Having Trouble Adjusting to College/Making friends? Top 10 things to do (Covid Update, Fall '20)

This time of year we see many posts about how they are having a hard time adjusting because they don’t have any friends. With all of these, obviously try to do them with your roommate as well. But if that is not working out, then…

  1. During Orientation, go to as many activities as you can. Ask people in your hall way if they are going. Introduce yourself…they are looking for friends too. “Hey, I am Pat…what are you majoring in?”

  2. Go to the Activities Fair and sign up for a bunch of clubs that are of interest. They may not all pan out, but don’t eliminate anything yet. If you are into music/D&D/running/church/whatever, you can find other people who are interested too. Service clubs are great because you spend time working together.

  3. Talk to the people on your floor…Get some cookies and offer them “Hey I have cookies, anyone want some?” and then strike up a conversation about where they are from, what they are majoring in, etc. People like to talk about themselves…let them. Don’t make it too long…move on to others.

  4. At dinner time, ask your roommate/people on your hall if they are going to dining hall. Go with them. See if people in your dorm generally sit in the same area… Join them.

  5. Go to any dorm activities your RA has set up. If you are still having issues, talk to your RA. See if they have ideas. If not suggest that they have one. Maybe a movie and pizza?

  6. Join your dorm’s intramural (or any intramural) team.

  7. Talk to others in your classes…exchange numbers so that if either of you miss you can exchange notes… Ask what someone got on a homework question (that you did too)…once you get to know them, ask if they want to form a study group.

  8. If this isn’t working, go to the Counseling Center…they are ready to help freshman this time of year. Don’t think you are a loser because you have to go…this is something you pay for! Get the benefit! You may need to learn some new social skills. They may also have group talks on Homesickness or fitting in.

  9. Go to ongoing campus activities…concerts/movies/lectures/parties. Invite someone/group of people or just sign up and meet people for activities that might be off campus.

  10. See if your dorm/floor has a GroupMe Group set up…otherwise suggest to someone who is extraverted that it might be a good idea. Then people can send a group text that they are showing a movie in the lounge or are baking cupcakes in the kitchen.

You may notice that all of these things take some action…they are not passive. You have to take initiative. But the risk is small…if someone says no, then just say “Maybe another time”.

**MODERATOR NOTE FOR FALL 2020: For additional suggestions to meet people during the pandemic, please check out this post. https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-life/2195006-how-to-meet-people-on-campus-during-covid-p1.html?new=1

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Another concern: How do commuter students form relationships on campus? Much advice above works, but some is different for commuters.

For Commuters: .

  1. During Orientation, go to as many activities as you can. Talk to people and for those you like, ask them what activities they are going to tomorrow/or are they going to the ABC activity.

  2. Go to the Activities/CLub Fair and sign up for a bunch of clubs that are of interest. They may not all pan out, but don’t eliminate anything yet. If you are into music/D&D/running/church/whatever, you can find other people who are interested too. Service clubs are great because you spend time working together.

  3. Join the Commuters Club. Go to the Commuter Lounge and talk to people.

  4. At lunch time, ask people in your next to lunch time class if they are grabbing some lunch.

  5. Adopt a dorm. Maybe some of your friends live in a particular dorm. Hang out with them some nights.

  6. Join an intramural team. Sometimes you can just sign up as a single.

  7. Talk to others in your classes…exchange numbers so that if either of you miss you can exchange notes… Ask what someone got on a homework question (that you did too)…once you get to know them, ask if they want to form a study group.

  8. If this isn’t working, go to the Counseling Center…they are ready to help freshman this time of year. Don’t think you are a loser because you have to go…this is something you pay for! Get the benefit! You may need to learn some new social skills. They may also have group talks on Homesickness or fitting in.

  9. Go to ongoing campus activities…concerts/movies/lectures/sporting events/parties. Invite someone/group of people or just sign up and meet people for activities that might be off campus.

  10. Get an on campus job. This will give you something to do during the day in between classes so you are on campus more. It will also help you get engaged into the campus.

You may notice that all of these things take some action…they are not passive. You have to take initiative. But the risk is small…if someone says no, then just say “Maybe another time”.

11 If you click with someone, trade phone numbers so you can text with them. My kids say 90% of their communications on meeting for meals, to study, etc are via text. Their friends at larger schools say it helps when you meet people you might not run into again by chance. Then use it a day or two later to see if they want to do something.

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For commuters: go to the commuter lounge and attend the commuter events. I guarantee the school holds them, I guarantee they will be awkward, but do it anyway. :slight_smile:

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Getting an on campus job is good advice for students who live on campus as well. I met some of my best and longest-lasting friends in college through work, and since students often keep the same schedule during the semester, it’s a great way to be in contact with the same students regularly throughout the term. Jobs where you will work with other students regularly is the best for this–something like working in the library, in the dining hall, or in the student center may work well.

Also if you belong to a religion, attending religious activities with others is also good.

Bumping for next semester

anything for community college students? the commuter advice doesn’t really apply to us…it seems more geared toward 4 year university commuters… for example we dont have orientation events or commuter lounges or activities or stuff like that.

For Community College:

  1. See if your CC has a "First Year Experience’ or some kind of program to orient you to the CC.

  2. Look at your CC’s “Student Life and Activities” or similar page… find out about campus activities.
    Attend live music, visiting writers, traveling exhibits or whatever interests you…maybe you will find people of a like mind.

  3. Your CC has clubs…sign up for a few…then see which ones you click with.

  4. Join the Student Life Board if you like influence activities on campus.

  5. Join Community Service Groups

  6. There may be lounges or game rooms on your campus…google it…if you keep going back you will start to recognize people.

  7. Make study groups with people in your class…or just exchange contact info with people so you can talk with each other about homework or share notes when someone misses class

  8. Ask someone in your class if they want to get lunch after

  9. Does your CC have intramural/club sports teams?

  10. Get an on campus job…you will meet people there.

Really, get involved any way you can with life on campus that interests you…there will be other people with that same interest.

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This really should be stickied as this is relevant and extremely helpful info for everyone going into college! Much thanks and appreciation for this post!

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If you are a commuter student your parents hopefully will not expect you home for dinner each night at 6 PM. Many campus activities are in the evening.

Someone posted last year that she had an issue with this and her family.

@bopper
As someone who was a freshman last year, I’m willing to admit that most of this stuff really didn’t work for me. Not even counseling. Sorry to say that, but it’s how I felt during the year, especially in the spring semester.

@wizman631 Thanks for the feedback. Can you share what you tried specifically for these items? Did anything else work?

As an incoming sophomore, I’d like to shed some truth to this thread… This advice will only work if you are TALL AND WHITE… It’s called context of reception. If you’re an Indian midget going around your floor with cookies in your hand 3 weeks into the school year introducing yourself, people are gonna think you have a syndrome. I really don’t wanna see people fooling themselves by listening to this. If you don’t think the above advice fits you, here is my advice to you:

  1. try and find a passion… Not solely for the purpose of trying to find friends but to keep yourself busy. If you find a passion whether it be studying a particular subject in your classes or a hobby, you won’t be so bored… Plus you might even get some friends out of this

  2. this might be a bit controversial, but when I was lonely or needed someone to talk to, I went to Christian services on campus. The folks there are very kind and some of the older students offer emotional support or try to hang out with you on some nights and ask how things are going… I’m not a Christian and I’m not trying to endorse the religion but I just found these fellowship groups helpful.

  3. if lacking confidence is a problem talk to your professors… Come up with good questions and go to office hours and talk to them… If you’re in a busy class in a big school, do this with your TA’s. If our talk goes poorly you’ll prolly not see them e ever again so it’s not much to be embarrassed about.

  4. Lastly, just be yourself… A bit corny but important… First 2 weeks of college everyone wants to get off to a new start and try to act like someone they’re not… Everyone will eventually revert to their normal selves … If you want friends, like people attract each other… This won’t work if you’re the quiet, studious type cause people like you wouldn’t be the most outgoing but I’d rather not have a friend than hangout with someone I hate…

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@bopper

  1. I met someone during orientation. We talked and everything and despite seeming different, I could talk like I talk to no one else. We haven’t seen each other since and we drifted off.

  2. I went to the Student Activities Fair in September and signed up for two or three clubs (I tried all three but ultimately kept one, if you don’t count Honors Club which I was mandated to attend as a freshman in the Honors Program at my school). They didn’t do much for me though (clubs in general have not).

  3. I was almost nothing alike to those on my floor. I was quiet, studious, socially awkward, and don’t do drugs or drink while most of the others were loud, social butterflies, partiers, and drinkers.

  4. This happened once in a while but not very often since I was essentially an outcast. I often sat by myself at the dining hall because I had no one else to talk to and when I did sit with others, I usually felt out of place (or sat with someone who wasn’t very talkative so I almost might as well have been alone).

  5. I’m going to skip this one because I can’t come up with an appropriate response.

  6. I would be the laughingstock of the school if I seriously went out for athletics of any kind, or at the least be scarred from embarrassment.

  7. I actually exchanged two or three numbers this year and that ultimately did come in handy.

  8. I actually went to Individual Counseling Sessions at the center for Counseling and Psychological Services because by February I never felt more sad and miserable due to having an inescapably large workload and being a social outcast/loser. All of the sessions (ten of them) were in the spring. It didn’t too much for me, though.

  9. I’m not into large social gatherings. When I do end up going, I suffer from social anxiety (due to having ASD) and it usually backfires since everyone seems perfectly content with their conversations as they are and I’m essentially left out in the cold.

  10. What the heck is GroupMe?

Groupme is a texting platform for groups. For example, my DD’s dorm floor used it to communicate with people on their floor…My DD organized a movie night that way.

  1. What about intramural dorm teams?

You may be an extreme case…are you being treated for social anxiety?