Whether you’re moving away from home for the first time or you’re going back to school while juggling a full-time job, your college years can be a struggle. Getting to know your fellow college students can make you feel more excited to be enrolled in school and can prove helpful if you’re looking for peers with whom to study, no matter if you’re an undergrad pursuing a science degree or a grad student seeking a masters in negotiation. Whether you live on campus or off, make the effort to meet new people and make some friends this semester.
1. Join Student Activities
Student activities are a great excuse to spend more time on campus being a productive member of the community and becoming friends with people who have similar interests, too. Student groups run the gamut from fraternities and sororities to volunteer groups to sports groups to groups of people in the same major to groups that meet purely out of shared passion for a hobby or interest.
Whether you want to feel like you’re doing good for the community, get some exercise into your day or just unwind with your fellow college students, joining a group of any kind will introduce you to like-minded people with whom friendships are sure to blossom.
2. Belong to a Study Group
Think you don’t have time to make friends because you’re too busy studying? Why not do both at once? Join a study group for any course you’re taking, particularly courses in which you’re struggling. This allows you to set aside time for studying on a regular basis while getting to know new people at the same time. You can even ask if they’d like to join you for a meal or just to hang out once you’re finished.If there isn’t an existing study group for a course already, talk to your professor about setting one up on campus.
3. Eat on Campus
Don’t go off campus for breakfast, lunch or even dinner, especially if you have classes to attend right before or after. Eat at the college’s cafeteria or another on-campus restaurant. Ask if you can sit with small groups of people or even with someone who’s eating alone. It’s a safe, public venue at which to meet new people.You may save money by bringing your own lunch from home, but that doesn’t mean you can’t eat in areas where other students do, such as at a table in a food court or outdoor dining area.
4. Work on Campus
If you don’t currently spend a lot of time on campus because you need the income that a part-time or full-time job provides, apply for a job on campus. Many colleges have work available exclusively to their students, including general food service and office work and work related to specific fields of study, such as assisting a professor in your major or becoming a tutor.
An on-campus job allows you to simultaneously earn income, spend more time on campus and interact with the college community at large. Make friends with people you see on a regular basis and ask to hang out after your shift is over.
5. Participate in the College’s Online Social Media
If you’re purely an online student, or you commute and making time to stay on campus is really a struggle, head to the college’s website. As a student, you probably have exclusive access to something like a forum or a social network just for people enrolled at that university. If not, then join a popular social media website and see if there are any groups for people at your college.
Sign in to a forum or network full of your fellow students and introduce yourself. Look for other students with similar interests or those pursuing the same course of study. Be friendly without immediately jumping into topics that might seem too personal, and you may be able to exchange phone numbers and pursue the friendship offline as well.
There are many ways to make friends in college, andparticipating in student activities, joining a study group, eating andworking on campus, and joining the college’s forums and social networks are just the beginning. Remember to be friendly, approachable and unafraid to take the first step and introduce yourself, and you’ll do just fine.
About the Author: Kurt Remsen is a contributing writer and a member of the Alliance for Student Activities at a small, liberal arts college. His articles have appeared across the Web on sites such as Creighton University online and his college’s online newspaper.