For a lot of us who might not have had the easiest time forging and maintaining satisfying friendships in the microcosmic bubble of secondary school, there’s often the hope that college will be the commencement of an easier phase.
Others may have had no uphill battles with cliques or failed to find a group with similar interests. Yet, for everyone, there is a sense of ever-increasing anxiety as university looms – we're all to a large extent leaving behind our past.
As it is a daunting prospect and process to navigate the new social scene – maybe even in a new city – here are our tips to help you make lasting friendships in college.Remember you're all in the same boat
The wonderful aspect of starting university is that everyone possesses the same priorities in terms of meeting new people – they all want it to happen! Fresher's Week and your first term especially will be geared to facilitate sociability across myriad fields of interests, so whether you're shy or outgoing, there will be an event for you to attend and get chatting to like-minded people.Sign up to societies
It’s so important to get yourself out there at the beginning, and keep exploring avenues despite any heebie-jeebies or prejudices as to what other attendees will be like. If you've always wanted to take up dancing, sailing or knitting- sign up to the society.
There will be plenty of newbies with just curious enthusiasm to their name as opposed to well-honed talent, so you won't be out of your depth. The sheer number of students you'll encounter on campus is initially very daunting- the Fresher's tents are quite the assault on the senses- so societies will become your safe haven where some faces will become familiar very quickly.
Many students find that they become very involved in one or two societies over their time at college, and the friendships they make over that time are life-long ones.Show interest in your coursemate – even if you'll never chat again
Depending on your college and course, you’re lecture halls might be absolutely enormous, and consequently the chances of you sitting beside the same person twice in the first term slim to none. As tempting as it may be, don't keep your head down, zone out, and rush out of class at the end. Use this fact as an incentive to go for it conversationally- why worry about first impressions? If you do, you'll be worrying for what will feel like an era. Head a few minutes early and get talking.
Turn to the person beside you, offer a warm smile and intro, and ask them their name. Your confidence will increase quickly, and then you'll be able to naturally suggest lunchtimes or coffee breaks, further aiding the structure of your new social network.Tag along
There's no need to limit your impending friend circle to those in your degree. It’s always preferable to spread yourself across as many circles as possible at the beginning, so head out to associated degree events. If you have a friend in the same college, you can always ask to tag along to their course nights out, and invite them to yours, too – if your pal is chatty, they'll break the ice for you. Bringing pals along is very common as the 'designated lunch table' mentality of secondary school breaks down, and casual mingling becomes the norm.
There’s nothing wrong with focusing on yourself and coursework, but don’t use that as an excuse to stay inside your comfort zone. Freshman year is the absolute best time to be a social butterfly or lad-about-campus. I have never come across anyone who has said “I wish I went out and mixed way less in first year”. The importance of your GPA generally comes into play the last two years of your degree, so work hard but perhaps let precedence go to crafting memories and good times.
On a closing note, remember that everyone wants to make friends, and if it’s not working for you at the start, it’s simply time to put in some more footwork. Opportunities in life rarely present themselves to you out of nowhere, but the possibilities of meeting people with whom you can really gel in college are almost endless. Carpe Diem, we say!