Can I sit here?

Hello! My name is Brittany Smith and I am a senior Communication major with an emphasis in Public Relations. I am on the VSU Women’s Volleyball Team and have been playing all four years. I have completed two Public Relations internships and I am excited to graduate in May and enter the real world.

Long gone are the days in the cafeteria sitting at a table with friends from our childhood years. Now, when you walk in the cafeteria, you are surrounded by unfamiliar territory and faces you’ve never seen before. However, this new environment shouldn’t scare you into isolation. This is the perfect opportunity to create new friendships and find more people to talk to on campus.

Here’s a suggestion: find someone else that’s sitting by themselves because chances are they are exactly in the same boat as you. So instead of standing in the omelet line watching the cook flip it in midair (even though we all want to try it one day), take a look around the cafeteria and see who is sitting alone. While you’re looking around don’t stare or you’ll scare the person away before you approach him/her. Try to pick out someone that isn’t reading or studying because you don’t want to interrupt them if they’re busy.

When you’ve gotten your food and you feel ready, take a deep breath, smile (that’s important), and walk with confidence. Keep your head up and then all you have to do is ask, “Hey, can I sit here?” Easy enough, right? Of course there’s the possibility that the person will say no, but if they do it’s usually because they already have saved those seats or need some alone study time. Don’t feel rejected, thank them for being kind about the situation and try again!

So you’ve found someone to sit with and aren’t sure what should happen next. Instead of just sitting quietly, try to engage in an interesting conversation. Stuck on what to say first? Start by introducing yourself. There are tons of questions that you can ask them, but try to stay away from yes/no questions so the conversation isn’t boring.
Here are a few questions that can help get you started:

1). “What’s your major/minor and what do you plan to do after graduation?” (This can lead to a passionate discussion about what they want to do in life).
2). “What’s your favorite TV show?” (You may have a new Greys Anatomy marathon buddy).
3). “Where are you from?” (If you’re from the same hometown this just got even better for you).
4). “What kind of music do you like?” (This was the first question I asked my roommate and proved to be very successful).
5). Discuss the cafeteria food.
6). Share this article!

Once these questions begin flowing, you’ll begin to relax and remember that they too are probably just as nervous as you are. Try to be courteous as well. If you notice that their drink glass is empty and you’re getting up to refill your drink, ask them if they want theirs filled as well.

After continuing to do this and looking for different people to sit with, I have gained numerous friends and enjoyed my trips to the cafeteria even more. Consider my advice, and it’ll open a new door for your college experience!

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