Quintessential Kenyon: Student Life, Uncut

How to Make Friends

Wilson Captein
October 8, 2014
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So, you’re a new student, you don’t know anyone, it’s big  (well, tiny in comparison to other colleges) and scary (well, people here will smile at you even if you throw hot coffee in their faces) and it seems like everyone else was in a Pre-Orientation program and for some reason they’ve all become best friends in a week. It’s a month into college, and you’re wondering how to meet people.

First step: Befriend your roommate. Hey, here is a person who, according to the weird magical matchmaking computer the Office of Housing and Residential Life undoubtedly uses, is pretty good friend material. But maybe you’re in a single room. Or maybe you hate your roommate and spend all your time huddled in a corner sending vicious glares in their general direction. If this sounds familiar, then you might need an extra push.

Here are some tips:

1. Leave your door open when you’re in your dorm. It can be weird because I guarantee you everyone who passes by will look inside your room for reasons unknown to both of you. But stick with it, because sometimes people will poke their heads in and say hi, and then you can ensnare them with offers of cookies or something, and they’ll practically be forced to talk to you.

2. Randomly introduce yourself to everyone you see. It can be weird, and it makes the walk down Middle Path take about 40 minutes, but it will help you get to know people.

3. Don’t sit by yourself at Peirce. Join happily conversing tables and shove your tray down next to their inhabitants. Grunt out your name and try to follow the conversation and make occasional clever interjections. They’ll love it.

4. Get to class early. Most first-years are terrified of being late to classes (as they should be), so they frequently arrive 10 minutes early. Get to your classes early and then use that 10 minutes of free time to talk to the people in your class.

5. Remember to empathize. When you’re a new student still acclimating to life at Kenyon, it’s important to remember that everyone around you is just as terrified, if not more terrified, than you are. The First-Year Quad is essentially a pit of terror, and that’s fantastic, because it means all of us have a common suffering over which we can bond. Talk to people about how scared you are of talking to people. Talk about how you miss your parents and loved ones. Talk about everything that makes you miserable. I guarantee you the person will be experiencing some, if not all, of your anxiety.

It can be scary to move into a completely new social scene, but if you force yourself to mingle, you will find your group.