Get Ready for a New Start and New Friends
The new school year is approaching, and if you’re one of those lucky students who got into University (congratulations!) you might be thinking: How will I make friends in a place where I don’t know anybody?. If that is your case, don’t panic, we have 7 great tips to help you have fun in the next few months and meet the people you will share your next years with.
Realize that everyone is in the same situation
This is probably the most important fact to keep in mind. When you start something completely by yourself, it can feel like the world is ending; but it’s necessary to acknowledge that everyone else is in the same place as you are. Most people enter University without knowing anyone, so you and they share the same goal: to make friends as soon as possible. That should get you feel more comfortable to follow the next tips since you now don’t have any obstacles that prevent you from talking to people who feel the same way as you do!
It’s practically a fact that everyone prefers talking to people who look happy. I know, it can be hard putting on a smile when it’s 8 AM on a Monday. But if that action helps to have a conversation with the person sitting next to you, then it’s an act worth doing.
On the other hand, putting on your headphones while waiting for the class to start, or curling up in your seat with your head facing the table is not a good idea. If you’re expecting someone to approach you to talk you have to be approachable . When you’re already in the middle of a good conversation, look the other person in the eye! It will make you look interested, just like looking away or to the floor will make you seem careless.
Talk, talk, talk to make new friends
If you’re not a very social person, then you’re probably not used to making small talk, especially with strangers. The best advice you can receive is: talk! First, ask questions to get to know your future friend and then elaborate on the different topics that will come up naturally. In case you run out of ideas, here you have some more: “Why did you choose this degree?”, “Is this the university you wanted to go to?”, Or “Do you know what you want to do after you finish your studies?” usually lead to interesting outcomes. Don’t worry if there are some silences here and there; it happens at first. Also, when you sit next to someone you don’t know, say hi to them! A simple “good morning” could go a long way.
Make plans outside of class
Now you that you have befriended your classmates, you have to keep in touch with them! Even though you see them every day, the best way to know their “real” them is by hanging out somewhere else than school. It allows you both to have time to talk freely and as long as you can about your hobbies, your life, your interests… You can even join a club or a sports team together!
For starters you can go to grab something to eat after class, meet at a nice café in the afternoon; or even go to a party together. All of these things will make you bond better and quicker. Bonus tip: invite more people from your class so you can have a good group of friends!
Take advantage of social media
Nowadays, most people have one or more profiles in different kinds of social media. Following your new friends can be a great way to keep in touch with each other, and even discover new things about them! Maybe you find out that they like horse-riding and you are interested in that, or that they visited Belgium last year and you have been there too. Then, they can also see what you’re doing, what you like, even if you have friends in common! It also helps with connecting while you’re on holiday. Asking for someone’s social media profile is also an excellent way to break the ice in a conversation.
Join clubs and activities around campus
In your first year, you still have the freedom to join extracurricular activities before your classes become harder. It’s mandatory that you take advantage of it! Not only you will have something fun to look forward to every day, but you will also meet people who study other degrees, which will make your social life more interesting. Furthermore, you will have another group of friends besides the ones from class. Besides the typical activities such as sports, you can look for volunteering opportunities: it will be useful for meeting people who want to help as much as you do.
Take your time
Getting to know someone can take a long time, which is why you shouldn’t be desperate to make close bonds in your first week. The final goal should be to make long-lasting friendships, not only for college but life. Throughout the school year you will find that some people who seemed like good partners at first are not compatible with you anymore, but also the other way around: you will meet people halfway through the year that you will wish to have met before. What matters the most is that there is a mutual relationship of trust and respect and that you keep it through the years.
Finally, remember: quality is more important than quantity!
What do you do to start conversations? Did we miss a tip you use? Let us know in the comments