Finding friends at college: a how-to guide

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Alex Villari photo

Three Gardner Hall residents gather in the lobby for a game of “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” in the spring. From left are Matthew Doyle, a freshman computer science major from Enterprise; Zachary Smith, a freshman computer science major from Dothan; and Sam Ganguly, a freshman physics major from India.

 

Alex Villari

Lucas Sanabria was leaving a class on an average day in Troy when a classmate approached him. As an international student, she was interested in what’s popular in America and asked for Sanabria’s opinion. 

“When people ask for stuff like that, I’ll tell them things I’ve been enjoying, like some Netflix shows or movies,” said  Sanabria, an exercise science major from Atlanta who was a junior in the spring. “That’s a real simple way to talk to new people.”

Interacting with others can be easy, and there are plenty of places to start. 

The first step, and possibly the simplest, is talking to people in your classes and finding common ground. 

Asking about homework, offering to study together and exchanging phone numbers can open the door to further communication and friendships. 

Talk to people

Another way to meet people is to join a club or organization with those of similar interests. You can find much to talk about with them.

“I always relied on my roommate until I met this organization,” said Emma Miller, president of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) at Troy and a biomedical sciences major from Antioch, Illinois, who was a sophomore in the spring. “It opens a lot of doors and opportunities to meet new people and do great things.”

One popular organization to apply for is Freshman Forum. As an extension of Student Government Association, it allows freshmen to get involved in campus affairs and meet people at every turn. 

Applications will be available online at the beginning of IMPACT and will close soon after the beginning of classes, according to Barbara Patterson, director of student involvement. Make sure to visit the SGA and Freshman Forum tables during the browse session. 

Having new roommates can be scary the first time around, especially if you have to share close quarters. It can be difficult to gauge if you will be able to cooperate with a student who has a different lifestyle or habits from you. 

“They (new students) have their roommate’s name and their contact information,” said Sabrina Foster, coordinator of residence life at Troy. 

“Some students will take that opportunity to go ahead and email them or look them up on Facebook, kind of contact them prior. Some students will just wait and see what they get.”

Meet roommates

Foster recommends getting in contact with your future roommate(s) as soon as possible in order to learn more about them before settling in to your room situation. 

“The sooner you look at that information and get in contact with that person, the better. That way, you have a couple of months so you can go ahead and either talk to them by phone, Facebook, Twitter or however you want to communicate instead of just being shocked when they just walk in the door like, ‘Hi. Who are you?’ 

“So I think that would help a lot, just getting to know them with the information that they have prior to coming in.”

After making introductions, it’s best to try to get comfortable with your new roommate or roommates; talk about what makes you uncomfortable; and work together to keep peace.

“Definitely communicate,” Foster said. “I think the first couple days are honestly the most important because when you’re setting up your room, you should go ahead and communicate how you want your room set up. 

Plusses, minuses

“You know, you may want to bunk your beds; you may not. So sit down and just be like, ‘These are the plusses and minuses of doing this.’ ”

After business is taken care of, it’s a good idea to befriend your roommate(s). Find out things they like, and express interest in the things you have in common.

“It’s really all about getting out of your comfort zone and mustering up the courage to talk to them,” said Frederick Corbin, an art major from Dothan, Alabama, who was a sophomore in the spring. “Having something in common gives you something to talk about and avoids awkward silences.” 

Sudeep Neupane, a computer science major from Butwal, Nepal, who was a junior in the spring and was the resident assistant in Gardner Hall, gave more advice on ways students can greet new people and get comfortable with their surroundings.

“Talk to your RAs; we’re here to help you when you need it, so don’t keep things to yourself,” Neupane said. “Attend the events we hold in the dorms. There’s a student calendar, so you can keep track of that to know when events are.”

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