Summer is coming to a close. Soon you’ll be starting your fall semester, gearing up to study and hopefully to take part in some college activities. If you’re a freshman, starting college may seem a bit overwhelming. What are the best ways to go about meeting new people and establishing connections? Here are some tips.
Act like—you. The best way to relate to other people for the first time is to be yourself. Don’t act fake or feign interest in topics that you know nothing about. People will want to get to know you if you are sincere and authentic.
Expand your knowledge. It’s great that you already have interests in certain topics–whether they include history, literature, technology, science, sports… Most likely, your college major will match your existing interests. But it’s always helpful to take a course or two outside of your comfort zone. Choosing electives from a variety of college departments may help you become a more well-rounded student. It may also help you connect with different types of people, whose talents and abilities can help you grow.
Share a meal. Historically, one of the best ways that people connect is over food. Invite some classmates to grab a bite to eat with you. There’s something about enjoying a good meal and chatting that puts people at ease and can foster friendship. If you’re planning to study online, you may still find classmates in your local area. After you’re matched with a fitting college, ask enrollment advisors about online college forums that may help nearby students form connections.
Don’t be a jerk. In other words, be nice. No one wants to hang out with someone who thinks they know everything or who is completely self-absorbed. Practice your empathy skills and realize that the way you treat others is the way you’ll be treated in return. You know, the Golden Rule?
Join in. Just because you’re an online college student doesn’t mean that you can’t meet other like-minded people. Get involved in some organizations or causes that you feel strongly about. You’ll likely connect with other students who share similar ideals and values, and you can make some new friends in the process.
Make conversation. Ask questions when you meet someone new. I’m not talking about grilling someone the first time you meet them, but you should have a few conversation starters up your sleeve. What’s your major? Where are you from? Did you watch the Olympics?
If you put some of these tips to use, you could find yourself with new friends. That’s always a good thing since college is about new starts and finding your way in life as an adult. Having some companionship along the way makes the journey that much nicer.