College is an exciting time of your life, but it can also be rather nerve-wracking. Moving away from home is a big life change, especially if no one you know is coming with you. After spending four years in high school seeing the same friends and classmates every day, it can be quite a challenge to start over and make a new set of friends. But it's not as hard as you think—the way college is set up, you'll be encouraged to put yourself out there and be more social. As scary as a fresh start might seem, it might also be quite exhilarating to explore the possibilities. Here are five simple ways to make new friends in college:
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#1 Take advantage of Welcome Week
Colleges organize Welcome Weeks for a reason. They're to help freshman get better oriented to their new school and to help them meet people in their respective programs. The entire week is set up with events that are intended to break the ice and get you talking to each other. So, that's exactly what you should do! Let go of all your fears and reservations... Introduce yourself to a stranger, get some conversations started, and be wholly engaged in the fun events that are set up for you.
#2 Sign up for clubs and sports
A good way to increase your chances of making new friends is by finding people with similar interests as you. Perhaps the best way to do that is by signing up for school clubs and sports teams! Typically, every semester, colleges will hold a club fair in order to showcase the groups and organizations that are available for students to join. Keep a mental checklist of your hobbies and interests, then visit the relevant booths at the club fair on your campus. You're bound to find people who you will click with, maybe even instantly.
#3 Join relevant online communities
Making new friends in college can occur way before you even step foot on campus. By joining relevant online communities and groups, you'll be able to put your name out there, as well as get acquainted with a few names that may later become familiar to you once classes start. Find groups specific to your major, dormitory or living-and-learning community and get a conversation going. By the time you actually step foot on campus and meet your online groupmates in person, you would have already broken the ice and the social aspect of things will seem a whole lot easier to deal with.
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#4 Participate in group study, excursions and events
There are many opportunities for you to make new friends in group study sessions, class excursions and campus events. If you have the time to spare, it won't hurt to sign up for them. Is your psychology professor looking for students to participate in a closed study? Do your statistics classmates meet up at the library to work on homework assignments together? Is there an optional class excursion that still has available spaces? Saying "yes" to any of these is a great start to meeting new people.
#5 Simply speak to others
Lastly, just put yourself out there. You'll never know what the outcome will be unless you try. Even simple small talk with the stranger beside you in a lecture could end up turning into a life-long friendship. Sometimes, you just have to take a leap of faith. You're not the only one looking to make friends—if you ever feel lonely, just remember that you're not the only one feeling that way. Maybe a conversation with a stranger is just what both of you need to let your walls down.