There is nothing like making new friends, exploring new environments, or doing exciting things you never thought you would ever have the chance to do. College is the place to do that and more. Navigating large universities like Penn State can be overwhelming and many students don’t know how to in a manner that is in their best interest. Here are my five #KeysToSuccess tips focusing on social success here at college!
This may be one of the best things you could do socially for yourself in college. Not only does getting involved on campus help you meet new people but it also enhances your resume once you leave college. Get involved in clubs and organizations that you are genuinely interested in and that is fun for you. You meet new people who have at least 1 interest in common since you are both in the same club. I have met many great people who have become my friends through involvement on and off campus. Lastly you never know, you could end up running the organization which is a big achievement of any college student.
We have all heard the usual “once I get to college I will party and party hard!” As a student at an institution deemed a “party school” I can tell you right now I have made no lasting friends at a party. The myth that a good way to make friends are at parties is what it is, A MYTH. I have found that most times I go with people I already know, party with people I already know, then leave with people I already know.So in all honesty you do not in any means need to feel obligated to party to make new friends. There are tons of things to do on and off campus that may be even more fun than a hot, congested, and not so glamorous party. I can guarantee you that any other activity is a lot safer, smarter, and 100% legal as well!
Oh the dreaded small talk, we all have to do it at some point in our lives. Whether its with an adult or our peers small talk can be a pain but it must be done to basically “break the ice”. Here are a few pointers for talking with someone new:
- Be Yourself: This new person you are talking to isn’t your boss nor are you in an interview. There is no need to present yourself as someone you’re not because then you set yourself up in all the wrong ways.Be true to yourself no matter who you are meeting with for the first time.
- Remember the person’s name: This could make or break a conversation especially if you are in the middle or towards the end of the conversation and need to ask for their name a second or third time and this could make things a little awkward. A few good techniques are to repeat their name in conversation, repeat their name in your head several times, or if they have a unique name either ask for them to repeat it or spell it then go back to steps one and two. Getting someone’s name correct is not only important for future conversations but to the person carrying the name as well.
- Explain your answer: We all hated explaining our answers when we do assignments because it involves details, reasoning, and EFFORT. In conversation explaining your answer keeps conversations alive and interesting. For example if someone were to ask you the common college question of “what is your major” PLEASE do not just say the major and restate the question for the person to respond. Explain what lead you to choose your major, what are you planning to do with your major etc. Explaining could lead to other talking points later in the conversation or future conversations.
- Be a listener: You need two to tango in a conversation and most people love to talk about what they do and who they are. Ask questions that may also need explaining and if not ask follow up questions that lead to a better conversation. For example if you asked where they are from a follow up question could be what is there to do there? or what are some of their favorite memories there? Anything that prompts interesting and exciting conversation is fair game just don’t be inappropriate.
Having room at your table means more than just making room for someone new. It means making room for someone different. We all have the tendency to be with people like us with the same ideas, likes, dislikes, and even looks. It is human nature to stick with what we know and what is comfortable. Having this mindset can limit your experience in college when it comes to interaction. In college you can meet someone from all over the world especially at a large university such as Penn State. You can learn something new about a country, culture, and language. Inclusion of all types of people is what makes for the best social circles and community as a whole. So join and include people who are different than you so you can each share your different stories together.
Often we forget to share contact information with each other. Even in such a connected world we often stumble upon a person in our recommended list on Facebook rather than just asking/giving information from the beginning. If the conversation went well and you feel comfortable sharing contact information go for it! Friendships aren’t built from a single conversation, they are made from a series of conversations whether in person, on the phone, or through social media the conversation after the conversation is a #keytosuccess. Especially at a large university you may never run into that person again unless the effort is made from both parties to meet again. It does not have to be your phone number which could give the impression of other intentions. You could give/ask Facebook, Kik, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or anything other than your number which is one of the beauties of social media! I found this to be essential if you want to make new friends and it is way more efficient than waiting to run into the person again on campus.
College is the best time to meet new people from all over that otherwise you would never come in contact with. Funny thing is we all have at least up to four things in common we are at the same university, we are students, we want to be successful in what we do, and we all have a unique story to tell. Now that I have given you the tools to be #successful go out, meet new people, and have fun so that once you are out of college you have a new piece to your story to tell about someone you met who may have become your best friend!
#We Are…Penn State!!
Header Photo Credit: tech crunch