The first weeks of college can be overwhelming - a new place, new bed, new classes, new schedule, and perhaps most daunting of all, new people. It can be hard to leave your high school friends behind after creating eighteen years worth of memories with them, but branching out in college isn't as scary as it might seem. If you're willing to be open you just might find the most supportive, fun, fabulous group of friends here at your university.
1. Don't Lock Yourself In Your Room
We get it - you have studying to do. And sometimes you just need a few minutes alone. But people won't always come to you if you're just sitting in your dorm, even if you leave the door open. You have to make an active effort. Try to study in your dorm's common areas once in a while, or invite your hall mates to the library with you. You don't necessarily have to talk with them while your working, but your invitation can still go a long way. There's a sweet balance between being studious and still social.
2. Talk About Your Passions
It's easy to want everyone to like you and to worry about coming across as 'cool', but it's important that you be yourself right from the start with every new person you meet. Who wants to befriend someone only to find out later on that they're not who they say they are? Don't be afraid of telling the world about your real opinions, and never stifle your passion or excitement for something that truly gets your heart racing. If you're willing to talk about your honest interests you're more likely to find others who share the same ones.
3. Don't Write People Off
First impressions are definitely important, and I've never met a human being who isn't guilty of making snap judgments. But it's important not to let your initial interaction with someone keep you from getting to know them further. We all have bad days, and if you're willing to give the benefit of the doubt and talk to anyone and everyone, you're ultimately increasing your pool of potential friends.
4. Join Student Organizations
No matter what you're interested in, chances are your university has a student organization dedicated (or at least related) to that passion. Joining student organizations can be overwhelming at first, but if you find a few you really enjoy and don't stretch yourself too thin it can be incredibly rewarding when you meet new people with whom you already have a shared understanding and talking point.
5. Be The Initiator
The truth is that most people feel isolated their first weeks of college. Chances are that the majority of the other students you meet are having similar worries about making new friends and fitting in, even if they hide them well. Think about how amazing it is when you're feeling lonely and someone makes the effort to invite you somewhere - now be that initiator! Include the people around you in your daily plans, even if it's as simple as getting a campus dining hall dinner. The smallest invitations can have enormous impacts.
6. Avoid Trash Talking
One of the quickest ways to ruin a burgeoning friendship is to present yourself as dishonest or rude. No matter how annoying your roommate is or how obnoxious the girl sitting behind you in lecture was today, avoid talking negatively about other people around students you've recently met. If you can point out the good in others, potential friends will see that and naturally gravitate towards your positive nature.
7. Stop Trying So Hard
At the end of the day, you need to take a breath and relax. You're still new to college - it's only been a few weeks or months at the most. You can't expect to find your forever friends this early, and putting pressure on yourself to fit into a defined group so quickly doesn't do anything but stress you out (ultimately making you less approachable, which is definitely not the goal here). It may seem that everyone around you has already found their crew, but you still have so much time. Stay open and friendly, and don't put too much weight on your new friendships right away. Your perfect squad is out there, I promise. And they'll find you one day.
Lead Image Credit: Gratisography