July 9, 2024 by

Four female and one male student studying at table with laptops on Cedarville University's campus.

I’ve never felt like I’m very good at making friends. I worry about what to say when I meet new people, and once I’ve said anything at all, I’m afraid I’ve said the wrong thing. If you’re like me, you might be worried about starting college. I don’t blame you. I was too!

When you start college, you’ll probably be surrounded by strangers. Seriously. They’re everywhere: in your dorm, in chapel, and especially in your classes, but these places all present opportunities! In my experience, it is good to try making friends in your classes for a few reasons:

  1. Friends in the same class can be a valuable resource. You can become study buddies and help each other figure out how to do well in the course, discuss what you’re learning, and encourage one another.
  2. It will help you feel like you’re a part of the Cedarville community. You’ll recognize more people around campus and meet people you might not otherwise have crossed paths with.
  3. It will allow you to build relationships outside of your hall or dorm room. Especially if you have a complicated relationship with your roommate or don’t participate in a lot of extracurriculars, classes are a great opportunity to meet new people.

Two female and four male students sitting and laying on glass while talking outside Cedarville University's Scharnberg Business and Communication Center.

When I was a freshman, I met one of my best friends because we had two gen eds (general education classes) together. Now she’s my roommate, and she introduced me to her friends. Because we used classes as an opportunity to get to know each other, we now have a core group of close friends. We have lived together, studied together, traveled together, and encouraged each other!

Instead of being afraid to meet people on campus, change your thinking. It is truly a blessing to have so many opportunities to meet so many different people across campus in your classes. God will provide. Be a good steward of the opportunities God gives you.

Here are a few practical tips I’ve picked up along the way:

  1. When you get to class on your first day, greet the people around you. Introduce yourself and find out some information about them. Ask for their name, major, and where they are from. If you have time, you can find out more about them. Are they excited about the class? What hobbies do they enjoy? How was Getting Started Weekend for them? In many classes, people tend to sit in the same seats after about a week, so make it a priority to get to know the people around you as soon as possible.
  2. Ask a few people for their contact information. Once you recognize a few of your peers, choose one or two people to exchange phone numbers with. This way, if you have questions about the class, you have someone to contact. You might even be able to study together! Plus, if you’d really like to become better friends with someone, texting them to make plans to get Rinnova coffee or a meal at the dining hall is a great idea.
  3. Keep an eye out for people you have multiple classes with. If you recognize someone in your PAC (Politics and American Culture) class, and you’re pretty sure they sit behind you in Composition, it might be a good idea to approach them. If you haven’t met them before, you can say something like “Hey, I don’t think we’ve met, but I think we have a few classes together. How is PAC going for you?”
  4. Say “Hi” to people you recognize on campus. Cedarville’s community is very friendly! Whether or not you know someone super well, you should greet them when your paths cross. I’ve always appreciated people who recognize me and take the opportunity to greet me. It has motivated me to be more confident about greeting people around campus. Not only will people be more likely to remember you if you greet them, but they’ll also feel encouraged that you noticed them!
  5. Prioritize serving and encouraging others. Be quick to respond if one of your new friends asks you a question about class. Share your notes if someone misses a day. Be a reliable brother or sister in Christ!
  6. Don’t worry about being best friends with everyone. If you’re like me, maybe you love having a small circle of super close friends. Personally, I’ve found that preference can be a little bit limiting. I may resist making new friends because I’m content with the ones I have, but Psalm 133:1 reminds us that it is good for God’s people to live together in unity! So, while it’s true that not everyone you meet is going to make it to your inner circle, it’s good to be friendly with those around you. Even if you don’t form a deep friendship with someone, you can still be a good brother or sister to them.
  7. Be patient while you’re in your gen eds. As important as it is to get to know the people around you during your freshman year, keep in mind that the people in your classes will be different every semester. Also, as you continue taking more classes in your major, you’ll begin to see a lot more familiar faces. I’ve made many of my closest friends in my major-focused classes simply because we have shared interests and experiences. So, use your time in gen eds to sincerely pursue new friendships, but don’t get frustrated if those friendships are hard to maintain in the future. The friendships you form freshman year are not the only friendships you will ever have, even though they are an important starting point. Still, being friendly and encouraging to someone is never a waste of your time!
  8. Trust the Lord. Remember that God, in Christ Jesus, is your greatest friend (John 15:13). God is also a faithful provider! He will give you the opportunities and the strength to encourage the people around you. Be a good steward of the people God gives while you can and wait expectantly for Him to continue providing. He is faithful!

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