Jennifer Wilber works as an ESL instructor, substitute teacher, and freelance writer. She holds a B.A. in Creative Writing and English.
Making new friends in college can be tough. It may be especially difficult for students who don’t live on campus. It is easy for students to meet new people and form friendships while living in dorms, but making new friends can be trickier for students who commute to college. Even if you live off campus, there are still ample opportunities for you to make new friends while in college, you just might have to search harder for ways to connect with new people.
Join a Club
One of the easiest ways to make new friends who have similar interests to you is to join clubs related to your interest. Whether you are interested in video games, anime, cooking, fitness, religion, or any other hobby, there is likely a club for it. If you can’t find a club that you are interested in joining, consider starting a new club. As the founder of a new club on campus, new members will look up to you. If you join an existing club, consider running for a club officer position to gain more visibility within the club group.
Arrive to Class Early
Arriving at your classes early gives you ample time to chat with other students before the class starts. Having a common class together gives you an instant conversation starter with other students, as you can simply talk about your homework assignments or the course’s subject. If you hit it off with one of your classmates, you can easily let the conversation lead to other topics, or exchange contact information to get together outside of class.
Start Conversations with Classmates Outside of Class
Don’t be shy about striking up a conversation if you see one of your classmates around campus outside of class. If you can’t think of anything to talk about on the spur of the moment, you can always make small talk about the class that you have together or events that are going on around campus.
Be Sure to Participate in Class
You should always be prepared to be part of any in-class discussions that might take place in your classes. The more active you are in engaging in classroom discussions, the more your classmates will remember you when they run into you outside of class. You will come across as more approachable to your classmates and they will be more likely to want to become friends.
Take Lab Classes
You will inevitably have to take lab classes to complete your science requirements. You can make the most of this requirement by striking up a friendship with your lab partners. Suggest getting together outside of lab to study or work on projects. Perhaps ask if anyone in your group would like to get a meal together after your study session. If you get along, you can easily build up a friendship from there.
Take Interactive Electives
When choosing electives, pick classes based on your hobbies or personal interests that allow you to interact with your classmates. Physical education classes such as sports, martial arts, or yoga, are excellent ways to meet new people who share your interests. Check your college’s course catalogue to find electives that fit your interests.
Make Use of the Student Lounge
Student lounge areas are great places to meet new people between classes. While some people may be busy studying, there will also be people just killing time. Take notice of what books people are reading or something interesting about them to use as a conversation starter. The student lounge is a great place to socialize and meet new people.
College is a great place to meet new people and form lasting friendships that will stay with you for the rest of your life. Even if you live off campus, you can still meet plenty of new people and make lots of new friends. Whether you commute to a community college or prefer to live off campus while attending a four-year university, there are still plenty of opportunities to make friends while in college.
© 2017 Jennifer Wilber