How to Meet Your Neighbors

How to Meet New People in College

Going to college opens up a world of possibilities for meeting new people and making new friends who may come from very different backgrounds and cultures from your own. Figuring out how to meet new people in college doesn’t have to be overwhelming or intimidating. It can be quite fun if you approach meeting new people with an open mind. Shared interests, life experiences, and ideas are all grounding points, as are all the places you’ll visit regularly on campus or online.

Five Tips for Staying COVID Safe When You’re Meeting New People

The COVID pandemic has made it necessary to be more careful and creative in how to meet new people in college. Here’s a quick review of the general guidelines that will help you and others stay safe and healthy.

  1. Wear a mask in public places and when you’re in close proximity to others. If you’re using washable cloth masks, choose patterns, favorite sports teams, or those with printed messages that suit your personality or causes you care about – they’re great ice breakers. If you’re wearing disposable masks, remember to change them a couple of times a day or when you’re moving from one environment to the next.
  2. Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds using soap and water. Keeping your hands clean is a must for helping prevent the spread of germs. 
  3. Use hand sanitizer often, especially after touching different public surfaces like handrails, tables, desks, etc. As mom always said, “You don’t know where others have been”, so make it a habit to carry a small bottle of sanitizer in your pocket, purse, or backpack.
  4. Observe social distancing rules whenever possible. Stay at least 6 ft apart, both indoors and outdoors. While it seems unnatural, keeping a safe distance helps prevent the spread of the virus on campus.
  5. Avoid large gatherings in public places – especially when you’re inside. The virus favors gatherings. Just one person can infect many people in enclosed spaces due to ventilation issues. Keep your interactions outdoors with plenty of open space for social distancing. Better yet, opt for virtual events.

Five Great Ways to Meet New People in College

Now that you understand how to keep yourself and others safe, here are some fun ways to meet new people in college – you might even make some new friends!

  1. Say “Hello” to Your Neighbors – Simply saying “Hello” is a great way to meet your neighbors. It’s a good way to become more familiar with the people who are living around you, which can go a long way to making you feel more comfortable and secure in your new college home. They’re also quite good to know in case you need to borrow detergent or some other staple item you forgot. If you ever forget your keys and get locked out of your apartment, it’s good to know there are familiar, friendly faces nearby to help (even in a mask), and to be one of them for others, too.
  2. Resident Events – Most dorms and apartment communities have regular meet and greet mixer events at the beginning of each semester, as well as hosting special parties and dinners for those who can’t make it home over the holidays. While those events may not be happening in person right now, grab your phone and go follow your community Facebook or Instagram pages so you can get all the latest news, COVID updates, and other items of interest online. Check the bulletin board and notices in the common areas or stop by the office and ask someone what’s new for resident events, virtual, and socially-distanced gatherings. 
  3. Online Virtual Events – These types of events can range from meetings for community causes to guest speakers, game days, dance parties and karaoke nights. Take some time to explore the campus event calendar and mark the dates and times of things you’re interested in. Introvert or extrovert, any campus event has built in talking points for breaking the ice. For the chance to get to know your neighbors better, frame it as a group hangout opportunity and invite them to an online virtual event, such as a virtual movie night, exercise class, or DIY night.
  4. Campus Clubs and Organizations – From intramural sports and activities to informal classes and career events, there’s no doubt a club for it. You’ll be able to meet new people who are also focused on the same activities, topics, or causes that interest you, most often virtually. As a bonus, most clubs will be meeting regularly online, so you’ll be spending extended time with the group members, meaning there’s plenty of chances to form friendships.
  5. Classes – You and your classmates will be spending a lot of time together each week due to a shared interest, a similar major, or just the same obligation to get core credits out of the way. Chatting before and after class, especially lectures, is a great way to get to know new people, share notes or questions, or just bond over the latest TikTok. In-person classes that have labs or group projects present a lot of collaborative time working or even studying together, so staying COVID safe is even more important. Consider creating virtual class study groups so you can chat with classmates on a regular basis and in a comfortable setting.

Now that you see all the different people you’ll be meeting on a day-to-day basis both online and off, if you’re feeling shy or unsure, remember that you’re not alone. Everyone else is also seeing new faces, moving into new spaces, and facing new responsibilities. You already have a lot in common!