Starting art college can be a daunting experience, especially if you don’t have any friends attending the same institute. You, like many others, might worry about being left alone. If you struggled to make friends in school it’s inevitable that you are concerned about history repeating itself.
However, college is a lot different in comparison to school. The students are often older and more mature, and art students tend to be more accepting. Although bullies do exist in third-level educational facilities, it’s not as common.
So, what can you do to avoid walking around campus day in and day out by yourself?
1 Turn off your phone and leave your room
If you have left your home for the first time, it might be tempting to spend each day in your room talking with your loved ones. If you are feeling homesick, you might end up spending hours on social media and sending emails to your family and friends at home.
If this is the case, it might be time to turn off your smart device, your laptop, and your television, leave your room and start socializing. Don’t expect people to knock on your door and ask to hang out, you have to be more proactive if you want to make friends.
Also, when you are wandering around campus, put your phone in your pocket. You will want to make yourself approachable, so if you are staring at a screen don’t expect many to engage. Eye contact is of vital importance, so it might be time to get rid of your phone while trying to meet new friends.
If you don’t live on campus, you should try your best to spend time on the college’s grounds. On campus, you’ll find lots of groups and individuals mingling together, so try to spend an hour or two each day in common areas. If you see one of the students in your classroom walking around, you can easily break the ice by telling them that you recognize them.
2 Talk to at least one new student every day
When you start your course, you’ll probably come across lots of large groups socializing with one another. If you are low on confidence, joining in on their conversations won’t be easy. Instead of speaking to several people, why not try to speak to one student each day.
You can start a conversation with the person sitting next to you in college or someone on the campus grounds. If you are able to make a good connection, consider swapping contact information.
Although it is easier said than done, try your best to be yourself. Most art students have an open mind, and they are often excited about meeting someone different. Don’t expect people to approach you, you will have to make an effort. Although it might seem scary putting yourself out there, if you don’t you might find it difficult to build connections.
3 Learn an Instrument
The parties in most colleges are a lot of fun. If you weren’t popular in your old school, you mightn’t have attended any parties. If this is the case, you might worry about attending a college party, but don’t be. These gatherings are a great place to meet new people, even if you don’t consider yourself a party animal.
Having a party trick could prove beneficial. A lot of art students are able to play at least one instrument, so if you can already play something, consider bringing the instrument to the party with you. If you don’t, why not consider learning how to play.
Plenty of students learn how to play the guitar while attending college. You can learn all the different chords online, and there are multiple tutorials posted to popular streaming platforms like YouTube which are free to watch. Why not learn how to play all time classics that will go down well at a party? You can download Beatles or Bohemian Rhapsody chords that everyone will know the words to get the party started.
4 Get involved in college activities
Find out what is going on in the college and the local area. You are bound to find an activity on campus that excites you. Signing up for something that excites you is another great way to make new college buddies with similar interests. However, the first year in college can be difficult, so don’t bite off more than you can chew. Adjusting to college life and a new course can be hard, so don’t overdo it, especially during the early days.
If you don’t find something on campus that suits you, there might be something in the surrounding area that appeals to you. If you do sign up for something, make sure others have signed up too.
Check to see if the college’s official website posts information about the different activities going on. Also, follow the college on social media for updates. Most college groups have an official page on popular social media platforms, so why not search to see what’s out there.
5 Find a job that allows you to socialize with others
To help pay for college, a lot of art students look for work. If there are a lot of jobs available near the campus, then try to find employment that allows you to meet with new people. Here are a few examples:
- Coffee shop
- Internet Cafe
When serving fellow students, you will be forced to speak with them. This is a great way to break the ice, and an opportunity to make new friends.
6 Tips for shy students
Keep in mind that art college is very different from school. You have an opportunity to hit the restart button, so you should stop worrying about what other students think of you. Being shy can make meeting new friends, but a lot of people grow in confidence while studying in college.
Believing in yourself is not going to be easy if you haven’t identified your strengths. If you are having difficulty reminding yourself of all your positive qualities, grab a pen and paper and make a list. Don’t be afraid to ask an old friend or a family member to help you out with the list.
People who are shy often find it tough to start up a conversation, especially with people they have never met before. Instead of walking up to a stranger with nothing to say, prepare how you could begin and finish a conversation.
Being honest with yourself and others is key. If you are shy and you have already made an outgoing friend, don’t be afraid to tell them that you are a little shy. They might help you to make more connections and bring you along to parties and events.
If you fail to make friends in the first few weeks, don’t worry. It might take some time for you to feel at ease on campus. Even if you did manage to make some friends but they no longer hang out with you, then don’t worry either. It might seem frustrating, but the only way you will stop making friends on campus is if you give up. Patience is key, so try and stay upbeat.