It’s probably one of the scariest things about starting college, especially if you are somewhere completely new with no idea who anyone is or even the faintest clue how to do it: making friends. Now, before you even get to school, there is a portion of the class that already have their new best friends from meeting them at accepted students days or the accepted students Facebook group. And when you see those people, it’s easy to look at them and their happiness and think, “Oh my God, I’m alone. Everyone already has friends and I have none.”
However, surprise! Those Facebook friendships don’t always last and while those people seem like the majority, they’re definitely not. Also, this is college, not high school. People are friends with people outside of their “group.”
So, you’re not alone in not knowing anyone, but how do you meet those other people? I suggest you give your common room a try using any combination of these methods.
I wouldn’t suggest this method unless you are really good at starting random conversations. If you are, though, head to your common room, sit down, and start a conversation with anyone in there or anyone who comes in. It may seem a little awkward, but chances are they won’t have a problem talking to you for a few minutes—or even longer if you click. Even if there’s no one in there when you go in or you aren’t great at starting conversations, there’s always the chance that someone will start talking to you.
Do Your Homework
Now, if you’re trying to get a lot of work done, this might not be the best idea, but if you don’t need to concentrate very much or can put up with a little distraction, this is the perfect excuse to hang around your common room and make new friends. At least at my school, the common room is a popular place to do homework, so there are usually a couple people working—depending on the time of day. Common schoolwork is an easy way to start up conversations and friendships. If someone in your common room happens to be in the same class as you, you can talk about the class (even if you are in different sections). If you’re college has a class that everyone in the school has to take, it’s really easy to ask “Is anyone else taking Intro to College Writing?” or whatever the class is. Even if you’re in completely different classes, you can start a conversation by comparing the classes or discussing what you like or don’t like about it. And even if you don’t have any shared classes with other people in your common room, you can always start a conversation about the shared pain of being a college student and having to do work.
If your common room has a TV and there is a television show you watch regularly, a movie you like is on, or your favorite team is playing—watch it! Someone else might want to watch it to, and if that’s the case, you automatically have something to talk about. Because I go to school primarily known for its film program, people were always putting on movies and a ton of people would end up coming in and watching. Same with sports—every time a football or hockey game was on, someone would turn on the TV and suddenly five or ten people were watching. It’s a great way to find people with similar interests to you and start conversations.
Join a Conversation
If you walk by the common room and people are having a conversation about something you are interested in, join them! Unless they’re complete jerks, they won’t mind another voice in the discussion. And if you are nervous about them not wanting you to join them, simply ask, “Do you mind if I join in?” By joining into a conversation already in progress, you don’t have to worry about awkwardly starting one, and you find people with similar interests.
Making friends in college is scary, but common rooms are a great way to find some. I met most of my friends in my common room, and they ended up being amazing people. Even if you don’t make any life-long friends there, the people in your common room are usually the people on your floor—and you might as well get to know them!