How can I meet new people and make friends freshman year of college?

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Answered by: Kelsey, An Expert in the Surviving Your First Year Category
There is nothing like your freshman year of college. Unless you're attending a college right next to your parents' house, odds are you have more new found freedom than you know what to do with. You no longer have to check in with your parents, you (probably) don't have a curfew, and it's now up to YOU to dictate how you're going to be spending all of your time. But you should choose the people you spend all of that time with very wisely, because it can really affect your college experience. If you want to make friends freshman year, I have three recommendations.

1. Go to events that are offered the first few weeks of school. Often different organizations and departments within the university will be bombarding you with all sorts of events boasting "FREE PIZZA" or some other type of sustenance available at no cost to you. (Take advantage of this. Free food stops after college.) There will be plenty of other freshmen there who are looking to make friends just like you are, so don't be afraid to strike up a conversation with them. Ask about their classes, majors, hometowns, etc. You'll find more common ground than you think.

2. Attend a few rush events for Greek Life. If you're into it, consider joining an fraternity or sorority. Contrary to the stereotype, Greek Life is not about "buying" your friends. It's about community service, sister/brotherhood, and common values. It's also a quick and really fun way to make friends freshman year because odds are, you'll find one chapter whose members and values you connect to most. You'll join already having a lot of important things in common!

3. Wander over to the Activities Fair, or whatever poorly worded version your college calls this gathering of extracurricular groups. There are so many more kinds of clubs and organizations in college, most started by the students themselves. You want a group to play Magic: The Gathering with? You can probably find it there. Want to hone your juggling skills? Luckily, there's a booth in the next row where you can sign up to do just that. The function of this "Activities Fair" is to help you find like minded people who have the same interests as you (i.e. friends). Don't be shy about finding something you enjoy. If you want to do marching band, the school's improvisation troupe, intramurals for soccer...anything. It'll enrich your college experience and give you something to do when you can't look at your physics homework for one more second.

Bottom line, you'll make friends freshman year. You really will make friends for life during your college years, so be choosy. Surround yourself with people who will encourage and challenge you, and who will foster a successful college experience. You have the next four years of your life to learn a lot of things both in and out of the classroom, and the friends you make will influence that more than you know. Good luck, freshmen.

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