How to Make Friends in College (Especially if I’m Shy)
Making friends can be hard. Let us help.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Let’s be honest, leaving for college is scary, especially if you don’t know anyone there. It certainly was for me back when I started college. Fortunately, making friends at college may be one of the easiest things you’ll ever do. In fact, many of those friends may be your closest lifelong friends.
I think one of the important things to remember is that you automatically have a lot in common with anyone you meet at your school. You are going to the same school, which gives you a lot of shared experiences: professors, orientation, meals, sports, dorm, etc. You are also going through the journey of learning together, which brings all kinds of people together.
If you are living on campus, you’ll also have the chance to make some great friendships in the dorm. Leaving your door open when you’re in your room can be a great way to meet people on your hall. Of course, we all need our privacy and alone time, but setting aside a couple hours a day to keep your door open shows others that you’re open to them! And, whether you live on campus or off campus, signing up for clubs and extracurricular activities can be another great way to meet people. Play Ultimate Frisbee, get in a Bible Study, join an activist group, etc.
You can also do a lot to help the process of making friends by reaching out. If you are shy, I know that can feel terrifying. However, saying “hi!” to someone in your class that you see every day or sitting with someone in the cafeteria can lead to great conversations and good friendships. You might be surprised how much you have in common with your fellow students. So give it a shot: Make a quip to someone next to you about that homework you just did. Laugh with your dorm-mate about how funny that movie was. Reach out.
In the end, don’t forget that you’ll have an Orientation time, just for new students, before classes start. At JBU, this is when a ton of people get to know each other, without even trying. You’ll play games, serve, and get to know each other. At JBU, we help students start making friends during their very first few days on campus through orientation groups. Some of my very best friends today, several years out of college, are still the people I met my first day of Orientation.
Those orientation groups will come in handy throughout the semester as well. Our freshmen orientation classes, called Gateway classes, will have many familiar faces, as half of them will be your O-group. You can walk into your first college class feeling secure in knowing 50% of the people in the room.
It’s been said that some of life’s most valuable things began with 5 seconds of courage. Take those 5 seconds to say hello, to knock on a door, or to ask if you can sit with someone new. It will certainly be worth it!