Welcome to college– a time to enrich your life with intensive study, gain valuable career experience through internships, and interact socially with a bunch of complete strangers.
It’s okay to be scared. You may not be in Kansas anymore, but remember everyone is just as afraid of you as you are of them.
The direct approach to making friends, like in the gif above, is certainly fast, but most of us aren’t that brave. Inevitably, we all go through the round-about, slow-burn, will-this-actually-turn-into-a-friendship acquaintances. Don’t worry, you’ll make friends in no time.
But it’s going to be awkward. Even the most extroverted people are awkward. Especially when you’re put through the friendship speed dating gauntlet that is the first day of class. In the beginning, all you’ll know about your peers is their name, major, hometown, and that they went scuba diving in Mexico that one time.
No one wants to make the first move—maybe out of some deep-seeded fear of rejection humanity has. There’s hope though. You don’t have to do things.
I met the two closest college friends in my orientation class on the first day: Ryan (a biology major, from somewhere in Minnesota I’ve never heard of because I’m from Wisconsin, who plays acoustic guitar) and Sami (pre-med, from near “The Cities”, which I also knew nothing about besides the Mall of America; she met Demi Lovato once).
You’ll likely meet a lot of people just by going to class and being in your residence hall.
You should do some things though. It’s how you make friends outside the classroom. There’s lots of events going on at the start of the semester. That means opportunities to get free food. Get some free food and talk to people.
For example: go to a club’s pizza night. Boom. You already have a common interest with everyone: pizza.
It’s warm at the start of fall semester, so go outside. There’s four volleyball courts on main campus alone at WSU. Play a game and get to know your teammates. Or, choose a different activity during Welcome Week. Talk to the people who go to the same events as you.
Now, you can escalate to asking your new friends to do something outside of school. Like getting food. Noticing a common theme here? While you’re getting food, talk about other things you like to do, not just Netflix.
Think of a list of things you like: bands you like, shows you watch, hobbies you have, classes you’re taking this fall. The conversation will start to feel natural once you know more about each other.
Before you become BFFs you’ll most likely have to endure some awkwardness, but it’s worth it in the long run—trust me.
That’s the advice I’ve got for you. Go fly onto new friendships, my awkward little ducklings. Thank you for listening to my TED Talk.
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