Unofficial Orientation Series: How To Make Friends

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Now that you’ve settled into your rooms, orientation is over and classes are about to begin, it’s almost time for the big leagues: what has been known for generations at Wesleyan as the FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL… or to majority of America as Labor Day.

I’m here to share generations two full years of knowledge (or lack thereof ) with you as a guide to one of the most important aspects of your college career. Of course, this doesn’t mean that I’m completely all-knowing on the subject matter (psssssh, just ask my friends), but I think my new upperclassmen status does help a bit….(not).

This list not only applies to those who are new on campus, but seriously to anyone and everyone who is looking to make new friends. Though it might seem as if there is a point when everyone has found everyone on campus they want to be friends with, I can assure you this point doesn’t exist and by listening to my advice I think you’ll agree. Let us begin shall we, in no particular order…

1.    Leave your door open

When you’re in your room and you feel like being social (especially in all freshmen dorms), leaving your door open effortlessly increases the chances of meeting new people in your building, more importantly your hallmates. It sort of acts like an open invitation to passersby to say “hi.” Like many people at Wes, most of my closest friends actually lived in my freshman year hallway. If it wasn’t for all of those nights shouting to each other from across the hallway, or running from room to room, I probably wouldn’t be as close to them today.

2.    Go to Usdan

Usdan is by far the most social eating space on campus. It’s almost always crowded during meal time so it’s easy to bump into people and have simple, yet lasting conversation. There’s a good chance you might be on the sandwich line with that cool kid with the glasses from film class – what better way to get to know each other than to start a conversation over whether you should go for the wrap or the roll?!? As a side note – it’s also important to make friends with the Usdan workers and cooks. Besides the fact that they’re nice people in general, they might just save you an extra bowl of apple crisp on Friday (can someone seriously please do this for me?!)

3.    Smile and wave 

For some reason, people find it easier to look at the ground or pretend to be on their phones while awkwardly walking past each other. This is a small campus; even though you won’t meet everyone, you’ll definitely start to notice a lot of the same faces once you form a routine. Be friendly! Say hi! Smile as you pass! It’s not weird, trust me. I do it all the time and I haven’t been rejected yet. You never know who you will meet on your way  to class. You could pass some good vibes to a barista who is bound to give you extra whipped cream on your smoothie.

4.    Wear a conversation

This is something that my parents have always engrained into my head, and even though it sounds a bit poetic, I actually mean it quite literally. Ever see someone wearing something so different or bizarre that even though you’ve never spoken to the person, you were drawn to them like a moth to a flame to find out more about that whatchamacallit? I’ll admit, it could be hard to find something that has that level of wackiness on THIS campus, but even wearing a new necklace could spark conversation with the person sitting next to you in class who might not otherwise have a reason to speak to you.

5.    Have lots of snacks (and be willing to share)

There’s a reason why the most packed events on campus are those that offer free food. Now, I’m not saying that you should bribe your friends with the kale chips your mom made, but offering people snacks gives  you something to bond over as you savor the last bits of mom’s cooking.

6.    Get involved & Get Out!

There are SO many clubs, teams, and societies on campus that it’s pretty hard not to be involved in some capacity. Being active on campus gives you an instant network of people that you share interests with. Second to the people who you live with/around I’d say this is the best outlet to meet some really cool people. Many groups on campus also host lots of pre-games, outings and formals for its members, increasing the chances of friend-making even more.

7. Don’t be afraid of upperclassmen.

Although it might be scary at first, there is absolutely no reason why you should be intimidated by someone by the simple fact that they are a year older than you (or two or three or four). There’s a common misconception that the upperclassmen have it all together and we’re all just so cool. We are, but that’s only because we’re a little more experienced when it comes to hiding all of the uncool parts. Unlike high school (well, my high school) which is often harshly divided socially by class year – Wesleyan is an entirely different ball game. This might be surprising, but we want to be friends with YOU.  We were freshmen once and therefore love giving out advice on the things we wish we’d known back in the day. Not only that, but we’d love to hang out with you as an excuse to get sloppy at a Beta Rave.

8.    Go out on the weekends

There are so many things to do on the weekends. Whether it’s going to a party, into town, seeing a play, or just hanging out in a friend’s room, it really doesn’t matter what you do as long as you’re having fun (duh). The first couple of weekends especially is the prime opportunity to put in effort to meet others who are not in your dorm/class/club, especially since our workloads are still relatively light.

9.    Be up on your WeStuff

If you don’t recognize the following acronyms/names, you have some soul/Wesleying searching to do: HIMYM, MGMT, PCU, LE1F, WESY…. Most of these are real but one of them I made up. The point is to keep yourself in the loop with things going on in, around, and concerning campus. If you can’t ‘wear a conversation,’ at least you’ll instantly have something to talk about with any WesKid you meet.

10.  Be yourself

This one is just so cliche that it’s hard to elaborate without more cliches. It’s always more important to stay true to yourself than to attempt to gain acceptance by being something you’re not. It’s never worth it.

When it comes down to it, it’s really all about putting yourself out there to meet as many people as you can. There’s seriously no such thing as having too many friends. So get excited prefrosh, freshman, freshpeeps, class of 2017, Wesleyan because this is going to be an awesome freaking year!

I’ll be smiling and waving (at least for the next couple of weeks) and I hope you will be too.