How to make friends in college classes

Isabella is a junior at Marist College. As a Communications major, she dreams of a hands-on career that involves working with others. She has written published articles and managed social media through various internships. She is passionate about physical fitness and living a healthy lifestyle. She enjoys studying the language of Italian in hopes to study abroad in Italy.

To me, one of the biggest differences between high school and college was my social group. In high school, the majority of students stayed within their pre-determined clique of like-minded people. I had the same friend group from ages thirteen to age eighteen. While it is a valuable thing to make long-term friends as you grow up, something I have learned to appreciate that I found in college is the great amount of diversity in students. There were so many people who were different than me, and they all wanted to be my friend! College is a beautiful place because it gives you the opportunity to expand your social life in many ways.
When I began my college journey at the University of Tampa, I was extremely nervous about making new friends. I was afraid that there would be so many more students than I have ever been immersed with that I would get swept away in the crowd. I had never had to go out of my comfort zone and make a whole new armory of friends before. Someone once told me, “Treat everyone as if they are your friend so that they will be.” While it seemed strange to me to go out of my way to be nice to strangers, I decided to give it a try anyway. I went out of my way to learn other students’ names and ask them about their hobbies, interests, etc. I kept an open mind when meeting people and did not shy away from people who were different than me. While this subject was not taught to me in a classroom, it has definitely been one of the most important things that I learned throughout my college experience.
I found that the more outgoing and friendly I was, the more others responded the same way. I began making new friends everywhere I went with all kinds of different people. Soon enough, I was on a friendly basis with hundreds of students! If I had not done this, I would not have been able to expand my social circle past the restrictions I had given myself in high school. My group of friends- and my college life, for that matter- would be much less diverse. I have found that I actually enjoy having friends of all different backgrounds and cultures. I have made friends that come from all over my home state of New York, the United States, and even the world! I am comforted knowing that I will have friends everywhere I go, even if I have not yet met them. While I still value my tight circle of friends from high school, I am grateful to take advantage of this opportunity that college has provided me with. From this experience, I was able to meet more people than I ever have and make more friends than my high school self could have ever imagined. As I continue to treat everyone I meet in a friendly manner, I make new friends every day!

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