A Freshman’s Guide to Making and Keeping Friends


New school, new city, new people… It all can be very overwhelming and hard to approach. At first, it may seem difficult to form real connections or find common ground with others. BUT DON’T FEAR!

Although it may seem intimidating, making friends is possible for anyone! Coming to a brand new city alone can be hard and people think that making friends is even harder. But creating friends and branching out is easier than you may think. Creating connections in college benefits you in many ways than one. There are many studies that show how having friendships can lower blood pressure and stress levels. Also, having relationships can help you cope better with trauma, low self-esteem, and even increase your lifespan. Who wouldn’t want to make friends if these are the positive outcomes?

Here are some pro tips to help you meet your besties for life:

1.) Always value quality over quantity.

We get it, this sounds cliché. But solid, trustworthy, and real relationships are more important than just friendly faces. Make sure to create bonds with a few close friends rather than your entire freshman class. Having a couple companions that you know will have your back during good and bad times will help you adjust to your first year of college.

2.) Put yourself out there.

Joining clubs and teams are great ways to find common ground and similar passions with others. Go to the activity fair at the beginning of the school year to get your foot in the door on campus and establish networks. Also, consider rushing a fraternity or sorority to find friends that share the same values. There are so many ways to meet fellow hawks!

3.) Do not judge a book by its cover.

At times, people tend to look at someone’s appearance and eliminate them as a potential friend due to stylistic differences. Just because someone likes punk rock, dresses preppy, or acts differently than you does not mean they cannot be a fantastic person and friend. In fact, often times opposites attract! By surrounding yourself with different people, you are opening the doors to experiencing new things. Branch out and meet new people!

4.) Hang out with new people, but do not be invasive.

Sometimes people need space. This is college, and the fast-paced environment sometimes causes stress. Everyone handles stress differently, therefore let people breathe. You might notice a group of friends hanging out in a dorm or having a study session. Stopping by to say “hi” is great, however, inviting yourself to every occasion may be a little overbearing. Feel out the situation and if it seems as though a person needs a break, give them space. This does not mean they don’t like you! Everyone just needs time to unwind.

5.) Remember that finding “your people” takes time!

As sad as it may seem, most of the time your orientation buds will not stick for the next four years. As you find your path, it is likely to connect with people who share similar values and goals. Finding your niche can take a semester or two, so be open to change! Having real quality friendships trumps trying to hold onto people who are fading from your life. 

Some great places to make friends at SJU are:

  • Campion Dinning Hall
  • Wolfington campus ministry
  • Sporting events at Sweeney Field
  • Post Learning Commons & Drexel Library
  • Common rooms on your hall

Be sure to have fun! Freshman year is about creating new memories and trying new things. Give academics your best effort, but don’t forget about your buddies!




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