By the time we graduate high school, many of us have had the same circle of friends for years – or at least long enough for us to have forgotten how scary it can be to enter a school where you don’t know anyone. But college often changes all that. You may find yourself going to a school hundreds of miles away from your old friends. And while some people are naturally gifted at meeting new people, many, if not most, find it daunting and difficult. But remember that college is a new chapter in your life, and as such, it requires a little investment on your part, which can sometimes be uncomfortable. Don’t let that stop you … with a little dedication, you’ll have a whole new social network in no time.
For starters, try to be open to new people. You’ll be exposed to enormous amounts of students from all backgrounds everywhere you go – at the library, waiting for classes, at the recreational center, etc. Looking uninterested and closed off is a quick way to deter conversation. Let it flow naturally. Ask if the person next to you knows anything about the teacher, or if they know a good restaurant in the area – anything to start a conversation.
Join an organization. Colleges typically have hundreds of different student clubs, ranging from academic and sports groups to organizations that focus on hobbies like cooking, crafting, or anything you can imagine. Not only will this add to your enjoyment of daily life, but it will introduce you to people with similar interests … people you might never have met otherwise.
Register for fitness classes at your university’s gym. Typically membership is included in your tuition and fees, so as a student, you’re automatically enrolled. This is a great way to make friends while building a healthy foundation for college.
And finally, follow your university’s calendar and make an effort to attend events that interest you. In any given semester, you’ll get opportunities to hear famous authors read from their books, world-renowned scientists talk about their discoveries, motivational speakers, and many more interesting topics that appeal to a wide variety of audiences. Once you’re there, ask questions, pay attention, and stay afterward to visit with the speaker. Often, this will naturally propel you toward groups of students who are interested in the same things you are – groups always looking for another member.