Monday, August 25, 2008
How to Make Friends at University
If there is one thing to be sure about when moving away from your now hometown to university it is that you are going to meet new people and lots of them. Some will be your roommates, some your classmates, and most will eventually become your friends. There are a few tips that Nipissing University may have told you about meeting others, such as:
- everyone is a stranger, but you’ll make friends
- roommates are hand selected to live with each other (hopefully you filled out that form for residence yourself and not your Mother)
- there are lots of activities to take part in
However, there are some lessons that you were not told about in all those mail outs that you have received. The learning begins now, grasshopper.
Here is how a typical conversation between university strangers will go:
Person A: Hi, I’m Person A, what’s your name?
Person B: I’m Person B. What are you studying here?
A: I major in the Bioethical Chemical Physics program with a minor in Nerd.
B: Cool, I take History. Where you from?
A: I’m from Wyoming… Ontario, not the United States. It is close to Sarnia.
B: Neat. What year are you in?
Now, this moment in the conversation is key. You must avoid awkward silences like the plague and at all costs.
The key to meeting and remembering new people is to get to know them more than the basics in the first two minutes. This means getting to know the person beyond the conversation above by doing things such as drawing connections to others, e.g. “Oh, Wyoming! My roommate is from Sarnia. Maybe you guys/gals know each other.”
It is also helpful to repeat the person’s name to yourself numerous times while studying their facial features. This way you can easily recognize someone and recall his/her name based on facial recognition. Be sure to use the person’s name in conversation. E.g. “So Person B, you’re taking history. Why did you decide to take History, Person B?”
This question leads me to my final point: ask the person “why” questions to learn more information about him/her. Ask why they chose to study something, why they chose Nipissing, why they live in a particular residence, or why they dyed their hair a particular colour. But, don’t ask stupid why questions such as “Why did your parents name you Svetlana?” (refer to awkward silence above). These questions help to generate conversation and ensure that you are not doing all of the talking yourself.
Hopefully these suggestions will help you make friends at university this year (so that your Mom doesn’t do it for you).