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Making Friends in College 101

Becky Drexler on Monday, 31 July 2017. Posted in Student Life

As a senior, I thought I would share some tips on getting involved and meeting people when you start college (forewarning, some of this is super cliche).

Keep your door open.

Let's start with the residence halls. Your floor will either be your home-base where you'll get to know all the other people on the floor and you squad up.... or not. I was not too close with my floor, but rather my friend's floor a building over. I only recently ended up getting to be good friends from some of my freshman year neighbors through work. Five years later, and I'm interning across the country in San Francisco with the girl who lived across the hall from me... go figure.

I recommend starting with the open door policy. Keep the door to your room open when you're just hanging out or working on some low-key homework. You'll obviously have to check with your roommate to make sure that they don't mind, but it's a great way to say you're open for people to stop in and say hi. Someone may walk by and ask if you're interested in lunch/dinner/midnight run to the corner store, etc.

Be open to doing things.

Whether someone asks if you want to grab coffee or go to that random capture the flag game, I recommend just doing it if you have any interest. The more you are open to getting out and doing stuff, the more invites you will get to do stuff... On the other side hand, if you don't have any interest in doing something, don't. If you continuously turn down the offer to go to dinner, they'll get the hint and stop asking you. There's really no pressure to find one group of friends and cling to them. There are so many clubs and activities that if one group doesn't click with you - you can find another.

Take the lead on making activities happen.

Everyone is new to college, so the playing field is pretty level. So many people are just looking for friends to help figure out the whole college-life thing. If you want to go to a movie, play a game, or join a club - do it. Invite others to join you, and I'm sure you'll get some takers.

Go to the free events.

Free hamburgers, pizza, hot dogs? Why wouldn't you take up that kind of offer? Throughout the year, there will be tons of events with giveaways ranging from shirts to sunglasses to bobbleheads, you name it. Get out and enjoy the free events - it's a very unique college experience. "Free" is a little harder to come by in the real world. You'll meet a lot of people if you're willing to put yourself out there, and you can get some free stuff.

Join a club or intramural sport.

In the beginning of the year, I would recommend attending the club fair. It's a great way to get a taste of all the different types of clubs offered at RIT. The time commitment ranges, so most people can find something that will fit their schedule.

Get a job on campus!

Working on campus is actually a great way to get to know people. I've had two jobs on campus, one in food services and one for the Undergraduate Admissions Office. You're not only working with other students from a variety of majors, but you also get to interact with tons of other people (depending on the job).


Making friends can be super awkward and stressful, especially in a completely new environment. You want a support network to help make the transition to college easier. You may have friends the first couple weeks and then an entirely new group a couple weeks later. That's totally fine. There may be a handful of people you stay in touch with from your orientation group. No pressure, eventually you will fall into the place you feel most comfortable - and that's where your real long-lasting friendships are formed. Good luck!