Move in day is approaching which means a rush to find the perfect BFFs. Ideally, you’d love to find someone your freshman year of college with a fully equipped closet, great taste in music, reasonable hours spent sleeping and awesome snacks for late-night binging. But the likelihood of all that and a bag of chips found at orientation is well… slim. But it’s okay!
Meeting people over one weekend (or not meeting them at all) and choosing to live with them for an entire school year isn’t quite what you’d call a “bulletproof plan.” Contrary to popular belief, though, you can survive your freshman year of college without knowing anyone at all. Trust me, I’ve been there!
1. Be outgoing.
For the most part, everyone freshman year is new. You’re not alone. Don’t be afraid to walk into random rooms if the door is open to introduce yourself and get to know your hall-mates. An open door is a strong signal in a college dorm, keep that in mind when you’re in your room but don’t want to be bothered by that one guy always scouring the hall for such an opening and a twenty minutes conversation about Caitlyn Jenner, also, don’t be that guy.
2. Knock on doors & leave your door open.
Don’t be afraid to knock on doors and meet your neighbors. Invite people to come play pong or cards against humanity to break the ice. Don’t be afraid to leave your door open to let people know you’re down to hang out!
If you’re a little uneasy barging into people’s dorm rooms the first night, ask your RA to plan something for the hall. Normally, RAs ask that everyone get together before the year starts to go over rules, safety drills, etc., but you can ask them to plan something a little more fun. As long as it’s within the budget, your RA can put together a night to chill indoors. Don’t get your hopes up too much here, we’re talking board game night with a variety of soft drinks.
3. Head to the dining hall.
As soon as you’ve met some of your hall mates and know all (or most) of their names, ask them to head to the dining hall. Like I said before, everyone is new, so they’re dying for someone to step up and propose an idea. Be that someone. And everyone in college loves to eat, so this method is golden. In case someone actually does NOT want to eat, then you know who to stay away from.
4. Make plans.
Once you meet a pretty solid crowd, make plans for a weeknight or weekend… Say you meet some people on Sunday, plan a movie night Tuesday in the common room, or your first night out Friday. Ask them to chill after class or get coffee to cure your hangover. Even plan a Frisbee or Wiffle Ball game Saturday with your entire hall.
Stepping up and coordinating plans for everyone the first couple weeks is also a great way to ensure you’ll always be included! You come off as outgoing and friendly and looking to have a good time – something most uncomfortable freshmen are looking for. By the end of the first week, you’ll already be living that quintessential college life. Meaning you’ll feel like you’re at an amazingly expensive summer camp in which you are free to do whatever you want.
5. Go to parties.
You’ve been invited to your first college parties. Even if you don’t know many people grab your roommate and go! Mingle with other freshmen and upperclassmen, try your hand at a game of flip cups, but DO NOT get totally hammered and make a fool of yourself. Remember that those people are not your best friends (yet!) and their job isn’t to bring your drunk ass back to your room (we’ll all take care of each other at some point in college, but let’s not rush this…). It kind of goes without saying, but don’t make out with everybody at your first college party… Once you’re labelled a slut, it’s not easy to come back from that. Read our article for more on how to survive your first college parties.
6. Plan ahead.
You don’t want to have to go through the struggle of setting up your dorm but not fully enjoying it after its done because you’re missing a pillow, storage containers or a desk lamp for example. Get supplies online and have them delivered ahead of time or make sure you know when the Target or Bed Bath and Beyond trips organized by the school are. You want to avoid being stranded and having to ask people you just met for favors.
7. Meet people in your classes.
At many schools, freshmen have the option to be in Residential Academic Programs, or RAPs. If involved, you live in the same hall or building as people in your major. This is a great way to meet people in your classes and your dorm to do work and study together.
If not in a RAP, compare schedules before classes start. All freshmen usually take General Education, or Gen Ed, courses their first year, so it’s likely you’re in some of the same classes.
So don’t be scared! The first night of my freshman year of college, I met about 20 people in 15 minutes (none of which whose names I remembered), got invited to three different parties, and slept on the floor of two girls who became my actual BFFs.
8. Attend all the freshman events.
Your school will plan a bunch of events that will help you meet new people – fairs, parties, BBQs, movie nights. Make sure you get ready and go with your roommate. Even if you meet a couple people on the first night, don’t narrow your options to only hang out with the same group right away. Make sure you take advantage of the first few weeks to meet as many people as possible. You will have plenty of time to hang out in dorm rooms, but the first few weeks of school will come and go quickly!