Last updated on November 18th, 2022 at 07:37 pm
If you find yourself wondering just how you will make friends in college, do not worry. The built-in social nature of university settings pretty much takes care of that for you.
All you have to do is put yourself in the best possible position to connect with people and form those lasting relationships.
With all of the stress of having to figure out what you want to study for the next 4 to 5 years, register for classes, AND decorate your dorm room, when will you find time to socialize?!
Your degree is a tool!
Only 35% of US adults over the age of 25 have a college degree. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, 5 Useful Tips For Succeeding In Graduate School, your degree is a tool.
To properly engage that tool, you need the right skill set, and that is precisely what I aim to share with you.
KEYS TO MAKING FRIENDS in college
Making friends in college looks different for many students but the foundation is the same. First, make sure that you are focusing on becoming a friendly person, someone YOU would want to hang out with. Secondly, don’t be afraid to show up as your authentic self.
Now that we have covered what to do, we can move on to discussing how to make friends in college. Before moving into these 5 tips, be aware that forming any type of relationship takes time and patience.
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1. Join social clubs that interest you
During your first year of college, you should have seen the plethora of social clubs offered at the university. If you don’t see any that interests you, then you can actually start your own club!
That’s right, if you wanted an underwater basket weaving club at your school, all you need is enough people, and you can form that club yourself. It’s pretty cool.
But chances are, you will find something there to get you started. There are book clubs if you are a reader. Various sports clubs like golf, volleyball, and soccer.. There are even clubs that offer minority students a space to connect.
get outside of your comfort zone
A lot of the time, making friends will require you to get outside of your comfort zone. Signing up for one of these clubs can be nerve-racking at first, but you will find that students join these organizations for the same reason as you. They want to connect and do something they enjoy at the same time.
Remember our foundation for making friends: (1) Becoming a friendly person and (2) showing up as your authentic self, and you will be fine. Go get ‘em tiger!
I recommend checking out Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends & Influence People if you need more advice in this area. It's a great book!
2. Form study groups for classes
When I look back over these past 9 years in college, I can honestly say that some of my deepest connections happened outside of the classroom. Thinking back to days in Chem I when I formed my first college study group made me realize just how meaningful those late nights in the library were.
I am still friends with the people I got through that difficult time in college with. We realized that it would be better to study as a group. That ultimately led to us finding people we could hang out with on the weekends and ultimately celebrate with at graduation.
Make the first move
If there isn’t a study group you can join, then form your own. Don’t be afraid to approach other students after class and ask them how they are getting along with the course material. Chances are, you are not the only student in class with questions. But you’ll never know if you never speak up.
The best time to form these groups is around exam days, but there are really no rules to this. You can do it on the first day of class if you wish. It’s all up to you.
3. Talk to the person waiting in line next to you
put your phone down
You will be waiting in A LOT of lines in college. Trust me. Whether you are waiting to take pictures for your student ID, waiting for your appointment with the student financial aid rep, or just standing in line at the cafeteria, there is ALWAYS a line.
Use that time as an opportunity to connect with someone next to you. It’s so easy to default to aimlessly strolling on social media or flipping back and forth between apps, but why not take this time to put your phone down and attempt at connecting with a possible friend.
Just start by saying hello and go from there. Ask them about their year, major, or maybe you noticed how cute their shoes are. Just speak and the rest of the conversation will flow. The truth is you never know who is standing next to you.
We all come from diverse backgrounds and are a walking collection of stories. The opportunity to make friends in college is there more often than not. You just have to be willing to acknowledge them when they arrive.
The truth is the process of making friends in college becomes a lot easier once you put yourself in the best possible position to connect with other students.
Sure, you could be like me during my freshman year of college and spend every waking hour in the library studying for an exam (one I still failed btw), or you can use the opportunity of being in such a social environment and study with people who are already doing what you are doing.
make space for new friends!
Don’t get me wrong, I understand the importance of creating a great study environment, and not just socializing the entire time you are supposed to be studying, but you may find that you learn a lot more when you are able to discuss class content in a group setting.
Places like bookstores and cafés provide the best atmosphere for small groups to get together.
You can also try going to these places alone and creating a space for social dialogue. For example, instead of renting out a private room in the library, you can study in one of the open areas where more people are seated. It’s possible that you could run into someone there that you’ve seen in passing and offer them a space next to you.
5. Try work-study jobs around campus
Work-study jobs provide part-time opportunities for college students. Most, if not all, college campuses offer some form of work-study. However, these positions can be quite competitive if you wait too late, so look for these opportunities as soon as possible.
Most of the people working in IT or at the reception desk in the library on campus are doing work-study. Not only will this position allow you to earn some extra income in college, but you will also have the opportunity to connect with other work-study hires. If you are lucky, you may get the chance to work in a position that requires you to have a lot of interaction with other students.
Whatever the case, finding jobs around campus serves multiple purposes and the hours are usually more flexible since the employers recognize the student workload.
Relax. You Got This!
Good things take time to grow
As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog post, building meaningful relationships take time. Give yourself some grace and recognize that you are doing the best that you can, all things considered.
Being a college student isn’t always easy, but you are in this because you have made the conscious decision to invest in your future self.
As someone who has spent almost a decade studying how to become a better student, and later becoming a certified Academic Success Coach, this is what I am passionate about. Helping you become the best version of yourself while pursuing your academic goals. Your success is inevitable!
Come say hi on Instagram!
I’d love to hear about your college experience and discover more ways I can help you succeed in higher education.