College campus and your social life
Going to college may seem very exciting and motivating at first. But when you reach there and find all the new faces around you, the anticipation slowly changes to insecurity and anxiety. The friends you have grown up with at school are not there anymore to support you and you have to start from base one again. College life is so different from school life that at first, you are clueless about the ways of building up your social circle again or get invited to join one that already exists. Here are a few pointers on how you can get ahead of the other new entrants and improve your social life in college.
Most students look forward to an exciting and happy social life in college. After all, this is where you are free from the more stringent rules of high school education. This is also the time where you would need strong and supportive friends to guide you through the rough and tough of college life: the times when having a helping hand is better than being a lone ranger.
So, what if you happen to be a shy person, an introvert? You would, no doubt, be rattled by numerous fears of how to cross the bridge of socialization! But, if you read on, you will find that there are simple ways by which you can conquer your fears and make friends.
Join a group
Take the initiative to check out the list of extracurricular activity groups and other interest groups operating on the campus. Find one which is of interest to you. You can join and take part. You would usually find people with the same interests gravitating together. This is a great way of finding people of common interests. Once you get in, you can build up a friends’ circle from amongst the members and slowly add others outside the group for whom you have some affinity.
Get out of yourself. Stop regretting and missing your old friends. Look around you. It is more exciting to get to know new people than moving about with your old friends who are predictable and easy to get along with. Unless you make proper use of this opportunity to come out of your comfort zone, you will be stuck in your lonely, dull life. It takes time, it takes effort, but if you put your mind to it, you can do it straight away. Sometimes, it is our fears which hinder us from making that first move: the fears that arise from our lack of self-confidence. So, just take a deep breath, focus, and step out into your new world. Smile, say hello, introduce yourself to that new, interesting person, from next door. It is all in the mind. Keep your eyes and ears open. Be aware of anything interesting that is happening in the neighborhood- if you find anything appealing, join the fun and soon you will find yourself getting acquainted with like-minded people and settling in.
You may be shy and fond of your privacy but keeping a “keep out” sign outside your door, is not going to help your aim of having friends. You can be welcoming, without forcing yourself to be gregarious. Just let your space be open for people to come in. Be comfortable with yourself and show that you can be comfortable with others. Being social is not just about talking a lot; it can also mean to be a good listener.
If you are wondering how to start a conversation, place some things that interest you around in your room – may be posters, sports equipment, knick-knacks, your collections (stamps, music, shells…). These will break the silence and act as conversation starters. Once the interest is created, it is just another step to an acquaintance and then maybe, friendships. Some food and drinks could also warm up the atmosphere.
One good way of getting to know friends is to help someone. If you see someone who needs your assistance, you can offer your services in a non-intrusive way that would be appreciated. It can be as simple as offering some directions or helping with some administrative stuff or getting some medical help. Even a small gesture can go a long way. Sometimes the other way helps too. When you are in need of something – maybe some help with your assignment, you could ask a person, who you observe to be good on the subject. Asking pertinent questions and appreciating the help can become the basis for getting to that person better.
Take up a part-time job
A part-time job can be a great way of making friends- especially if you are helping out at a restaurant or bar. These are the places frequented by many of the students in their spare time; more importantly, the fun and relaxed atmosphere can help people engage with each other, without the usual social restrictions. In addition, you are also achieving two goals at one go- making friends and earning extra cash.
Other activities that can help you increase your social circle
The college and its surroundings provide the scope for a large area of interests and pursuits. You may have some experience already from school in these or similar areas. Put them to good use in college and see your world grow. Tutoring, internships, volunteering to help with the arrangements for a college activity or outing, showcasing your talents in any art, craft, or such activities, participating in competitions, taking part in debates, news gathering and editing, are all activities that provide a huge opportunity for increasing your friend’s circle and also to mark your place in the college society.
You will soon see your circle grow larger. But be wary: all that freedom and lax regulations, and heavy partying could distract you away from your original purpose of getting a degree. Keeping that aim always in view will also attract other students on the same wavelength. Thus, you can get the best of both worlds at the same time: studies and socialize.