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How To Make Friends In College

Contrary to popular belief, Bwog staffers actually lead rich and fulfilling social lives.

Look, everyone who’s ever watched a movie knows that college can be a deeply lonely time in a young person’s life. (I haven’t seen The Graduate but I’ve spent most of my life assuming it’s about the existential ennui of growing up and facing a lifetime of student loan payments and I’m not going to change that any time soon.) Columbia can exacerbate that loneliness by virtue of being a school where “stress culture” is all but a selling point. It’s not uncommon to read a Senior Wisdom and see graduating Barnumbia students bemoan that they should have made more time for people that mattered instead of partying/studying/any other distraction of choice. Friends are perhaps the most vital ingredient to a successful college experience, from the support they’ll provide to the memories you’ll make together.

But making friends can be hard when you aren’t forced to sit in a poorly-ventilated high school building for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 9 months of the year. Since we’re all kind of adults, friendships often require more than the proximity and/or shared suffering of high school to sustain them; forging those bonds in a completely new place becomes difficult. And while things will surely be different when first-years (and upperclassmen) find their way on campus this fall, the drive to find–or build–a community won’t fade. Though many of these suggestions come from pre-pandemic experiences, Bwog staffers hope these tried and true methods will help you find your people here, whether it’s your first semester or your last!

  • Actually follow through on those dinner plans for God’s sake
  • Take Mowsh bio together (the bonds one makes in that class will never die)
  • Take a bartending course. Accidentally start having dinner before every class with another student. Sudy together for the test. Don’t pass, but become best friends.
  • Join a friend for dinner and meet a friend of theirs. Bond over childhood crushes and struggles with body image!
  • Go an opera concert (maybe for Music Hum! if opera ever becomes a thing again). Later, join acquaintances for dinner. Hum along to “White Winter Hymnal” and realize you sound really good. Spend the night singing together at Barnard Hall.
  • Lose your keys in front of your dorm and cry. Be helped by a stranger. acquire friendship.
  • Get boba tea. Realize you hate the tapioca pearls. Find someone to drink the rest of your tea and never let them go.
  • Open a door for a stranger. Form a lifelong bond.
  • Compliment someone! It opens doors! Perhaps compliment their door opening skills!
  • Find out a student at your college has your mother’s full name. Tell them and watch them freak out. Form a confusing yet meaningful bond, like that scene at the end of Batman vs. Superman, but with, you know, more emotional depth and probably better lighting.
  • Throw up in their room.
  • Slip a note requesting friendship under their dorm door the first night on campus after finding out where they live and hope for the best (actually happened to me and we are now very close friends!!)
  • simply pester your floormates enough
  • Offer to make them tea if you’re making tea, or coffee, or any drink, and even if you will not be friends, you will forever be on friendly terms
  • Understand that while friendships take commitment and dedication. If you’re having to force it or feel it’s all give with no benefit to you, it’s not worth it.
  • Schedule a weekly time to see each other/catch up. Yes, that is a little silly but it is also grounding!
  • Send memes in the group chat.
  • Obligatory rush Bwog bullet point. (Sundays, 9 pm, Lerner 510)
  • Join any club, but particularly any club that meets on a regular basis. Regular proximity to people has its advantages
  • Go places alone, find other people that are alone, joke about being alone, and suddenly you’re not alone.

welcome! via Columbia Admissions

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