Getting into college can be overwhelming, and when everyone tells you “You will be fine”, “You will make friends” and “It is going to be the best four years of your life”, you honestly have no idea how those things are going to actually come to be. Well, that’s why you have us. You move to Purdue, your RA helps you move in, you have BGR and you’re acquainted with a few people on campus. Let’s face it, you will only retain a few of the many people you will introduce yourself to over the course of BGR. So what are you going to do then? As a junior this year, I think I have a few ideas that will help you make more friends at Purdue!
1. Get to know your roommate better.
You know that anxious feeling you get when meeting your new college roommate for the first time? Tell your roommate about it. To get past the anxiety, talk about it, with the person who you were anxious to meet; don’t be afraid. Your roommate and everyone around you is almost certainly thinking the same thing you are. And the only way to come up with conversation starters is to think of the most random things.
Ask about how much of campus they have seen, it is easy to get lost when you’re running late for class and you two will probably joke about how you used to discuss the campus map and get all confused when you wanted to get to the PMU a few months from now. Fun times, right? Tell your roommate about new discoveries, go explore in the evenings and try all the restaurants around Chauncey.
Definitely, certainly and totally always keep your door open. Yes, it sounds weird, no, people are not going to look into your room and say something bad. They’re probably just as new as you are and looking for some company. What I saw a lot of people doing and also did myself was jammed my music with an open door. It is a huge conversation starter. Music can very easily make you friends at Purdue. You know it’s real when you two can get it down to the same song and sing each and every lyric. You meet people more like you, and isn’t that what you need?
2. Go to class!
Yes, this is a reason and I am not kidding. When you’re two-three weeks into the semester and you think to yourself, “Eh this class doesn’t take attendance, I can just sleep in”, don’t give in to it!! Purdue has a huge amount of students, it would be more likely that you meet someone in class and make friends with them rather than trying to meet someone at a party or on your floor. The idea behind this is that you already have something in common with the people in your classes, and that’s a ready made conversation starter right there!
Remember, Purdue has a reputation for many things such as difficult math, or fantastic engineering programs and anything else. Use this as a conversation starter. Any student who got into Purdue is just as proud as you are to be there. If they’re finding it difficult, ask them to work together! Doing homework together is a start of a great friendship.
Since Purdue’s campus is not within a large city, everyone you see everywhere is a student. That one guy or girl you saw at class and smiled at a week ago may just walk by you. Don’t be shy, talk to them, say “Hey aren’t you in my so and so class?”. Even if you were mistaken, you can laugh it off and you have another acquaintance right there! Once you start making friends at Purdue, you will see them again and again on campus. Think about it, if you made friends with them at those times on those days, they probably have a schedule that puts them there.
Take advantage, start being more friendly! Class is a huge factor to making friends at Purdue. Talk a lot in class too, people will be able to recognize you as something. And it works to make it easier to get to know people. It is easier to say “Hey I am the guy who talks a lot in class” rather than “Hey I have never met or seen you before”.
3. Use the Union table signs.
We all have seen (or not) the little signs on each table at the Purdue Memorial Union building, mostly outside the Starbucks and around that area. Those signs that have two sides you can choose, to set a do not disturb or to say that you’re okay with other people joining you! That’s a great way to start off sometimes if you’re bored, between classes and looking to have a random conversation or make friends at Purdue. Look around the tables for the green sign, go and sit down with someone. Ask them their name, tell them you’re really bored and how you just like going around and talking to new people. The best part about this is that you never have to worry about safety in the middle of the day because pretty much almost everyone in that building minus a few employees are going to be students.
4. Keep in touch with your BGR group.
Yeah, BGR. The event that made us all get up early, do stuff we had never heard of before all week long and then get assigned a random group. Weird right? Actually, it’s the best way to start college. You spend your first week in West Lafayette with your BGR group. Of course you might go meet some acquaintances, but you will spend all your time with your beloved TL and your new group.
This is a chance to get to know everyone. It is almost certain that at least one person from your BGR group will become a good friend for a long time in your life. One friend will introduce you to more, and before you know it you might have just found a great group to meet up with and do things you like! There are plenty of ways to start a conversation with someone in your BGR group.
For example: You can talk about how much you enjoy doing some things within the events. Or how much you do not enjoy it! Something that you have in common. That’s always the best way to get past someone’s comfort zone and get to know them.
5. If you get a chance to go hangout with some people, GO!
You know, it’s just another boring Saturday night. You are planning to watch Netflix until your eyes cannot stay open anymore or want to play video games until you get so mad at the screen you decide to quit? And then your roommate, friend or anyone for that matter says they are going to go hangout with some friends, and that you could come along, what would you do? Probably think that “Man that would be boring, I know nobody!”. That’s because in every instance you will have the same issue. GO!!
You can play video games and watch The Office later, you can even make it a night with your friends once you find people who like to watch and play what you like to. But go, explore, talk, figure people out! You’ll never know unless you try. Don’t be afraid to invite people to hang out at any point of time. Think of it this way, if you don’t ask, it is as good as getting a no. There’s no harm in asking and getting a no. Do it.
Another way to make better friends at Purdue is to ask people to go to the various sports games. There are plenty of games you can go for, and definitely go watch Purdue’s basketball, football and volleyball. Nobody will ever turn you down for that!
6. Don’t just eat in the dining courts, mingle!
The dining courts around campus might have lots of awesome food (LOTS OF IT), but you can get a lot more out of them. Freshmen year means all the freshmen have dining court swipes. You can get in and eat how much ever you want. That’s great because people would easily agree for that if you asked them for a meal since they don’t need to pay and they can use their swipes. Whenever you’re hungry, ask your roommate, someone you met in class or ask the entire floor GroupMe about who wants to go to dinner with you. Nothing like talking over some stir fry and make your own Pizza from Earhart, or some wings and dessert from Hillenbrand? Good friends at Purdue are made more easily with good food!
It is always awesome to grab some friends and try out the dining courts. Every freshmen student is going to be as curious as you are about what Purdue has to offer, don’t be shy, just ask! All the floor dinners your RA will ever organize will be in the dining courts. Always, ALWAYS go. Never miss a floor dinner because you might just meet someone who you have never seen on your floor before. It also gives you a chance to catch up with everyone you don’t keep in touch with much. Maybe they have a new interest and can share? Maybe you have a new interest to share and maybe it clicks!
7. Go to on campus events (PSUB is highly recommended).
Purdue’s campus is filled with events almost every day. Get on as many mailing lists as you can! It might seem annoying, but it’s worth it because you get to meet that many more people. On campus events can range from open mic nights at the union, to boiler block parties outdoors that have awesome bouncy houses, food, and of course lots of people to socialize with. One great way to be up to date with events is PSUB! PSUB hosts events every week, and you should definitely get on their mailing list. I spent a lot of freshmen year going to PSUB events and ended up meeting lots of people that I still talk to even through junior year.
Urge your roommate or someone on your floor to come with you, even a high school friend, or someone from your BGR group. PSUB events have some really cool themes. Halloween parties in the union are great, they have had wax hands, paint your own mugs and even build your own stuff toys!
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The union bulletins are where you can find ads for all these events. Sometimes you might find someone reading the fliers and feel free to approach them and say “Hey, do you want to go for that event together?”. Purdue students are friendly and they will never mind someone asking them that, they might even ask you to join their friend group. Keep that in mind since the entire campus is full of students. So if someone walks up to you and tries to talk to you, it’s probably because, like you, they’re looking for company. Of course be safe, and stay away from any danger but at the end of the day, be mindful of all the students around you. Some signature student traits are puffy eyes, heavy bag pack, cell phone with no battery and sleep deprivation.
Seriously though, Purdue’s campus will always have students on it. Believe it or not, I have walked through the union at 3am and seen people sitting on the couches just hanging out. That’s why I love Purdue!
8. Use campus facilities extensively.
Purdue’s campus has a huge number of amenities in case you haven’t already taken a tour. From the CoRec, to the Starbucks at Third Street Suites, there’s so much to offer! At any given time, if you visit any of these buildings, they are swarming with students. The café in the ME building, the Catalyst café at Wetherill, the Union food court, the Hicks Undergrounds café, third street market and I could go on. One thing that really makes these places important is because all the employees are Purdue students!
That brings me to my next point, the reason I say use these facilities as much as you can rather than going to Walmart to get ready food, ordering in or a restaurant on your own is because there is so much potential to run into someone in these locations. It could be someone you don’t even know, but is doing homework from the same class you’re in, someone from your floor or even someone you met in BGR week! Ask how they are, use the clichéd “Do I know you?” phrase to get things going and get a conversation on the road.
Another idea is, talk to the employees helping you out at the counter, get acquainted and the more you come in, the faster they recognize you. Ask for their name, introduce yourself and tell them how you think it’s cool, or awesome or admirable that they are working that job. Or ask them something you are curious about with regards to the job. If you are interested in applying, ask them how the workload is. Speak what your mind asks. We all come to college with clueless but curious minds, don’t be afraid to show it! Purdue hires a lot of students and almost every service is run mainly by students (and this includes all dining courts).
Set aside everything, if you play a sport, sign up for intramurals. We have a huge intramural system, and offers almost every sport you can imagine. The CoRec has a rock climbing wall, all the gym equipment, an indoor pool and even a hot tub; Explore away! The T-rec has an indoor turf that you can play soccer on. Practice anything you like and even play quidditch (I have heard the Purdue quidditch team is awesome!).
9. Go to the B-Involved club fair, ask questions, join clubs!
A huge part of making new friends at Purdue is finding people who match your interests. Yes you will find friends at Purdue on your floor or in class who might match your interests, but what is that one thing that you really love to do and you are really passionate about? Maybe it’s more than one thing, that’s good! Purdue has over a thousand clubs, and they all are very unique in their own way. From technology oriented clubs to outdoor activities, they have everything you will even need. Have a new interest? Join the club! Have a hobby that you really want to carry forward? Join the club! Quite literally actually, there’s probably a club for it all.
The B-Involved fair is Purdue’s way of telling you that there is at least one thing on campus that you can be involved in and like it. It is highly recommended that you should go to this fair because all the clubs set up stalls, and advertise what they are about. This is the perfect time for you to get to know what the club is about and what they do.
Purdue’s BoilerLink is a directory with every registered Purdue club. If the club you want to learn about is not at the fair, you can find info and contact details on this directory. If you see an ad for a call out of a club that might interest you and you are not sure, go for it. Besides the fact that you may join the club, you might meet others like you who are clueless and wanted to see what the club is like. It is important for you to be proactive and take initiatives to make conversations. You never know what they may lead to and how many new friends at Purdue you may make!
10. Use Purdue’s diversity to your advantage!
We have a very friendly atmosphere that makes it easier to make friends at Purdue. I would like to say that it is because of the vast diversity of students we have, but there are also some other contributing factors such as a secluded campus and a huge housing system. If you try to talk to the person sitting next to you in class, (don’t in the Class of 1950 building because the voice has an echo back to the professor and he or she WILL call you out for that) then the person you initiate conversation with will most likely be very friendly and cordial.
Always be yourself, and be eager to learn about other cultures, there are many of them around you! Talk to students from different countries, ask them what it’s like, and how they feel coming to Purdue. A common question I get asked is why I picked Purdue, 8,000 miles away from home. A good foundation could be getting to know people from your culture to become more comfortable in Purdue’s environment. Like I said earlier, coming to a new place can be very overwhelming. You will make plenty of friends at Purdue. Purdue is also there for you if you ever have any problems! We have healthcare, advisory services, student support and most of all, school spirit!
Lastly, enjoy the beauty of our campus; explore, discover and don’t forget to make many memories with your new friends at Purdue! Boiler up!!