Connections: Making New Friends at College - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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Campus Life College Preparation
April 16, 2018

Connections: Making New Friends at College

As you step onto campus, a sea of peers surround you. Looking around, you take in the wide variety of students who will be your comrades for the next four years. It’s Connections Day, but ironically, you feel rather unconnected. A flood of questions fill your mind: “Who am I going to eat with? Will I like my roommate? How do I even make friends?” You’ve always wanted to be good at making new friends, but unfortunately, you’ve never been able to master this art. How do some people make connections so easily? You wonder how you will ever find your way as a little fish in this big pond. Although making new friends can seem daunting at first, with the help of a few tricks, it actually becomes a lot easier than it may seem. Here are some tips to help wash away your doubt and plant the flowering seeds of friendship.

  1. Get Involved

In order to make new friends, you first have to meet new people, and what better way to meet new people than getting involved around campus. There are tons of opportunities to get connected throughout the year.   Start out by going to events such as concerts, My Generation Night (MGN), Film Fest, Bingo nights, the Mystery Bus Trip, Movies on the Lawn, 12 Hours of Christmas, Cokes and Connections, and much more. To connect with others of similar interests, you could join a club. For the musically inclined, join a musical group like the Genevans, Symphonic Band, Jazz Band, New Song, or Marching Band. For those who are agile, join an official athletics team or club team, and for those who enjoy playing sports but cannot commit to full-time athletics, Intramurals (IMs) is your sweet spot. You could also study abroad, which draws students together in a special way as they see the world’s wonders and experience new cultures together. So get out there, get involved, and get connected.  You’ll meet new people and make new friends in no time!

  1. Be Yourself

Following the crowd, peer pressure, and trends all have one thing in common – conformity. You want to fit in so you change to be like everyone else, or you just “go with the flow.” Although this is not always a bad thing and sometimes is necessary, it is not the ideal under which friendship blossoms. True friends love one another regardless of differences and, at times, because of differences. So, be yourself. Be genuine. Too many times people think that they have to put on a face and be someone they are not to make friends. But when the rubber meets the road, the opposite is true. People are drawn to those who are genuine, those who are real, those who are honest.  Show people who you really are; you are unique and if you’re anything like me, kind of weird. So, let people see that. Those who really matter will only love you more, and the few who do back off weren’t meant to be your friends anyway. A true friend is a friend who loves you for who you are, quirks and all.

  1. Ask Questions

Friendships are not all about you… let that sink in. This little truth is something that a lot of people miss. They approach friendships selfishly and make friends to fill personal needs. Although many benefits come with friendships, including filling personal needs, this is not the ultimate goal. It is about the other person. So, put on a mindset of selflessness as you meet new people, and get to know the people with whom you are talking. What’s the best way to accomplish this? Ask questions; ask questions; ask questions! This little tip is the secret ingredient in any good conversation. Asking questions opens up new topics to explore, makes conversations flow, and allows you to get to know the other person on a deeper level, showing them that you care. It takes your eyes off of you and puts the focus on them.  You’ll be surprised at what you will learn about them in a short amount of time. And if I know anything about conversation, soon, they’ll ask you questions, get to know you better, and may even ask you to hang out… BAM… friendship.

  1. Smile

Last but not least, smile. A smile makes you approachable, leaves an air of friendliness, and can brighten someone’s day. Never ever stop smiling; you never know who is falling in love with it.

So, get involved, be yourself, ask questions, and most importantly, smile.  Clear your mind of anxious questioning, and put these tips into practice. Before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to making friendships that last a lifetime.

-Olivia Forton ‘19