Erin (far right) and her friends show off their school spirit on a snowy day

For the first couple weeks after moving to Syracuse I was terrified of one thing: meeting new people. I had been going to school with the same people for the past 12 years, and now all of sudden I knew no one. Although I was nervous, I found some easy ways to go from being a stranger on campus to feeling like a part of the community.

  • Step out of your comfort zone

Between orientation events, the first day of classes, and floor meetings, its hard to avoid the ice-breakers that inevitably occur your first couple of weeks at school. Dont be afraid to step up and really be yourself during this time – it will help you not only meet people, but meet the right people. My freshman year roommate and I really bonded at our first floor meeting just by laughing and goofing off together, and were able to get to know a lot of the other people on our floor right on the first night. I remember a bunch of us stayed in the lounge to hang out after the meeting was over, which made me feel really comfortable and excited on my first night in Syracuse.

  • Get involved!

The easiest way to meet new people is to join organizations on campus. They will set up a time and place to meet – you just have to show up! This is an easy way to meet people with similar interest and passions, whether it be a sport, culture, religion, language, or hobby. The first club I ever joined at SU was a Christian organization called Cru. Although I wasnt the most religious person, I thought it would be a good way to meet people. I got to know people of similar faith through Bible studies, group activities, and even a weekend retreat. Cru helped me adjust to college with ease by giving me a home away from home, and introducing me to a support system. Syracuse has a club on campus to fit everyone, but dont be afraid to also branch out and try something new!  

  • Remember: everyone is in the same position as you

Although it may be hard to remember at times, every other freshmen on campus is feeling just as nervous as you are. Go ahead and introduce yourself to other students in your classes, on your floor, or in the dining hall – they’ll be happy you did! Everyone is trying to make friends just as much as you are, so why not be the one to make the first move?

  •   Reach out

Syracuse has a large array of resources on campus that will help you adjust to the college life. One of the most important of these resources to freshmen in the peer advisor program. You will be given a peer advisor, or multiple peer advisors right when you move onto campus. These are upperclassmen students at Syracuse that have the same major or academic program as you, and can help when decided what classes to take, which professors to take them with, how to get involved on campus – you name it! Although she has graduated, I still call my peer advisor for advice on just about everything, especially networking and job searching. Its always nice to have someone to talk to who has been through it all before.

  •   Ask for help

Another thing that can seem scary when starting school is the all of the coursework. Luckily this gives freshman another way to reach out! Ask other students in your classes to work on homework or study for a test together. Syracuse has a seemingly unlimited number of collaborative work spaces in Bird Library, Whitman, the iSchool, and other academic buildings. I also love to study with friends in more social environments, like Starbucks or Cafe Kubal. This hasnt only helped with my classes, but has also helped create new friendships with students in my classes.

Life at college can seem scary at first, but if you keep an open mind, step outside of your comfort zone, and stay positive— it will lead you into the best four years of your life!

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