Hannah Wade / The Daily Gamecock

Opinion: How to make friends on campus

For a little while after I first came to USC, I felt very alone. Even though I had a roommate and so many others surrounding me, it still felt like I didn’t have anyone close to talk to. It can be hard to form friendships in your first year of college, especially if you have moved far away from home. Now that I am going into my senior year, I can safely say that it might seem hard, but it is actually quite easy to find people who you can relate to and build strong friendships with.

The first people you are introduced to when you come to USC are your roommates and those nearby in your residence hall. Dorms are “filled with other college freshmen going through similar experiences, eager to make friends."

Often, dorms will hold regular events in order to give you a chance to meet those who are living around you. You’ll be surprised to see other students are feeling the exact same as you, missing home and their friends, and that is something relatable which gives you a chance to get to know each other better. I still regularly talk to a few people I met in my freshman dorm, and they remain some of my closest friends.

Joining clubs and organizations can increase your chances of finding people who enjoy the same things as you. This can make it easier to start friendships as you will already have some common ground. You can “check out what kinds of clubs, groups, sports teams, and volunteer opportunities are available” without too much difficulty. It does not have to be limited to clubs, you can join whatever you please, and if you cannot find anything, you can also start your own club.

If joining organizations seems to be putting too much on your plate, getting to know those in your classes is vital. While in your first year, you will most likely have large classes with hundreds of students, but those few smaller classes can make it easy to talk to those sitting near you. I met a lot of people in my freshman English courses as there were usually no more than 30 students.

Being on a large campus can seem daunting and make you feel like just another face in the crowd. The best thing to do is find areas with fewer people, which will give you the chance to grab the attention of those around you. This can include the gym, the hall before class begins or even getting an on-campus job. 

You can easily strike up a conversation with others before class or even during discussions in class. You can ask about the homework, about the class in general, other students' majors and more. I would often bring up my interests randomly in conversation with classmates, slipping in my interests, such as “Doctor Who,” “Star Wars” and gaming. You would be surprised how many people enjoyed the same things I did. If others don’t know about the things you enjoy, it also gives you the chance to expose them to new things, and they can do the same for you.

The best thing to remember is that true friendships will often happen organically, so don’t worry too much about finding friends immediately. You will find people eventually, even if it takes longer than you would like. Making sure you get involved and meet people who have similar interests to you will help greatly and these friendships will be real, allowing you to form strong connections.

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