You’ve spent the last two hours bringing your piles of belongings up the stairs and through the cluttered halls to your new room. Mom hangs up your clothes while Dad boots up your electronics. That evening, your parents reluctantly leave you all by yourself to begin this new chapter of life. Your social anticipation builds as you think of all the other students you saw struggling up the same staircase. You could awkwardly sit in your room watching TV, or follow these five tips and become the most popular freshman on your floor.
Keep Your Door Open
Your RA (Resident Assistant) will probably suggest the open door policy during your very first weekend at school. The proposal may seem cheesy at first, but it’s actually very effective. An open door sends the message that you aren’t occupied with homework and are in the mood to hang out. Beware that this tactic works best when you actually are done with your schoolwork. Keep your door open to show that you are the reliable go-to neighbor whenever a friend is looking for some fun. Some of my favorite memories in the dorms came from late night pizza runs sparked by a hungry friend across the hall.
Be the Initiator
Keeping your door open is a good first step, but it’s even more important to be the initiator. Finish your homework early one night? Pop into someone’s room (check that their door is open, of course) and see if they want company. Offer to watch a movie in your room or grab one to watch in the den. While you are popping in the DVD, suggest going to the big game together. Setting yourself up as the initiator will help raise the bar for your other friends to plan more fun activities, too.
Be a Spontaneous Planner
With the amount of strict scheduling that goes on, college can be stressful. Jump on any spur of the moment opportunities to make a floor neighbor’s day. You will both be glad you did. One night I wanted doughnuts, my roommate was hungry and our neighbor was looking for a chance to escape his textbooks. Naturally, we went door to door and got a small group to go to a local doughnut shop. The journey to the shop and back was full of hilarious stories about high school antics and the craziest people we’d seen. Spontaneous outings can be great ways to help you and others take a needed break from school while building friendships.
Ask People to Get Food – All the Time
“Want to grab dinner?” It’s as easy as that. Ask this question to five people and if three say yes, you have enough people to fill a table. Food is a magical connector. There will always be someone, besides you, who’s hungry. Of course some people may not be interested, so respect ‘no’ as an answer. As long as you’re willing to ask around, you will have no problem finding great dining companions to share in post waffle night shame.
Include Everyone on Your Floor
Odds are, not every single person on your dorm floor will be “your type.” People with similar interests tend to stick together; gamers with gamers or partiers with partiers. Don’t be afraid to challenge those natural connections. To stand out among the other residents, be the person who goes to each room and asks every available person to join you. Make a GroupMe for the section and send messages to everyone. As an adult, cliques are so…high school. If you branch outside of your preferred personality or interest group, you will be surprised by how many great friends you will make.