The first couple of weeks on campus are defining in one’s overall college career. It’s a time of reputation building, socializing, and big changes that impact your life in a huge way—no pressure! Here are some of the biggest do’s and don’ts to help you meet people and make new friends during your first semester of freshman year.
Don’t keep your door shut
This tip seems so simple, but never underestimate the power of an open door. Doors can pose a barrier (quite literally) between you and a comradery with your floormates. At a basic level, passers-by can easily say a quick hello if your door is open. Sometimes those quick hellos lead to lovely conversations later on and friendships even beyond that. With a closed door, not only can floormates not say hello, but they may assume you’re not interested in making friends, which may lead to social barriers in general. Floor comradery is a big part of the first-year dorms at St. Bonaventure University. Keeping an open door is a great way to make sure you don’t miss out, so get those doorstops ready!
Related: A Handy Guide to Surviving Dorm Life
Don’t shut yourself in your room to study
If your college has a lounge or study area, use it! It can be a great resource—not only for being productive and getting work done so you can enjoy your weekends (pssst, and maybe meet new people!), but also for finding possible study buddies and people who can help if you’re struggling in class. I met some of my best friends from studying in the lounge in my dorm. The close-knit space allowed me to spend time with the other “usuals” who used the lounge for studying. We ended up becoming friends because of that time spent together, and the extra help on schoolwork was a definite bonus.
Do tag-team campus with your roommate or another friend
It may be uncomfortable to meet people with no one around, so venturing to campus hotspots with your roommate can be a great way to branch out and meet new people that you can hang out with. This is especially useful for groups of people, which can be intimidating to join if you’re not used to it. Roommates or any friends you have on campus are great ways to network with other groups and form connections that might lead to deeper bonds. But this strategy can be risky if you become too complacent with going places and only talking to your roommate or friend. Be sure to talk to other people too!
Do be spontaneous
This is by far the best way to make a good impression, build confidence, and make new friends. I’ve met people by sitting down for a meal with them when they were sitting alone in the dining hall. I was extremely nervous at first, running through what I would say so I wouldn’t seem weird or crazy for saying hi when I had never seen them before. The guy was actually very happy to have someone join him, and we became good friends just from the nice conversation and time we spent eating together. It’s important to remember that people usually don’t mind when you reach out to them. If anything, it’s a pleasant surprise for most people when others say hi and strike up a fun conversation. Being spontaneous, saying hi, and holding a good conversation are all great ways to build confidence in general and go a long way when it comes to meeting people. It makes life more exciting in general. So when you get on campus, get out there and go meet people!
Do ask for digits
Also important: Stay in touch with the people you meet. Swapping Instagram handles and phone numbers are great ways to show people that you’re friendly. Following up with texts or DMs to go get lunch or hang out is so easy and makes going to the dining hall a lot less intimidating.
Remember to have fun in college. It’s the next four years of your life that you’ll always remember, so make the moments count and don’t be shy. You won’t regret it. Happy socializing!
Need some inspiration to help you connect with others on campus? Check out Our Best Advice for Having Fun and Making Friends in College.