the years pass, so you might as well start to get to know them now.
5. Head to the Rec Center for Pickup Games
Depending on how big your campus is, you might have more recreational centers than just a standard gym. If you do and you love a little healthy competition, check in with the staff to see if they host any pickup games of team sports like soccer, basketball, ultimate disc, and so on.
If they do, you can sign up for some of these games and join in on the ruckus. There's nothing that brings people together faster than working together as a team.
6. Meet People at College Through Volunteer Opportunities
If you can, why not give back while trying to make friends? Universities are usually deeply connected to the communities they're based in and offer many pathways for students to help bolster the community in whatever avenues they're most passionate about.
If you want to make good use of your time but also start to build a friendship network, volunteering at organizations that a lot of other students volunteer at is one option.
7. Go to One of Your School's Sports Events
In America, most universities pump lots of funding and time into hosting sports events. Whether it's football, basketball, or something else, weekend games are an awesome way to bask in the camaraderie and a natural avenue to try when you're wondering how to meet people in college.
Sign up for a tailgating spot or just join in on the festivities and deck yourself in gear to stand out in the student section. With everyone in a great mood, you're sure to bump into someone to chat with.
8. Take People Up on Their Party Invites (If You're Comfortable)
Partying and universities kind of go hand-in-hand. When you get a bunch of young adults - many of whom are old enough to drink - in a small space with a lot of downtime, they're going to unwind.
Now, partying isn't a prerequisite for a good college experience (no matter how legendary the themes are), but they are a big part of the weekend social culture. So, if you don't mind hanging around a big crowd, going to a few college parties can be a good idea.
Going to a party can be a good way to meet people - but your safety at the party is important. Simple things like not leaving your drink unattended, being aware of your surroundings, and not walking alone after dark can help you stay safe.
9. Spend Your Downtime in Public Spaces
There's no way you're going to meet new friends if you hole up in your dorm room or stick to the silent floor of your school's library. Instead, start spending some of your downtime in between classes in public spaces. Check out where students tend to congregate on campus and spend a few afternoons a week down there.
Inevitably, you'll come across an activity or conversation you can jump into. And, if you're there often enough, other people may start to recognize you and strike up a conversation on their own.
10. Get a Part-Time Job (If You Have the Time)
The coworker to friend pipeline is a pretty reliable one. If you're balancing classes, don't feel too stressed in your personal life, and could do with the extra money, then maybe you should consider getting a part-time job near campus.
Jobs close to campus are usually full of other student employees, and you can kill two birds with one stone - make new friends and some extra money.
Put Yourself Out There and Meet New People
If you've spent elementary school to high school with the same people, then jumping headfirst into a group of complete strangers can be panic inducing. But humans are such social creatures that it doesn't take more than a compliment and short conversation to become fast friends with someone.
Reach out to your next-door neighbors for dinner sometime or join a club that's caught your interest. Just remember that the only way you can actually meet people in college is to put yourself out there, in whatever way you're comfortable with.