College opens doors to new experiences and a new life. You get the opportunity to make friends with people from different backgrounds and walks of life who have unique stories to tell. You learn from their mistakes and experiences and learn new things in that process. Making friends in college is a brand new experience for every student, and while it is said to be easy, it comes with social anxiety and uncertainty about how it will turn out.
There is no textbook approach to making new friends with your colleagues, but here are some ways in which you can use it when you step into your new college:
Befriend People in Your Student Accommodation
Your dorms are filled with people like you, who are new to this experience. Don’t hesitate to walk around and reach out to your colleagues. You will come home to these people at the end of the day and want to know more about them and get to know them. It can be as simple as studying in the common area of your dorm or having a cup of coffee with a roommate; your student housing is a familiar ground for making friends. Some student accommodations even host ice-breaking events to get the ball rolling amongst the students. Do attend these events as they aim to help you connect better with your new colleagues. Some ice-breakers to help you get started:
- Where are you from?
- What is your major?
- How did you choose this university?
Join an Organisation of Your Interest
All colleges have clubs and organisations of varied interests- from art to technology and music to sports; you can find clubs that are run and funded by students and the college. You will meet like-minded people who share the same interests, which is a good starting point to foster conversations and make friends. Find new hobbies and extracurriculars to learn and make the most of your college clubs.
Attend Campus Events
Every university has events lined up for freshers to ease the transition for students from home to college. These events span TEDx conferences, karaoke nights, music festivals, charity marathons etc. These events set the stage for an automatic talking point for new people, and you should try not to give these events a miss.
If you are studying abroad, there are chances that your campus has facilities ranging from gyms, cafes and sports and recreational facilities that you have at your disposal. You can find people and friends in these areas to discuss with them. For example, when you work out in the gym, there is a clear shared interest between you and the other person, which can be a good conversation starter. Another way to make friends is by studying or working in cafes, where you get the chance to collaborate and work and meet people from different courses or colleges.
Internships and Research Assistantships
With student internships, you can hit two birds with one stone. Internships look great on your resume and can also help you meet new people working in the company. With summer internships, you get the chance to progress in your career and network with potential employers and people in your field. With Research Assistantships, you had the opportunity to work in a group and brainstorm with people in the same area.
Talk to People in Your Class
The simplest and most proven way to make friends in college is to talk to people in your classroom. Strike up a conversation with the person/people sitting next to you, and you can talk about anything ranging from homework assignments to something going on in your school. You can also invite these friends for a coffee or lunch post your classes, since you already have something in common with them. It becomes easy for you to do projects when you have an acquaintance or a friend in your class. You can also get to class before time and make informal conversations with your peers.
You will always find people with the same interests and personalities wherever you go. Always be yourself and let your personality shine so that your colleagues like and recognise you for the very person that you are. Your college experience is a pivotal moment in your life. You want to be authentic and let people you know spend time with you and appreciate your unique personality.
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Author’s Bio – Madhura Ballal plays many roles – a cat person, a food lover, an avid marketer and a postgraduate from the National University of Singapore. You can find her painting, doing yoga and spending time with her friends when she’s not playing one of the most critical roles that she has taken on- writing.