Let’s face it: making friends in college can be stressful, even for the most outgoing person. With so many people to meet, it can be hard to decide where to begin.
This academic year comes with an even more nuanced question: where (literally)do you make friends without being able to meet in person?
While it’s not an easy task, there are certainly ways to stay involved. Here are some suggestions that may help to expand your circles while enrolled in Zoom University.
1. Add yourself to an online class group.
Many schools nowadays have student-run Facebook groups or Instagram pages for members of the same intended graduation class to meet and mingle.
This can be a great platform to converse, find others that with similar interests and hobbies, and hear about any upcoming events and club meetings. Many of my friends found their current roommates and suitemates this way!
2. Join clubs.
It may seem complicated to join clubs at a time like this. However, many groups are trying their best to make their gatherings and events COVID-friendly. Just this semester, I have already been involved in an online play.
As I mentioned above, checking a class Facebook group or the school website may be helpful ways to start finding and exploring interesting clubs. Putting yourself into a collaborative environment is a great way to get to know your peers!
3. Talk to your classmates, even in breakout rooms.
Look, I already know what you’re thinking about this one.
Breakout rooms can sometimes feel awkward, but they can also be a great place to chat with and relate to other students. Chances are, many of your peers may be experiencing the same frustrations that you are.
Earlier this month, I met an upperclassman through an online group assignment, and we ended up exchanging numbers and social media handles to continue our conversation outside of the class.
With that being said, it can be easy to fall into a pit of silence when sitting in breakout rooms, so try your best to keep the conversation moving. Asking questions that require more than a yes or no answer is a great way to do this.
4. Attend office hours.
Often, you won’t be the only student attending a professor’s office hours. Not only will you be able to spend some time getting clarification on class materials, but you can also use the opportunity to chat with students taking the same class.
Also, connecting with your professors is never a bad idea because they are often experts in their field, and can be great resources and connections.
5. Trust that you’re not alone.
It’s undeniable that the current circumstances can leave you feeling isolated and rather alone. However, it’s important to remember that we’re all in this uncomfortable space together, and most students are struggling to make and maintain relationships. When you put yourself out there to talk, there is a good chance that someone will be grateful for your effort.
They often say that college is what you make it. While that’s still true, there is certainly a lot more effort that must be put into this ‘new normal’. But if you go the extra mile this semester, you’ll be sure to reap the reward of new friendships once we return to campus.