College is a new environment full of opportunities to not only learn and grow intellectually but to also meet many new people. It can be an anxious experience moving away from home to a new school and a place where you don’t know very many people. However, you need to remember there are many more freshmen or new students in the exact same boat that you are. Plenty of nervous new students who are worried about starting a new school without many friends and wondering how they’ll meet people in this foreign and complex school environment. Here are a few good places and ideas as to where and how you can make some new friends during your first semester at college!
1. The Dorms
The dormitory halls can be a great place to make new friends during that first semester at college. It’s full of first years just like you who are anxious but excited to be at college and are also looking to meet some new people. Whether you have a dorm room or an apartment with three to four others you could find you and your roommates may become good friends. However, this isn’t always the case and don’t be dissuaded if you and your roommate don’t become close friends! The dorms are a great living arrangement to make friends because there are so many other first years living so close by. During those first couple weeks after moving in try leaving your door open while you hang out in your room and it’s almost guaranteed at least a couple of people will pass by you can invite in to hang out and get to know!
Classes in college can be a great way to make new friends as well. It’s not uncommon that, like in middle/high school, a lot of people try to sit in the same seats every day in their smaller lectures. This can make it easier to get to know people because you’ll usually always be sitting near the same people at least two or three times per week. Then, when you make discussion groups or the like you’ll usually be talking to and interacting with the same group! Or if it’s a bigger lecture hall this can also help as you can move around and sit near different people every time. Classes can help you make friends because having study buddies, or study groups, can make a big difference in preparing for tough exams. Also, even though it’s not a good thing to do, having friends in lectures helps so you can give them your clicker so you can appear to have “attended” the lecture when you’d rather be sleeping or doing something else. Not to advocate for skipping class and potentially getting you or your friend in trouble for falsifying your attendance. But it’s nice to know someone is a close enough friend to you that they’re willing to risk it.
3. Clubs & Extracurriculars / Greek Life
College usually has many clubs and extracurriculars to offer that can range from the school newspaper to the ski club. These can be great ways to make new friends as you’re guaranteed to have some shared interests and you’ll be spending lots of time together doing meetings or activities for either the club or extracurricular. College is a time to be yourself and pursue whatever interests that you’d like so don’t be afraid to go after and join any sort of club or extracurricular that attracts you! Similarly, greek life can be a great way to meet lots of new people. Joining either a fraternity or sorority can almost guarantee that you’ll make a lot of new friends in that kind of camaraderie. Not only will you make friends in your own greek house but the many events and such give you lots of opportunities to meet numerous other people in greek life as well!
4. Sports (Club/Intramural)
College offers a multitude of sports programs outside of their collegiate-level teams where those students typically get scholarships to attend the school and play on the team. There are club teams which you can try out for as well as intramural sports which anyone can partake in! Sports have always been known to be a great place to make new friends and sports in college are no different. The numerous hours you’ll be spending together at practice and games for club teams are bound to get you close to a few of your team members. Intramural sports, although don’t’ have required practice, can bring people together when you’ll be playing games and likely going for that after-game drink to either celebrate your victory or drown the sorrows of defeat. The shared interests in sports, as well as the amount of time spent together for a similar purpose, makes sports a great way to make lots of new friends in college!
Although it seems obvious, college parties can be a great way to make new friends. No, you don’t have to drink or get really drunk to make new friends. I won’t lie that it may help, but it’s definitely not required. Parties make a great place to make new college friends because it can be a more comfortable setting where nervous first years, such as yourself, can feel more welcome. Also, as expected, a lot of people will have some lowered inhibitions (for one reason or another) which can make striking up a conversation that much easier. College life is a great conversation topic because you can discuss your major, classes, clubs/extracurriculars, or more with another student who can easily relate to what you’re talking about. College parties don’t necessarily have to be these huge 50+ people ragers where you can barely talk or hear anything besides blaring bass. Even just a subtle kick back with a few people can make for great, casual conversation and hopefully some new friendships.
6. Be Yourself & Put Yourself Out There!
The most important suggestions I can pass on for how to make new friends during your first semester at college are to be yourself and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. When you go to college you get a chance for a fresh start away from the same middle school/high school crowds that you were with for years. This doesn’t mean, however, you should show up and try and pretend to be someone you’re not just to impress people or make friends. You get to discover who you really are and explore what that looks like despite how others may pass judgment onto you. Part of it, as well, means that to discover who you are you’ll need to not be afraid to put yourself out there. Take risks in college and step out of your comfort zone to push yourself and see what kind of person you are and through this make genuine friendships that may just last a lifetime.