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Struggling to Make Friends at College? Don't Panic

When you first get to college, everyone is in the same boat. Most people don’t know each other, or only have a few friends from high school. This is great because it encourages everyone to get out there and start chatting to other people. The only downside is that for some of us, making friends takes a little longer.

If you have reached the end of your first semester and you still aren’t sure whether you have made any good friends yet, please don’t panic. For the most part, the people we meet in the first couple of weeks won’t be lifelong buddies but they might just introduce us to the ones who will be.

While acing your finals might be a top priority, don’t let your studies become an excuse for a lacking social life. College is about making friends and with these simple tips, you can do it all!

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Get Out There!

The first rule of making new friends is that you need to be in the vicinity of other people. You aren’t going to meet someone new sitting in your dorm all alone! Joining clubs, going to games and chatting to the people around you every day. It can be hard work sometimes but the more you learn about talking to strangers, the more you will realize that your anxiety can be overcome.

At college, you have a unique opportunity because it is likely that you will be surrounded by lots of people who are all your age. Student spotting is pretty easy when you start looking - especially when everyone has all bought their supplies at the Penn state store!

Be Open Minded

Making new friends is made 10 times harder when you are on the lookout for particular people. At high school, there might have been a social hierarchy of sorts but now there are far too many people to organize into such a system. This means that you are all freestyling and finally the gamers can talk to the divas without breaking too much of a sweat. Ideally speaking.

The best thing about college is that you get to meet lots of different people. Give them room to be themselves around you and they will give you the same courtesy - or you will know not to bother with them again! Saying yes to group activities even when you aren’t sure about the people involved can be a great way to make some incredible friends.

Self-Confidence is Key

We all tend to gravitate towards people who have self-confidence. They seem to be able to effortlessly talk to everyone and know just what to say in every situation. The thing is, this is only part of their superpower. What is really going on? They have practiced, learned from social faux pas and continued to put themselves out there without too much worry.

Smiling is infectious and your body language is a lot louder than you think. Hold yourself up, use eye contact and try not to cross your arms or turn away. Giving someone your full attention is a great compliment and will do you a lot of favors!

Making friends takes time but the more confident you are and the more frequently you meet new people, the more likely it is to happen soon. Good luck!


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Hey there! My name is Rachael and I have been a private tutor for over 10 years. I earned my undergraduate degree in 2 and a half years and earned my graduate degree by age 22. I have tutored dozens of high school students, college students, and graduate students. I offer my resources and experience to help parents learn how to best help their teen or child that is struggling in school.