We just wrapped up a successful recruitment year, and met each of our students one last time for pre-departure orientation. We talk a lot about their fears, and overwhelmingly they are concerned about making friends in college. This is a valid concern; the older you get, the more challenging it can be to create solid and lasting friendships. But the good news is that, according to a recent book by Dartmouth Sociology professor, Janice McCabe, called “Connecting in College: How Friendship Networks Matter for Academic and Social Success,” university students spend an average of 15 hours a week in class but 86 hours a week with friends. This means that you will have plenty of hours to work on making friends in college.
While we cannot get along with everyone, you will find people who “get” you, and who will be there for you. I will give you a few tips on how to make long lasting friendships and how they will influence you positively both academically and socially. Making friends in college is possible and we have collected a few tips – from personal experience – about making friends in college.
Be kind and smile.
This is obvious. Be friendly and smile at people whom you meet and pass by when walking on campus. Especially in the US, students are very friendly and want to make friends in college, especially with international students.
Beat the familiarity syndrome
As an international student, first days in college can seem scary thus, you might decide to just be friends with fellow international students you were at the orientation with. As tempting and comforting this, you may miss out on opportunities to make new and enriching friendships.
When friends invite you for events on campus, say YES! Not only will this help you with making friends in college, but it gives the friends you made, a chance to get to know you at a personal level during such interactions.
Take the first step.
Invite classmates to go with you to games, events on campus or even a simple campus lecture. Such initiatives speak a lot about you and those who accept, are probably people you have things in common or really like the idea of spending time with you.
Clubs and Organizations
There are hundreds of clubs and organizations on campus. Find those that peak your interest and go ahead and register! Make that move even if you are not much of a “people person.” You might find that people in these clubs have the same interests.
During your first year, how did you find making friends in college? Comment down below!