Whether you’re a freshman or a transfer student, you face a major challenge as a new person on campus: meeting people and developing friendships. Connecting with those around you is one of the best ways to fend off homesickness. Fortunately, most colleges and universities make it easy to meet people and cultivate friendships. Check out these tips for meeting new people when you’re the fresh face on campus.
Attend Orientation on Campus
On-campus orientation is a great way to meet other freshmen or new students, many of whom have the same concerns as you do about making friends. During the days your group is together, join people you don’t know very well for meals. Ask them questions about their hometowns, what they plan to study, and any groups they plan to join. Not only will you learn more about each person, but you may find out about communities and activities on campus you hadn’t previously discovered. To cultivate these new friendships, set a time and place during the first couple of weeks of school when you can hang out with the people you meet during orientation. Choose to meet someplace fun that lends itself to conversation, such as a restaurant or a park.
Join a Group or Club
Campuses are the ideal setting for groups of people with common interest to come together, form friendships, and engage in meaningful activities. Look for groups supporting people who have the same major as you because you may end up having classes with some of these students. You may also find clubs that are for students who share your religious beliefs or interest in a particular hobby.
Create a Study Group
Ask some of the students in one of your most-challenging classes if they’d like to form a study group. You can set a time to meet during the week to discuss questions and assignments. In addition to helping you form new friendships, a study group enables you to perform better in your class. It’s a win-win for all those involved. If you click with your group, propose that you all grab coffee after a session.
Work Up a Sweat
Attending an on-campus fitness class is a great way to get acquainted with people who also enjoy working out. Yoga, aerobics, Zumba, and spinning are exciting exercise classes that not only improve your body but may enhance your social life. These activities tend to attract students of all ages and backgrounds. After class, invite a couple of people to go to a juice bar for a smoothie. Remember that studies show that both exercise and friendships lower stress levels.
Be a Friendly Neighbor
If you live on campus, make it a point to get to know other students who live in your dorm. If your floor of the dorm offers community-building activities, that’s a prime opportunity to become acquainted with your neighbors. Resident assistants, who usually are older college students, often arrange for their floor to have dinner together one night a week.
Regardless of how you choose to meet new people, you have to be intentional about doing it. Otherwise, it’s easy to spend your free time studying or doing other solitary activities in your dorm room instead of putting yourself out there to form friendships that could last a lifetime. Remember to take chances on people and activities that may require you to stretch a little. This is how some of the best friendships (and memories) are made.