You will make friends on campus


The Daily Illini File Photo

Students coming out to enjoy Quad Day on Aug. 21, 2016. Quad Day is just one of the many ways new students can meet new people on campus, writes managing editor for online Rachael.

By Rachael Bolek, Managing Editor for Online

Leaving friends and family behind is one of the most difficult parts of college. Back home, you have people you’ve known for many years, possibly even more than a decade. It can be frightening to leave everyone behind and to essentially start over. However, with over 44,000 people enrolled at the University, you’re not alone.

Your time at the University is going to be exciting and you’re going to meet many different people with various backgrounds. Part of the excitement of college is getting to meet people who you never would’ve had the chance to meet or interact with otherwise.

You’ll meet people from all across the world. According to data from the University’s Division of Management Information, in fall 2017, 5,932 students were from China; 1,495 were from India and 1,101 were from South Korea. Overall, there were 11,084 international students enrolled during that semester. In other words, you will not be the only person leaving family and friends to study at the University.

It’s important to know there are many different ways to make friends while you’re on campus. First, if you’re a freshman, you’re probably staying in a residence hall. Try making friends with your roommate and other people on your floor. There’s often different floor- or dorm-wide events held during the first couple of weeks of school, so make sure to attend and get to know the people you’ll be seeing for the next year. People in your dorm will be the most accessible throughout the school year; you won’t even have to leave the building to see them. This can be great when you want someone to study with, but you don’t feel like going somewhere else to meet with someone.

Dorms are also great for meeting people because some have floors dedicated to housing people with similar interests. For example, at Pennsylvania Avenue Residence Hall, the second and third floors of Saunders are dedicated to Global Crossroads, which is a living-learning community for students “interested in world events, planning a future that includes international work/service, or who want to learn from different cultures,” according to its website. It might be worth it to look into these different communities when picking somewhere to live, as you know you’ll be living with people who have similar interests to you.

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

Classes are another great way to meet new people. You’ll likely be taking quite a few general education courses during your first two years, and while you may not necessarily be interested in the content of all of them, still try to make the most of them. These courses are where you’ll meet people from many different majors. Most gen-eds are broken up into lectures and discussions; lectures usually meet more than once a week in a large lecture hall, whereas discussions break down that lecture into groups of about 20 people. Take advantage of the smaller class size in your discussions and get to know the other students in the class. This is also a good chance to put together or join a study group.

The classes you’re required to take for your major are also a great way to meet people. Chances are, the people in your smaller major-specific classes will be in many of the same classes for the rest of your time at the University. Try meeting with people in those classes to study for midterms and other exams. It’s also possible you’ll have group projects, which provide perfect opportunities for getting to know people in your major.

You should also join at least one registered student organization. Find something you’re interested in at Quad Day and sign up for that group. This is the best way to ensure you’re meeting people who have similar interests as you. If you’re both in the same group, then you already know you have something in common.

Most importantly, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. College is all about experiencing new things and meeting new people. To do this, try doing things you’re not used to doing back home. You’ll meet new people and make new friends, but it may not happen where or how you think it will.

Rachael is a senior in Media.

[email protected]