If you had a solid friend group in high school, college might be a tough adjustment — with everyone choosing to go different places, you really need to find a way to make some new friends that'll help you ease into the brand new college lifestyle. For some, this might be kind of difficult — after all, it's been a while since you had to branch out and find people who have similar interests — but luckily, there are plenty of unconventional ways to make new friends on campus.
For the record, yes — you really should go out there and try to meet new people. While your high school friends shouldn't immediately vanish, this is an opportunity to do your own thing, figure out who you really are, and meet people that might just morph into lifelong friends. The four (or more) years you spend at college will be years that you'll look back on forever. These are the people that'll help you grow, and be featured in your ultimate school memories. And chances are, they are just as scared as you over putting themselves out there and starting fresh. Remember, even if they have checklists and have prepped for this moment since graduating from elementary school, no one is completely prepared for this big change.
Even if you're an upperclassmen, it's always great to continue making new friends. And each year, based on schedule rotations, you'll meet more and more people. Here are just a few places you might not have thought of that'll help you develop a brand new group.
1. Sit at a random table at the dining hall.
I know, I know — this seems scary. But know what else is scary? Eating at the dining hall alone, or being that girl who just gets takeout all the time to eat in her room. You never know what a simple "Can I sit with you guys?" will bring. The worst they can say is no, and trust me, you won't be labeled as "weird dining hall girl" after that happens. It'll promptly be forgotten.
Find an approachable group, and give it a shot. Once you do, you'll remember how easy it is to open up and meet people.
2. Hit up the college radio station.
Like music? So do the people at your college radio station. In fact, chances are, the station is littered with posters, CDs, and people who are dying to talk to you about Arcade Fire. If you like music enough, you might want to even join the club yourself, and learn a little bit about working a soundboard. Being a college radio DJ is extremely rewarding, and the people you'll meet will be some of the kindest, most creative people ever.
3. Go to a college football game.
Like sports? Then you're bound to meet a new person or two at a football game. Hate sports? Well, give it a shot — just once. The amount of school pride and school spirit will absolutely astound you. Plus, it's a great way to get some additional wear out of those college hoodies and tees that your parents forced you to buy at the school store.
4. Check out the other floors of your dorm hall.
Living in a dorm is a shared experience — especially if it's a smaller dorm, and not a gigantic high-rise. Dorms have personality, and they help bond people together. Venture up a floor or two, and get to know who else is sharing the same roof as you. Plus, if your dorm is into door decorations, you can get to know a little bit about people of other floors before even saying hello.
5. Try to talk to one random person every day.
It's not a hard goal to set up, and it'll make you look extremely friendly and approachable. Try your hardest to find one person, and strike up a small conversation. It could be about a class you have together, or simply just about the weather outside. You don't have to be a shining star and use your best material, but definitely test the waters and see if this is a person you can imagine grabbing a cup of coffee with.
6. Get a job on campus.
Getting an on-campus job has many benefits — for one, you can likely walk to work, depending on the size of your campus. Secondly, money. Thirdly, you'll be working close with other students, and have a great opportunity to get to know them better based on something you already share. If you grab a campus job, it'll likely be one of the least stressful jobs you'll ever have, and you'll be able to interact with a bunch of different people — including some staff higher-ups, who could probably write you a killer recommendation when it's time to graduate.
7. Hang out in the quad.
Most campuses have a quad, which is weirdly enough, the central place where a lot of action happens. Outdoor concerts, games of touch football, and a heck of a lot of reading and studying happen at the quad, and it's always a great place to go for a little bit of fresh air. You never know who you'll meet out there. Grab a book, enjoy some shade under a tree, and who knows? Maybe someone will approach you first.
8. Hit up the gym.
Having a free gym membership is an amazing perk to living on campus. And even if you're the kind of person who hates to run, or just prefers the companionship of a television over a treadmill (and you're not alone on that, by the way), it's always good to see everything that your campus has to offer — even the ellipticals. You know that exercise is good for you, and who knows? You might go and end up meeting your very own gym buddy. As a team, you two will truly motivate each other. (Or, at least convince each other to "just skip" going today.)
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