Looking to make friends?
Joining a student organization is a great way to meet new people! In the College of Engineering, there are a lot of opportunities available for you to get involved.
New year, new semester, new opportunity to make friends.
As leaves turn golden, so does your chance to rediscover passions and values. However, an unconventional setting such as academics can also serve as a barrier if you find yourself in a widely unfamiliar environment while renavigating social relationships.
This post aims to share some tips and tricks that worked for me as someone who’s moved around. I hope it does you some good too.
Simple Beginnings (hint: making them slightly complicated)
First and foremost, connections are usually started with the exchange of pleasantries.
While these can be your standard “Hey!” or “Excuse me!”, I’ve found it helpful to ask an active question, that is, something that elicits an extended response such as, “Have I seen you around before?” or “Do you know what we’re supposed to know for the next quiz?”.
While these can also face lukewarm responses, if the other party has intentions to talk, these questions are a great way to jumpstart a relationship. They help let the other party know you’re interested in having a conversation.
A unique thing about the engineering discipline here is the ability to bring up relevant events; no matter what class year, Entry to a Major (ETAM) is a great topic of interest. Relating about how daunting the ETAM program is, the struggles and challenges of it, as well as individual opinions on opportunities presented in engineering (career fairs, internships, etc.), can be common ground for conversation.
Factors that breathe life into the words you exchange with others can easily help pass the time as you wait for the lecture to begin. The most essential thing in all of this is to be confident in yourself and take small talk as an opportunity to experiment.
There will be times when it’s easy to approach others, and others when it won’t. It’s about the efforts you put in; one day it will pay off.