How to Get Involved at Your College and Make Friends
Being in a new place filled with unfamiliar faces you aren’t used to can feel awkward and uncomfortable. The transition into college can be tough and sometimes it may push you to wonder if you made the right decision. More often than not, the answer is yes, you did make the right decision and, chances are, the majority of the peers around you feel the same way.
Under most circumstances, your college will be your new “home” nine to ten months out of the year. Therefore in order to lose those first semester nerves and start making college feel more like home, consider getting involved in clubs and extracurricular activities. This gives you the opportunity to not only meet new people but meet like-minded people as well.
To begin, make a list of your favorite activities to do. This could be a sport, yoga, journaling, knitting, chess, acting, etc. The majority of colleges will offer a plethora of activities and clubs. That being said, every part of your list may not be fulfilled, but more than likely after attending your colleges’ club fair you will find many clubs and activities that suit you, possibly ones you didn’t consider prior. If your college does not offer a club fair or if you are unable to attend, ask your guidance counselor or advisor about your options and then reach out! They are looking for people to join, just like you are looking to join them.
Other options to consider are participating in community service, finding an on-campus job and attending campus social events. These options force you out of your comfort zone and into your college environment where you’ll be surrounded by people your age. By adding additional clubs and activities to your schedule, you will feel more fulfilled and involved with your college. However, make sure not to overwhelm yourself. Choose one or two additional activities aside from your core classes to fill up your schedule without overdoing it. Furthermore, [although] it may be sometimes difficult to approach people in classes, use group and partner activities to your advantage. Aside from getting the work done at hand, talk to the people around you. Ask questions about what they like to do and if they know of any cool shops, coffee places, or hang out spots around campus. Then suggest possibly checking them out together!
Finally, if you hear of a place that interests you and you want to check it out, go and talk to the people there. Maybe you enjoy sitting at coffee shops and hanging out with friends or reading a book. Go to your local on-campus coffee shop and talk to the people there. Get acquainted with the barista and the people who work there. College students are more than likely going to be employed at these spots and they will be able to inform you of events nearby. They may even share the same interest as you and have other coffee shops they like to go visit outside of work. Overall, if you are serious about getting involved at your college, you must make the first move. No one knows what it is you like to do yet, and therefore, no one can help point you in the right direction.
When it comes to making friends, stay open to conversation and the people you surround yourself with, whether it be a club or your classes. Although this may be scary, many people are in the same position as you. Just be yourself and you will find your crew. The most important advice to take from this is to be true to yourself, as you don’t want to attract the wrong people. If you continue to be yourself and remain open to people and ideas, all the activities and people you desire to fill your schedule with will come to you. So go put yourself out there, you got this!
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