Tips to navigate the social scene as a college freshman

Students walk to class on South campus on a fall day. (Zhelun Lang/The Daily Campus)

Within your first year of college you’ll want to make friends, but not just any kind. You’ll want to have friends that you can rely on: one’s that will help you study, try new things with and most importantly forgive you for mistakes you are bound to make during this new time.

However, there will be people you will come to know who might seem like good friends, but will not help you in the long run. These people are the ones that you have to distinguish from the people you can rely on. Freshmen year will really develops your judge of character.

There are two types of friends you should be on the lookout for. First, the partiers: these friends are fun at first, but when you need help they are ultimately selfish and don’t care about your well-being.

You make an agreement to stick together at a party, and then suddenly they are nowhere to be found. They say they will give you a ride back, but end up getting plastered. Or, worst case scenario, you’re in danger and they won’t help you.

Partying can be fun when it’s with people you feel safe around and are responsible with, but if you party with ‘friends’ that are not reliable and put you in unsafe situations then you’re better off without them.

The second type of friends you will meet, are also not reliable, but this time academically.

They end up breaking promises to study with you, and distract you while in class. And, if you happen to miss a day of class, they are not the type of student to take great notes or let you know what you missed.

Chances are if they are slacking in class, they will drag you down with them. Perhaps these friends are reliable in other ways, but it would probably be safe to hang out with them only after class and find someone else to study with or sit next to during class.

These are just a couple of the many types of people you are going to come across. But for the most part, you will meet people outside of those boundaries that will become lifelong friends.

Some of you might be new to Connecticut and might not know a single soul on campus, which is perfectly fine because there are people in your class that are in the same boat. Twenty-one percent of the student body at UConn is out of state, according to collegeXpress (http://www.collegexpress.com/college/university-of-connecticut/2100309/details/).

There are plenty of ways to make friends regardless if you are an in-state or out-of-state student.

You can start by joining a club; UConn offers a ton of them to fit every possible interest out there. A few of the clubs and organizations offered are Husky Sport, Community Outreach, Rainbow Center, African American Cultural Center and much more (https://uconntact.uconn.edu/).

Another way to make friends, and also get a little cash in your pocket, is by getting a job on-campus. From the dining hall to the library, the recreation center and computer lab, UConn has a handful of job openings throughout the year--but they do fill up fast so apply (https://uconn.studentemployment.ngwebsolutions.com/Cmx_Content.aspx?cpId=4) soon.  

For those of you looking to be part of a sister or brotherhood, there are plenty of Greek life chapters you can get involved in as well. Visit greeklife.uconn.edu/panhellenic-recruitment to see which ones have recruitments.  

There are many other ways one could make friends, but the simplest one is by just talking to people. Don’t give up and don’t be afraid to be approachable, everyone is just as nervous and eager to make friends as you are.

Some of you might not have a lot of experience when it comes to judging people's character and making the right choices, but once you get the hang of it and be outgoing, you can form make friendships that will last beyond college. I wish you luck Class of 2020!


Genevieve Luce is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at genevieve.luce@uconn.edu.